At a time when enjoyment of public recreation was restricted by color, African American entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to open and operate pleasure parks for people of color. The parks were popular venues for leisure activities but also offered Chautauqua-like activities and conferences with renowned speakers. At the same time, the parks were reputed to be plagued by crime and subjected to excessive police scrutiny.
Eureka Park was one of the early black-owned amusement parks or resorts in Washington, DC. Opening about 1895, the three acre-park offered picnic areas, swings, merry-go-rounds, live music, dancing, beautiful views, and streetcar access. It enjoyed significant patronage from churches, fraternal organizations, and political groups. In addition, it often hosted conventions and rallies featuring speeches by prominent African Americans, such as John Mercer Langston, Solomon G. Brown, and U.S. Rep. George Henry White (R-NC).
The park was located on the site of today’s Barry Farm Recreation Center, swimming pool, and playing field. The recreation center is part of the original Barry Farm Dwellings complex of public housing.
Good Hope Road Corridor: A Neighborhood Tour of Historic Anacostia takes place August 29 at 6:00 pm at at Anacostia Neighborhood Library (1800 Good Hope Rd SE). The event features local historian Kalem Umrani; Umrani is also Chairman of the Barry Farm Historic Heritage Committee. In advance of the event, take a look at what Wikipedia has to say about Good Hope. Lost Washington: Good Hope Road’s German orphanage is an interesting read and the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington has some interesting photos.