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Park View (Images of America Series) Paperback – March 14, 2011
Garth Brooks: The Anthology Part 1 | Limited Edition
A great gift for country music fans, The Anthology Part 1 includes CDs containing the music of Garth's first five years, and behind-the-scenes photographs and stories never before made public. Learn more
About the Author
Kent Boese and Lauri Hafvenstein both call Park View their home. Boese is a librarian with an interest in local history. Hafvenstein is an artist and digital media professional with a passion for historic preservation.
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The Park View neighborhood is located on the Georgia Avenue corridor in Washington D.C. beginning north of Howard University and continuing north to the current Georgia Avenue -Petworth Metro stop. A recent small local controversy arose when some residents of Park View tried, so far unsuccessfully, to change the name of the Metro station from Georgia Avenue -- Petworth to Georgia Avenue -- Petworth --Park View. The community is adjacent to the famous Soldiers Home in Washington D.C. which was the summer residence of Abraham Lincoln and until 1968 was available to D.C. residents for use as a park. Boese and Hafvenstein offer a brief photographic historical tour of Park View beginning with its origins in the Nineteenth Century and continuing to the changing community of the present day. The book is in six chapters of clearly presented photographs and text.
The opening chapter of the book shows Park View in the Nineteenth Century as a peaceful suburb consisting primarily of large estates. I learned that in the 19th Century a small park known as Schuetzen Park was built by German immigrants just north of Howard. Beginning just after the Civil War, the park hosted an annual "German Schuetzen Fest" attended by thousands until 1891 when the park was forced to close due to a ban on alcohol. This chapter of the book also includes interesting Civil War photographs of the area.
With the growth of population, Park View developed rapidly early in the 20th Century with the construction of long series of the rowhouses which still dominate the community. The second chapter of the book shows many photographs of the old rowhouses and of the way they were marketed. The community was part of a segregated Washington, D.C. The demographics were white until 1948 when the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the restrictive covenants under which properties were sold. By the late 1950's Park View was largely African American.
The next chapter of the book describes schools in Park View and the traditions the neighborhood as developed over the years for community activism. The book offers photos of construction and reconstruction and focuses on notables such as then Attorney General Robert Kennedy and first lady Lady Bird Johnson who visited and supported schools in the community over the years. The book continues with a description of community life in Park View with the sports, festivals and parades that have enhanced local life, culminating in the Carribean Carnival that was established in 1993 and which now draws spectators numbering in the huundreds of thousands.
The heart of the book deals with the changes in the fortunes of the Georgia Avenue commercial strip which runs through Northwest Washington and through Park View. A series of photographs trace the rise, fall, and current revitalization of Georgia avenue from its days as a rural turnpike. There are pictures of streetcars, churches, restaurants, local food stores, blacksmith shops, nightclubs, pool halls, theaters, churches, and much more. Harry Houdini once appeared at the local police station where he was stripped, handcuffed, and jailed with his clothes in an adjacent locked cell. Within 20 minutes, Houdini emerged from his cell fully dressed in the company of the police officers charged with guarding him. (p. 94) With the destructive riots of 1968 and the rise of drugs, Georgia Avenue and Park View fell on hard times. With the construction of two Metro stations and community development and spirit, the area is on the upswing.
A final chapter of the book offers photographs of the grounds of the Soldiers Home and adjacent McMillian Reservoir from the days in which they were open to the public and offered opportunities for picnics and recreation.
Park View is a community that invites exploration by walking. Within the past year, Cultural Tourism, D.C., a nonprofit coalition dedicated to the preservation of local history, has opened a Heritage Trail through Park View and adjacent areas that allows interested people to walk through the area, examine the landmarks, and learn more about the community. I have not yet had the opportunity to walk the trail but hope to do so soon. I enjoyed learning more about Park View, an area I have been through many times, in this photographic history of the community by Boese and Hafvenstein.