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Ah, the Whitehurst Freeway. This busy stretch of highway hugs Georgetown and tugs at my heartstrings as it traverses the District. It’s also a source of curious pride for me; my paternal grandmother’s maiden name is Whitehurst.

So of course, I did a little digging. Here’s what I’ve discovered. The freeway ‘s namesake, Herbert C. Whitehurst, was a director of the District’s highway department. His family was from Richmond, Va., and made its fortune manufacturing sashes, blinds and doors.


This is inscribed at the bottom of the Whitehurst Freeway in Washington D.C. It was completed in 1949 and named for Herbert C. Whitehurst, director of the District Highway Department from 1929 to 1948

WhitehurstFrwyMy Whitehurst line is deeply rooted in Lower Alabama; my great-great grandfather, Rubin Whitehurst was born in Alabama in 1849. (His mother, Sallie, was born in Florida and his father was too). My grandmother, Ruth Whitehurst Nance, was born in Barbour County, raised in Coffee County and spent most of her adult life in Bullock County. (Incidentally, the Whitehurst Freeway is part of U.S. 29, which eventually makes its way through Bullock County).

As far as I’ve been able to tell, there are no direct Virginia connections to my Whitehurst line– but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one to be found.