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Barry Farm is a small neighborhood in Southeast Washington, D.C., adjacent to St. Elizabeths Hospital. It is today almost entirely occupied by public housing projects and has a reputation for violent crime, poverty, and neglect. The entire neighborhood of public housing is planned for a complete redevelopment from single-use, single-income (low) into a mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhood designed to complement its historic setting and location adjacent to the Anacostia Metro Station.
Barry Farm is located east of the Anacostia River and is bounded by the Southeast Freeway to the northwest, Suitland Parkway to the northeast and east, and St. Elizabeths Hospital to the south. Also see article on Anacostia.
Also home to The Goodman League, named after community activist George Goodman (formerly known as Barry Farms Community Basketball League). League features current and former NBA players, college players, and participants from various communities. The league has been around since the mid-1970s.
Barry Farm's origins are quite literally explained by the neighborhood's name: the land was part of a farm owned by James Barry in the mid-19th century. In 1867, the Freedman's Bureau purchased the land from the Barry family and parceled it out as settlements for freed slaves.
Barry Farm has shrunk considerably in the 20th century. Although it was initially a large homestead, stretching all the way to 13th Street on the east, Poplar Point on the West, and the present-day Morris Road SE on the north. However, in 1876 the area between 13th Street, Sheridan Road, and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE (then known as Nichols Avenue) was renamed Hillsdale; in approximately 1913, railroad tracks were built, cutting off Barry Farm from Poplar Point; and, in the early 1950s, the city built the Suitland Parkway, isolating the neighborhood between busy traffic arteries.
The Redevelopment Land Agency, on behalf of the city of Washington, purchased all land west of Wade Road SE in 1954 and built a single, large, public-housing community there that still stands today. Several apartment buildings also line Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. Only a few old frame houses, mostly just at the edge of the thicket that separates Barry Farm from St. Elizabeths, are the remnants of the original Freedman's community.
While similarly spelled, the neighborhood name is coincidental, and not a reference to the former mayor of Washington, DC, Marion Barry.