Where Was Herring Hill in Georgetown?

We once had a neighborhood called Herring Hill? True story. It was named for the fish pulled from Rock Creek, which, I don’t think are quite as plentiful today.

Herring hill was the epicenter of the African-American community in eastern Georgetown through about the 1930s. begins as you head west from Dupont Circle on P St., across Rock Creek. The neighborhood is bound by P St. on the north, Rock Creek to the east and 29th St. to the west.

Washington Post - April 29th, 1895
Washington Post – April 29th, 1895

We dug up an interesting old story from the neighborhood in The Washington Post from April 29th, 1895.

Herring Hill, the rough end of Georgetown that overhangs Rock reek, was “shot up” last night in true wild west style. There was a fight, a foot race, and a fusillade, but the casualties were nil, and the chief participant in the affair is now languishing in the Seventh precinct station.

It was a case of lasses and glasses that brought about an estrangement between Spencer Walker and Jerry Jones, two colored youths of the hill/ The difficulty was one of long standing, Walker declaring himself the aggrieved party, having been cut out by the dapper Jones in a hot race for the hand and heart of a dusky belle.

Yesterday being an off day, with no particular excitement, Walker, who apparently had the open sesame to the side door of some Aladdin’s cave, proceeded to tank up and subsequently arming himself with a postil a foot and a half long, went forth to hunt Jones. Shortly after 6 o’clock he found him near the corner of Twenty-seventh and Olive streets, and forthwith started on his trail, “running by sight,” as they say in cross -country parlance when the pack is close on the quarry. Jones, who had no mind to have a monument erected over him just yet, gave leg bail to his pursuer, and thus, like Hector and Achilles about the walls of Troy,they kept the chase merrily going around a small brick stable on the edge of the dump.

Walter was swift of foot and quick on the trigger, and he let fly four shots at the retreating form of Jones without effect. The fusillade drew a crowd, including Policemen Gilroy and Conlan. Walker, seeing the odds changed against him, turned fugitive in his turn, but was rounded up and lodged at the Seventh precinct, whence he will have to appear this morning in the Police Court to answer the double charge of carrying deadly weapons and of assault with intent to kill.

Below is the Google Map of the area today.

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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