|Fort Reno Water Towers |
In 1896, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers purchased land at Fort Reno, including the remains of the fort and battery in order to construct a reservoir. In 1903, a 60-foot, cylindrical red brick water tank was built as well as a home for the supervising engineer of the Reno plant. A second water storage tower was built in 1929 and made to resemble a French Norman castle tower. A Dutch water boy weather vane tops the tower.
In 1928, a 5.5-million gallon underground reservoir was built, resulting in the demolition of residences in Reno City. Developers of the time also regarded the residences which were majority black-owned as a blight to the neighborhood and conspired to have these houses condemned. Photos from the period show well-kept single family homes as well as rowhouses. Through the 1920s and 1930s, long-time residents, many of whom had recently made improvements to existing homes and stores were bought out by the government, often at below market prices.
In "Tenleytown, D.C. : Country Village into City Neighborhood," Judith Beck Helm writes:
The forced removal of the residents cut off the very strong roots they had in the Reno settlement--in some cases, roots that went back two generations, or 65 years. The social order at Fort Reno had been long-established; these feelings of community and status were lost when the residents moved, family by family, to other neighborhoods--most often to neighborhoods that had no long-standing sense of community, family ties, or traditions. There they became strangers, newcomers, displaced people.
The Battle of Fort Reno by Neil Flanagan