Visit Marvin Gaye’s DC House

Me and Marvin at Detroit's Motown Museum
Me and Marvin at Detroit’s Motown Museum last year

In case you didn’t know, one of Motown’s finest (if not just plain finest) was born and raised in Washington, D.C. Also, in case you didn’t know, I have a slight obsession with Marvin Gaye, mainly because he was 1. talented, 2. studly, and 3. a little bit tortured.

During yesterday’s goal mission, we passed a humongous mural of Marvin Gaye. I figured if that wasn’t a sign to visit his old stomping grounds and complete my goal of visiting his D.C. house, I didn’t know what was.

I found this great roundup: “Washington D.C. Sites With Links to Marvin Gaye.” So, I decided to go on a Marvin Gaye scavenger hunt with Curly today, starting off with his family’s first home in SE D.C., which is right near Nationals Park.

Oh, so, as it turns out, there’s actually no home left. Bummer. However, Curly was able to relieve himself.

1617 First St. SW, Marvin Gaye's Family's First D.C. Home
1617 First St. SW, Marvin Gaye’s Family’s First D.C. Home

Next stop: 10 60th St. NE, the Gay’s house (yes, Gay – Marvin went on to add an “e” to the end of his last name) starting in 1954. According to the Post site, “Long gone now, it’s not far from the Watts Branch Playground, where Gaye first performed publicly onstage, which became Marvin Gaye Park years later.” Currently, there’s a recreation center around where the house used to be.

Marvin Gaye Recreation Center, DC
Marvin Gaye Recreation Center, DC

Finally, the park. It’s not too far away, as the Post article notes, but the mosaic of Marvin Gaye is 15 streets down. So, if you’re ever interested in seeing this mosaic for yourself, it’s near a McDonald’s on 45th St. and Nannie Helen Burroughs Road.

Marvin Gaye Park, DC
Marvin Gaye Park, DC

I enjoyed my trip today. I wish D.C. made a larger deal about his start in our nation’s capital! I also wish his houses hadn’t been demolished.

Here are some other moments from today:

– Lyssa


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