Brookland, Washington, D.C.

Brookland, Washington, D.C.

Brookland is a neighborhood in the Northeast quadrant of Washington, D.C., historically centered along 12th Street NE. Brookland is bounded by 9th Street NE to the west, Rhode Island Avenue NE to the south, and South Dakota Avenue to the east. Michigan Avenue is the northern boundary between 9th and 14th Streets; however, Brookland also includes the Mount St. Sepulchre Franciscan Monastery, which gives the neighborhood a northward panhandle between 14th and South Dakota that extends to Taylor Street. The President Lincoln and Soldiers' Home National Monument is also located near Brookland. (It is technically in Park View.) The Lincoln cottage was the once rural place where President Abraham Lincoln spent the summers of 1862 to 1864, to escape the heat and political pressures of Washington. Brookland has been nicknamed "Little Rome" by some for the many Catholic institutions clustered around The Catholic University of America (CUA), Brookland's main attraction.

Brookland is served by the Brookland-CUA station on the Red Line of the Washington Metro.

Brookland Landmarks

* Brooks Mansion
* Franciscan Monastery
* Lincoln cottage
* Ralph Bunche House
* Sterling Brown House
* St. Anthony's Catholic School & Church
* Robert C. Weaver House
* Zora Neale Hurston House
* John P. Davis House
* The Ukrainian Catholic National Shrine of the Holy Family

Nearby Landmarks

* Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
* The Catholic University of America
* Pope John Paul II Cultural Center
* Trinity University
* United States Conference of Catholic Bishops national headquarters
* Archbishop Carroll High School
* Dance Place
* St. Anselm's Abbey School


For most of the 19th century the area was farmland owned by the prominent Middletown, and Queen families; Bellair, the 1840 brick Greek Revival mansion built by Colonel Jehiel Brooks who married Ann Margaret Queen, still stands. It is referred to as Brooks Mansion. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad later connected this portion of Washington County to downtown.

Change came rapidly during and after the American Civil War. First, Fort Slemmer and Fort Bunker Hill were constructed as defenses against the Confederate Army, and later the Old soldiers' home was constructed to the northwest. The population of the city itself increased with the expansion of the federal government, and the former Brooks family estate became a housing tract named "Brookland."

With the construction of nearby Sherwood, University Heights, and other tracts, and the expansion of Washington's streetcars, a middle-class streetcar suburb developed, and eventually its expansion southward met Washington's northward. Many Queen Anne style and other Victorian homes still stand.

Catholic Institutions

In 1887, the Roman Catholic Church purchased the Middletown estate, adjacent to Brookland, as the site for The Catholic University of America (CUA). The presence of CUA attracted many other Catholic organizations and institutions to the area, including Trinity College (now Trinity University), established 1897, and the Franciscan monastery in 1905. Construction of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, to be the patronal church of the United States, began in 1920. The Pope John Paul II Cultural Center opened in 2001. Nearly 60 Catholic institutions called the neighborhood home by 1940. The area near Brookland has been nicknamed "Little Rome" by some for the many Catholic institutions clustered around CUA.

A Diverse Community

While mostly Caucasian at its founding, Brookland integrated in the 20th century, especially after the white flight of Irish Catholics after World War II. Although there was some hostility directed at early black integration of the neighborhood, by the middle of the century, Brookland had developed into a neighborhood fairly integrated among economic classes and races. During the mid-twentieth century, Brookland could boast of such prominent residents as Ralph Bunche, Sterling Brown, Edward Brooke, Ellis O. Knox, Rayford W. Logan, and Pearl Bailey, John P. Davis, and Robert C. Weaver . It remains a relatively diverse and stable area of Washington.

Brookland was also home to the playwright Jean Kerr and her playwright/critic husband Walter Kerr who taught at nearby CUA. The writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings spent her childhood in Brookland.

Justine Ward, the music educator and author, lived in Brookland and built the large residence now occupied by Ronald McDonald House in the 1300 block of Quincy Street. Catholic University's School of Music is named in her honor. Also on Quincy St is the Quincy House, [] a long-time residence of Catholic graduate students who regularly host coffee houses and other community events.

Dance Place, located at 3225 8th Street, was founded in 1980 and serves as a theater school and community resource.

Brookland Businesses

Brookland is graced with a small but thriving business community. There are various restaurants in the neighborhood, including Col. Brooks Tavern and Cardinals Nest. There are a number of carryout and delivery services providing Chinese, Jamaican, and Italian/Pizza. Cafe Sureia is a small neighborhood coffee shop serving the neighborhood in style. The Brookland Inn is a luxuries and affordable Inn, offering extended stay.

Brookland Hardware has anchored the popular 12th Street business corridor for many years. Other businesses in Brookland include realtors, art galleries, home furnishings, and other services.

External links

* [ Historic Brookland]
* [ Greater Brookland Garden Club]
* [ Brookland Area Writers & Artists / BAWA*]
* [ All About Brookland site]
* [ The Brooks - Queen Family Collection (1773-1979)] documents the activities of members of the two families who built the Brooks Mansion.
* WETA ExploreDC: [ Brookland]
* Cultural Tourism D.C.: [ Brookland]
* Brookland* Quincy House: []
* Dance Place: []
* [ The Brookland Inn]

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