U Street Corridor

The U Street Corridor is a commercial and residential neighborhood in Northwest Washington, D.C, U.S.A., with many shops, restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries, and music venues along a nine-block stretch of U Street. It is a largely Victorian-era neighborhood, developed between 1862 and 1900, the majority of which has been designated a historic district.


The are rose up in response to the city’s high demand for housing following the Civil War and the growth of the federal government in the late 19th century. The corridor became commercially significant when a streetcar line operated there in the early 20th century. This gave government employees a convenient commute downtown to work and shop.


Until the 1920s, when it was overtaken by Harlem, the U Street Corridor was home to the nation’s largest urban African American community. Duke Ellington’s former childhood home was located on 13th street between T and S Streets. The Lincoln Theatre opened in 1921, and Howard Theatre in 1926.


While the area remained a cultural center for the African American community through the 1960s, the neighborhood began to decline following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. The intersection of 14th Street and U Street was the epicenter of violence and destruction during the 1968 Washington, D.C. riots. Following the riots, and the subsequent flight of affluent residents and businesses from the area, the corridor became blighted. In the 1990s, revitalization of Adams Morgan and later Logan Circle began. More than 2,000 luxury condominiums and apartments were constructed between 1997 and 2007.