There were 49 inhabited alleyways in Washington, D.C. before the Civil War, but that more than doubled as the Emancipation Proclamation brought 40,000 former slaves crowding into the city, looking for work.

The alleys, hidden from the view of the diplomats and businesspeople who walked the grand avenues, were often unnamed until the writers of city directories began christening them. They named some after the landlords who built apartments, small houses and shacks on the sites. Others were assigned more picturesque names. There was Prather’s Alley, Bate’s Alley, Soap Alley, Goat Alley, Pear Tree Alley and the probably aptly named Fighting Alley.

Source: From Lincoln’s Citadel: The Civil War in Washington, D.C. by Kenneth J. Winkle