HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Jonathan Street, which sits on the northern side of Hagerstown, was named after Hagerstown’s founder, Jonathan Hager, and is one of the oldest Black communities in western Maryland.
Sometimes, what people hear of Jonathan Street is not all positive.
“Usually when people come to town they hear instantly, avoid Jonathan Street, and I know it to be true because whenever I get to talking to people, they’re like yeah don’t go up Jonathan Street,” said Hagerstown Councilwoman Tekesha Martinez.
With recent calls from Jonathan Street residents to end senseless violence, people who have been in the community their whole life say that’s not all Jonathan Street is all about.
“A lot of people don’t see that now everybody sees Jonathan Street for the drug use, the violence of guns, the people that come from out of town and get stuck in these housing places that I live in. It is not all bad,” said resident Monique Broadus.
Once a thriving Black neighborhood, Jonathan Street was one of the oldest communities with several Black-owned businesses. Most businesses are gone, and residents say they want businesses back.
“We had multiple stores to choose from. I could go to Mr. Lindsay’s to get one thing I could go to Bunkies to get another thing, and the carwash was there. You saw the people that you lived in a community with working, you saw business owners, we (even) had a parade,” said Councilwoman Martinez.
The renovation of the log cabin at 417 Jonathan Street acts as a promise to rebuild the community and Jonathan Street’s rich black history continues to ring throughout western Maryland.
“It’s a safe haven, regardless of how you look at it. A lot of people don’t see that,” said Broadus.