Shaw is a neighborhood located in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., named after Union Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the American Civil War.

Shaw is bounded by M Street NW and Massachusetts Avenue NW to the South; New Jersey Avenue NW to the East; Florida Avenue NW to the North; and 11th Street NW to the West. The area also includes the U Street Corridor, which is the commercial hub of the Shaw, that extends westward to 16th Street NW. The area consists of gridded streets lined with small Victorian row houses. Howard University is located in the Pleasant Plains neighborhood, just north of Shaw. Shops and theatres are located along U Street and centered along 7th Street NW, the original commercial hub of the area prior to the redevelopment in the wake of the 1968 riots and Green Line Metrorail construction. Shaw is sometimes considered to include Logan Circle, Truxton Circle, Randolph Square and other neighborhoods east of 16th Street and north of Downtown Washington, D.C. In recent years, those neighborhoods have become seen as separate entities, with North End Shaw referring to the neighborhood north of Florida Avenue bordering Howard University.

Shaw is a mostly residential neighborhood of 19th century Victorian row houses. The architecture of these houses, Shaw’s central location, and the stability of D.C.’s housing market have transformed the neighborhood through gentrification. Gentrification in the 2010s is transforming the neighborhood into an upscale retail hub.

Among Shaw’s many landmarks are Ben’s Chili Bowl, the Lincoln Theatre, the Howard Theatre, O Street Market, Shiloh Baptist Church, The Watha T. Daniel/Shaw Neighborhood Library, the Twelfth Street YMCA Building, and the north portion of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.

District of Columbia Public Schools operates public schools.


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