Langston Terrace, opened May 5, 1938, celebrated its 75th anniversary on May 4, 2013. It was the first U.S. Government-funded public housing community in Washington and the second in the nation. It was designed by African American architect Hilyard Robinson, a native Washingtonian. Construction began in 1935 as part of the New Deal relief work initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. African American workers performed most of the construction work. The finished complex of 274 units provided affordable housing to working-class families who competed for the opportunity to live there at a time of extreme housing shortages. With its handsome art and style, it embodied Robinson's belief in the ability of fine buildings and art to inspire and uplift residents and generated news coverage across the U.S.
After 75 years, Langston Terrace is still here and the community still buzzing. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and on the DC Inventory of Historic Sites in 1987. Last year, DCHA received a $245,000 grant for a feasibility study to redevelop the Langston power plant, which sits adjacent to the property. The plant has been inoperative for more than 30 years, and DCHA would like to make it a model for renewable energy generation in the 21st century. The event honored the past and celebrated the future on Langston Terrace, and the community it has enriched for the past 75 years.