Battleground to Community
Even before Emancipation, free African Americans (one of whom, Elizabeth Proctor Thomas, appears on each sign) settled in this area as early as the 1820s. Eventually a small community that also included landowners and European American farmers arose centered on today's Georgia and Missouri Avenues.
Along with nearby Battleground National Cemetery, Fort Stevens is a daily reminder that the Civil War greatly affected the citizens of DC. In July 1864, Union and Confederate soldiers fought a momentous battle here, supported by residents and DC militia and witnessed by President Lincoln himself.
After the Civil War, Washington's peacetime economy soared. Over time Brightwood boasted a popular racetrack, country estates, and sturdy suburban housing as well as an ethnic mix of families, government clerks, and professionals.
Each painting below represents one of the stops on the Barracks Row Heritage Trail. Click to see larger versions and full descriptions of what bit of history inspired each painting.
There are 18 stops on the Brightwood Heritage Trail. Dana Ellyn is working towards creating a painting for every stop. Please check back often to see the newest paintings and learn a new bit of DC history with each visit!
Learn more about the Neighborhood Heritage Trails on the Cultural Tourism DC website.