The X2 is one of the oldest bus lines in DC, based on what was originally a streetcar line known as Route 10. Created in 1871, Route 10 was first run with horse trolleys, then electric cars. In 1949, the line was converted into a bus route and continued to serve this important thoroughfare in the city.
The historic sites along this route show the diversity of experiences across the DC. For instance, on the east end of the route, the Langston Golf Course is a testament to efforts by the federal government to provide equal access to recreational facilities for DC’s Black residents. The Langston Terrace Dwellings demonstrates further federal intervention, as the city’s first federally-funded public housing project.
Further west, the H Street Corridor represents an important commercial corridor for Black communities in NE, DC. Many buildings sustained damages from the 1968 riots and took years to rebuild. In recent years, gentrification threatens the neighborhood’s fabric as long-time residents become displaced with rising prices and redevelopment.
Metrobus X2 crosses through DC’s present-day Chinatown area. In the early 1930s, DC’s first Chinatown at Pennsylvania Avenue and Fourth Street NW was demolished to make way for government buildings. One of the featured sites, On Leong Tong, headquarters of the city’s preeminent Chinese benevolent association, played a pivotal role in the relocation of the community to its present location in the vicinity of 600 H Street NW.
The X2 bus route also has strong connections to DC’s executive core. The bus passes Lafayette Square near First Lady Dolley Madison’s house, Ashburton House )where the Webster Ashburton Treaty of 1842 was signed), and Saint John’s Church. Due to its position near the White House, Lafayette Square is the site of many public demonstrations, giving it greater symbolic importance as a site of political and social expression. Notably, in 2020 DC Mayor Muriel Bowser renamed a section of Sixteenth Street NW just north of Lafayette Square as Black Lives Matter Plaza, following protests that summer over racial equality.
This tour hopes to draw your attention to the hidden gems along your daily commute or your trip from one historic site to the next. Start at the historic site that’s closest to you! If you’re traveling west on the X2, click “Next” to follow along. If you’re traveling east, click “Previous.”