August 31, 2020 /
Jona Elwell

A New Era on 12th Street NE

We’re proud of our Brookland neighborhood and we’re proud to be a neighborhood fixture. There’s our Headquarters and its sprawling rain garden and green roof, our Tree Planting Annex with its innovative street tree silva cells and the green vine wall we were thrilled to be a part of putting together. 

But as we all know, especially with trees oftentimes growth comes as a replacement. It’s no secret that we’ve stretched our capacity at our Brookland location to its maximum. As we continue to expand our tree planting and delivery services between our Farm and our community partners in DC, we simply need more space. 

In a twist of fate, there was an available piece of property next to our annex at 12th and Hamlin St NE –  the former John T. Rhines Funeral Home. Their Brookland location unfortunately suffered a fire in December 2017 and did not reopen, and instead they relocated to 1505 Kenilworth Ave NE. We acquired the property in April last year and just last week the beginning stages of demolition began. 

It’s important to note the meaningful work and community connections Rhines Funeral Home provided from its many years of service to families in and around Brookland. The thorough hyperlocal blog, the Brookland Bridge, put together a wonderful history and collection of tributes to Rhines in a recent post, Long-time Neighbors Share What Rhines Funeral Home Meant To Them, As The Building Will Come Down Soon. The article contains colorful insight into the historical trends of community based funeral homes, interesting peeks into greater Brookland’s past, and insight on the future of Black owned funeral homes.

As for what we’ll do with the property? Once the building’s demolition is complete, we’ll use the space and adjoining parking lot to expand our current tree storage capacity. Since it’s a large part of what we do and believe in, we’ll also beautify the stretch of 12th Street from Irving to Hamlin NE by extending our existing rain garden streetscape.