Meade Street HousesPhoto by the Alley Dwelling Authority, ca. 1937-1944. Source: Report of the National Capital Housing Authority, 1934-1944.
The Alley Dwelling Authority (ADA) and the Federal Works Agency (FWA) funded the construction of the Meade and Grant Street Houses in Washington, DC in 1943. This development of 107 living units was built for African American national defense workers (Washington, DC was highly segregated at the time).
It is unknown to the Living New Deal if any of the structures still exist, but it is not likely since these homes were classified as “demountable,” i.e., intended to be taken down and salvaged sometime after the war.
The ADA’s 10-year report (see source list below) indicates that the Meade and Grant Street Houses were located at “various locations in the area bounded by 49th, 58th, Grant, and Meade Sts., N.E.” (a seemingly large area), but a graphic on page 182 of the report shows that at least some of the homes were located between Meade Street NE and Sheriff Road NE, close to the Maryland border. This is where we have marked the location of this project.
The ADA was one of the earliest New Deal initiatives to provide better housing for low-income Americans. It replaced unsafe alley dwellings in Washington, DC with more modern and affordable houses and apartments. The ADA existed from 1934-1943 as a federally controlled special authority. It then slowly evolved into today’s DC Housing Authority, an independent agency of the DC Government.
With the advent of World War II, the ADA was enlisted to work alongside the Federal Works Agency (FWA) to provide housing for defense workers (using Lanham Act funds). The Meade and Grant Street Houses was one of those projects.
Report of the National Capital Housing Authority, For the Ten-Year Period 1934-1944, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1945, available on Hathitrust (accessed July 14, 2020).
Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on August 22, 2020.
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