Barracks Row is a one-street neighborhood. Well actually, it’s only one portion of a one-street neighborhood: Eighth St. SE, between Pennsylvania Ave. and I St.
But a lot of history is packed into these short blocks. This subsection of Capitol Hill was the original hotspot in 1799, when the Navy Yard set up shop here. In 1801, Thomas Jefferson established the Marine Corps barracks at 8th and I streets, a security force for the Navy Yard and the Capitol, a few blocks away. The Navy Yard drew laborers and engineers and one thing leading to the next, families started putting down roots, churches cultivated faithful congregations, and oyster houses and markets flourished.
Time went on and the story changed: Barracks Row went downhill, aided by changes in the economy and the rather unfortunate placement of the Southeast Freeway, an ugly highway that cuts straight through the neighborhood.
More time went on, and look at her now: Thanks to an assortment of hometown heroes, like the Barracks Row Main Street organization and intrepid entrepreneurs, Barracks Row is once again a hotspot, its restaurants, like nationally known Rose’s Luxury, and shops lauded by all.
Metro: Eastern Market on the Silver, Blue and Orange Lines.