What is and where is Shaw? I am somewhat doubtful if you asked someone on the street in 1900 where was the Shaw neighborhood they would know how to direct you, as Shaw as a neighborhood, an area with borders was not there then. “Shaw” became “Shaw” in the late 60s. Looking at the Washington Post from that time first it was the Shaw school district and then it just became “Shaw”.
See the map and see the 1973 borders of Shaw. Note that Mt. Vernon Square is not included in its entirety. The eastern border is 15th St. NW, the northern border is roughly Florida Ave (formerly Boundary), east is North Capitol and M & N make up the southern side. This is the definition of Shaw I have clung to and it is confirmed occasionally in over 30 years of the odd Washington Post article when referring to different parts of the area as Shaw.
The key word is occasionally, because there was that odd article that defined Shaw as its middle being 9th and 6th St. Then last week I found on my doorstep the Fagon Community Guide: MidCity DC 2006. I found the maps on pages 22 & 23 of Shaw and U Street to be a bit off. For one, the Shaw map has annexed parts of Dupont and LeDroit, as anything past 16th is Dupont and that bordering Howard Hospital is LeDriot. And maybe it ate bits of Adams Morgan too as the boundary goes past Florida Ave and has part of Meridian Park… or is that more Mt. Pleasant?
Anyway as the blog says, I’m in Shaw. But wait you say, “Aren’t you in Truxton Circle?” Yes, why yes I am. “But how can you be ‘In Shaw’?” Elementary. Think of those Russian nested dolls. Truxton is in Shaw. As is Logan Circle. As is U Street. As is Blagden Alley. Shaw is a big neighborhood encompassing several other neighborhoods. We are bound together by the history of riots and revitalization and schools and hope.
If you want your very own copy of the above map, it is somewhere in the MLK’s Washingtonia Div’s vertical file.