Last Sunday several of us took a walk through Pleasant Plains, the area along Georgia Avenue north of Shaw and south of Columbia Heights. It’s an area rich in history and variety.
On the south side of the area, there’s a stark contrast between the new Atlantic Plumbing complex and the two huge vacant buildings across the street. The vacant buildings face Georgia Avenue, covering the entire 2100 Georgia block and backing up to 8th Street. One of the buildings is the Bond Bread factory, built in 1929 and closed in 1971:
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, as a great example of the Art Deco style applied to an industrial structure. It was one of three bread factories in the nearby area, all part of the early 20th century movement toward making food under more sanitary conditions.
Next to the bread factory is the 1930 bus garage for the Washington Railway and Electric Company. It is also on the National Register of Historic Places, significant because it represents part of the history of D.C. transportation, as the first garage built for buses. It was designed by Arthur Heaton, one of the prominent D.C. architects of the early 1900’s. It’s boarded up and in considerable disrepair:
After the buildings stopped being used for their original purposes, the D.C. government used them for various utility purposes. In 2008, D.C. swapped the buildings with Howard University for some other property, and Howard planned to redevelop them as a mixed-use complex. However, in 2013 both buildings were put on the National Register, which constrains what Howard can do with the buildings, and they remain vacant.
Across 8th Street on the back side of these buildings, the new Atlantic Plumbing development has apartments, stores, restaurants, and a Landmark Movie Theater.
Atlantic Plumbing has a great mural on the driveway to its garage:
The Tasty Burger’s bar is open to the street on a nice day:
Toward the northern end of Pleasant Plains, there’s the magnet Banneker High School and Banneker Recreation Center. We were delighted to get to watch some skateboarders there:
We also enjoyed seeing the kids and dogs in the neighborhood:
If you are interested in walking through the area and seeing its history, Cultural Tourism D.C. has a guide, along with informational route markers.