Ensconced southeast of Howard University and steps from Shaw, LeDroit Park is one of the most architecturally rich and historically interesting areas of DC. The enviable location and growing commercial options and amenities makes this one of the most exciting places in the District to live, work, and play.
LeDroit Park was originally built as a private, gated community beginning in 1873. The architect James Gill created the original designs for the rowhouses, houses, and mansions and many of his homes survive into the present day. These highly prized and distinctive homes were designed in the style of Italian villas, Gothic and Empire styles, and other variations. The entire neighborhood was then enclosed with a fence, gate, and guardhouse.
The purpose of the fence, according to historical accounts, was to separate the residences of the area and create a whites-only neighborhood. Guards were originally employed as well to enforce this policy. The fence and the policy became a focus of community unrest and the fence was removed in 1888 and the policy overturned. Thereafter, the neighborhood began to integrate and became the home of many prominent African-American citizens.The entire neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places today and is part of the Heritage Trail.
Following the decline of the neighborhood in the late 20th century, the 2000s brought about a resurgence and revitalization of the area. Many of the homes were restored and commercial offerings, including a new Whole Foods, were added. In addition, a number of older commercial buildings were renovated to create new spaces, both commercial and residential. Best of all, many of the original Gill homes have survived and been restored.
LeDroit’s restaurant scene has been revitalized as well, with three of its restaurants recently named Bib Gourmand by Michelin as recognition of their excellence. Fabulous restaurant The Royal is a local favorite with truly notable breakfast offerings along with their lunches and dinners as well as their cocktail bar. Italian offering The Red Hen just one block east in neighboring Bloomingdale is another Michelin fave. Chinese-French fusion at Kyirisan is available one block west, and features Northern Virginia favorite Tim Ma of Water & Wall and Chase the Submarine.
LeDroit Park is a true community with events led by the LeDroit Park Civic Association including block parties, community fairs, and happy hours. One of the community’s best-known features is the Common Good City Farm located in the neighborhood and dedicated to sustainable urban agriculture and high quality food for the area residents. Volunteers are welcome and the Farm offers a variety of educational opportunities for residents of all ages.
The restoration and renovation of homes in the area has resulted in a variety of price points. Original Gill houses beautifully restored start around $1 million and go north from there. However, there are many possibilities to own for less in houses which have been converted into condominiums, and fees are often reasonable.
In addition, many of the homes lend themselves to layouts that include in-law or au pair suites or rental options. For those wishing to restore an original Gill, there are a number of craftsmen in the area who can handle the delicate restoration and artisanship required to fully realize their potential.
With such an extraordinary past and an even brighter future, there’s a lot to love about Ledroit Park. Want to start your search? Sign in at our website and let one of our Eng Garcia Grant Realtors help you create a custom search. Whether you want a fixer upper or turnkey piece of Ledroit Park, we’ll help you find a home that’s just right.