A little warning as I saw one of our local crackheads peaking into a car and testing the door this morning as I was running to work. Dude? Have you no shame? I’m right here and looking at you! And I know it wasn’t your car.
If you have crackheads, or crackheads pass through and you own a car, lock it. Don’t assume that no one will try the doors. Also don’t leave anything that will give them hope that there is something they may want in your car. So clean it out, or at least transfer it all to the trunk.
Gad, the whole thing makes me not want to continue with my neighborhood research. Actually I just want to shred it all of it and turn it into compost. Start over and do another Old City neighborhood. B. was bright enough to choose a history topic on the other end of town.
The map is of all the historic districts in DC. Except Shaw East which was recently approved as an historic district. So all y’all within the Florida, 7th St, New Jersey, and N St borders got all your window replacements, changes and additions done so they can be grandfathered in. From the looks of the map and when you add Shaw East, the blue/purple takes up a good portion of the Old City 2. How much of the city needs to be in a historic district, especially when there are only 2 staff members to monitor them all.
My reasons for being anti-historic district rest on a couple of things, one being I don’t like extra regulation and my house has issues. Some people don’t mind it and it is not a big deal. I on the other hand would prefer to avoid homeowner associations, condo/co-op associations and local historic district boards. All those groups have their pluses but I really bristle at being told what I can and cannot do with my property. The second reason is the most important one, my house being a pile of crumbly bricks. You doubt me? Come on over, bring a butter knife, I’ll show you can cut through a brick with it. My house, as well as several others on my block suffer from decades (if not a century) of neglect and poor maintenance. There are a huge laundry list of things inside and out that need correcting and to correct them will be a burden, possibly exceeding what I can afford to do on my single person salary. I don’t need the extra burden of one more hoop and a 50% increase in cost.
Where’d that 50% come from? Well I wandered over to Home Depot yesterday and asked for a cost comparison between vinyl windows and wood (on the outside) windows. For the dimensions I asked for the vinyl was $178, the wood was $260, that’s about (if my math is correct) a 50% markup. That does not include installation and that could vary because they are installed differently. Nor does it include a protective coating for the wood to protect against wood rot. Also wood needs to be repainted every 3-5 years, vinyl stays white. Also talking to some other people who priced their renovations where they voluntarily considered wood windows found the cost to be 2x to 3x the cost of doing the same job with vinyl. Fiberglas doors and steel doors are cheaper than wood too, and less apt to warp and swell, a problem I have with one of my wood doors.
Of course, when asked about higher prices between wood and vinyl the preservationists said that it wasn’t much higher. Well they don’t have to pay for it.
Is there anything that will sway me? Yes. Knowledge that I might move and a stable home, of which I have neither. I am trying to bring this house back up, with the resources I have, one day at a time. I don’t need to be rushed so I have to get everything I want done grandfathered in… Maybe if the windows and the floors weren’t crooked, the fence falling down, the porch big enough to not have to step down to open the door, and the other slew of things that need fixing I’d be a bit more open to the idea. Or if I knew that I was going to move, sell the house and reap whatever investment put in, that might warm me to it.
Will it be the end of the world if Truxton, and especially my block becomes part of a historic district? No. I’d just have to put a rush on slapping something on and up. Rules were made to be worked around.
Previous Gentrification and Historic Preservation Posts:
Gentrification and Historic Preservation, pt 1
Gentrification and Historic Preservation, pt 2a: This Old House vs Old House Journal
Gentrification and Historic Preservation pt 2b: This Old House (TOH) vs Old House Journal (OHJ) pt 2b
Gentrification and Historic Preservation, pt 3: When it is right