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River Terrace Community Guide Real Estate An affordable, tight-knit community

Updated 3/8/2023

History and Flavor

National Insured Homes Corporation, a New York-based real estate and construction company, was the original developer of River Terrace. Built on 65 acres of rural, undeveloped land, The River Terrace neighborhood began in 1937.

The cul-de-sac neighborhood was bounded by Benning Road, NE; Anacostia Park; and the Baltimore & Ohio and Pennsylvania Railroads rights-of-way. National Insured Homes Corp advertised River Terrace as “eight minutes from downtown Washington, with streetcars and buses close at hand.”

Most row homes were designed for working-class families by renowned architect George Thomas Santmyers, Jr, to sell for less than $5,000. The name “River Terrace” comes from being located on the east bank of the Anacostia River.  Some streets resemble Chicago suburbs.

The initial two-story brick and masonry row houses were 15 feet wide on 100 feet-deep lots, and each home had two or three bedrooms. All the houses had steel casement windows and hardwood floors on the first and second floors, and many dwellings included a full concrete basement.

By the early 1940s, the development had 300+ finished homes with plans to build 700 additional homes. World War II saw the demand for housing decrease in the DC area.  It wasn’t until after the war that the area boomed. 

By 1958, River Terrace was completely built-out with around 1000 homes and seven apartment buildings. 

Today, the area is a tight-knit community with holiday parties, gardening programs, adult education classes, scout programs, athletic teams, and block parties throughout the year. 


Parks & Arts

  • River Terrace Recreation CenterEnjoy the great outdoors with walking/biking paths and basketball courts.
  • Heritage Islands Park – The product of dredging the Anacostia River over 100 years ago is now home to important and rare ecosystems, including tidal freshwater wetlands, vernal pools, wildflower meadows, and tidal swamp forests. The islands are home to more than 100 species of birds, mammals, and other wildlife. 
  • Anacostia Riverwalk Playground Kids can cut loose as they climb, run, jump, and play on modern play equipment at the Anacostia Park Playground!
  • Northeast Performing Arts GroupThe NEPAG is a hub for multiple activities and provides professional training in ballet, modern, jazz, tap, hip-hop, African, and liturgical dance, and vocal and drama instruction. 


Popular Shopping and Eats

  • East River Park Shopping Mall  a cornerstone for the ongoing evolution within Ward 7 in Northeast Washington, D.C. Anchored by a Safeway Supermarket, the site sees traffic of 50,000 cars daily. It serves the community in many vital ways. Its nationally recognized tenants include CVS, USPS, Citibank, and a new Green-Light Uber Hub. 
  • Rainbow ShopsShoes and clothes for all, plus some tech.
  • Shoe CityFor all your footwear needs.
  • Towne Beauty Supply & More – Cosmetics and hair supplies.


Best Public High Schools

137 students, Student-teacher ratio 6:1

Best Public Elementary Schools

137 students, Student-teacher ratio 6:1

Public Transportation


Median Home Value

$450,000 as of 2023

Renters: 39%

Owners: 61%


3,000 population

Median household income –  $64,291

Median age: 34

Families with children – 30%

High school diploma or equivalent – 38%

College Degree: 46%

87% African American

7% Hispanic

3% White