FIRST DRAFT: Tucked between four major thoroughfares and a rail yard, Eckington had become DC's premiere industrial area by the early 20th century. But it was not always so. Developer George Truesdell originally laid out the neighborhood as a bucolic streetcar suburb, first building villas for the wealthy and later rowhouses. Then the "devastating hand of progress" brought a rail yard that erased a large section of the neighborhood and attracted warehouses and industry. The neighborhood's character gradually changed from country retreat to commercial center and from white-collar to blue-collar. At the start of the 1940s, Eckington remained almost exclusively white, but it soon became a place African Americans, including migrants from the South, found their piece of the American Dream, and by 1960 the population was largely African American. The civil disturbances of April 1968 took their toll on Eckington as they did on other close-in neighborhoods, and then came the drug epidemics beginning in the 1970s. Crime increased as investment in the city decreased, and many families with the means moved away. Now, in the 21st century, the pendulum has swung back: like in many other parts of DC, the hand of progress is bringing almost unimaginable change to Eckington.
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