Saturday, January 30, 2010

How did NOVA become redneck? Pt. 2

The DC area was a sleepy backwater town untl the thirties. During the mid-1800s the city experienced an influx of immigrants, mostly Irish. The area didn't experience the turn of the century immigration like Chicago, Detroit, and New York. However, southerners did flock to the city starting in the thirties. This migration was a gush at first and then became a trickle until it stopped in the early seventies. The large numbers of "hillbillies" turned the area's nightclubs into honky tonks and the area came to have a much more southern feel.

DC and surrounding areas had significant (possibly majority) southern sentiments during the civil war, so the addition of southen migrants just added to the southerness of the city. The migrants settled in Southeast DC, Prince Georges County, and Northern Virginia, but grappled with huge housing shortages. This led to enormous, almost ramshackle, housing developments populated almot exclusively by southern whites. For example, Pimmit Hills in Tysons is a huge neighborhood of homes that look identical and are quite small. Way back the legend told that the Fairfax police were too afraid to go into the neighborhood so it was some kind of hillbilly free for all. I doubt that was really the case.

Nonetheless, these newcomers wanted nightclubs to themselves and they got their wish. Across the area, including NOVA, there were nightclubs hosting legendary country artists playing to their kin folk. This was how the DC area was until things began to shift in the nineties. The redneck nature of the area disappeared almost overnight and has been washed from the area as if it were never there.

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