Owner of Shaw’s Oldest Barber Shop Dies

Frank Love Had Been Cutting Hair Since 1961

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Frank Love (foreground) at Gregg’s Barber Shop. Photo: Pleasant Mann

Frank Love, proprietor of Gregg’s Barber Shop at 1909 Seventh Street NW, died on August 21. His death marks a milestone in the longest continuously operating barber shop in Shaw and perhaps in the District of Columbia.

City directories show that there has been a barbershop in the space since 1910. But the story of Gregg’s Barbershop starts elsewhere in Shaw. William R. Greggs appears as a barber in the District in 1913. After working at two different locations in Shaw, in 1936, Greggs moved to 1909 Seventh Street, where Gregg’s Barber Shop has been ever since. (There is no record of when the barber shop acquired the apostrophe in its name.) Greggs died in 1957, and the building was sold in 1974 after the death of his widow, but the barber shop has continued to operate. After Greggs, the shop was owned by two partners, Jackson and Hill. Frank Love took over the business in 1999.

Mr. Love had been cutting hair at Gregg’s Barber Shop since 1961. He would tell of times when entertainers appearing at the Howard Theater would come in for a trim. Notables included James Brown’s band (Brown himself stopped by but didn’t get his hair cut) and Pearl Bailey. The five-chair shop, which operated with an antique cash register, remained a vibrant part of the Shaw community. Gregg’s first gained celebrity status after being featured in a 2006 documentary series on DC neighborhoods presented by public television station WETA. Frank Love was interviewed for a segment entitled “The Barbershop,” recounting the changes he had seen in Shaw over the decades observing from his spot on Seventh Street. Mr. Love had also won a number of business citations recognizing his continuous service to the community.