Next week, Monday May 7th, I will share the presentation I did at the DC Historic Studies Conference in 2011 at the Bates Area Civic Association meeting, about the history of Truxton Circle. I'm on the agenda right after a guy named Ray Nix who will talk about what's going on with MM Washington and its conversion into old folks housing. Though you can see the presentation here, the live version has more explaining and you get to ask questions. I'll also be seeking help/volunteers with the next leg of this census project, which may or may not be helped along with a DC Humanities Council grant or Kickstarter. I've been doing this thing for years, but I'd like to share all that I've found with and involve the community.
April 2012 Archives
Yeah, I glanced at the City Paper article on gentrification.
Also I want to thank the MPD for being more visable in my section of the neighborhood. I have seen cops on bikes and lots in cruisers. I have seen them on my street and they made an arrest. So keep it up.
I still think Barry is going to win his re-election. The man can call his own ward a ghetto. I do question the wisdom of a ward that keeps re-electing this old fool.
Anyway one of the kazillion press releases I still get from EH Norton's office. This one about Marion Barry and his comment about Filiopino nurses.
Norton Calls on Barry to Target Issues, Not Race
WASHINGTON, DC - Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today called on D.C. Council member Marion Barry to cease the time dishonored pattern he seems to be adopting of targeting racial groups to call attention to issues. She said that Barry owed an apology to the Filipino nurses in particular, who do not deserve to be insulted for helping fill an indispensable health care need in a profession that we in this country have neglected. "The UDC School of Nursing is doing its job, but we have not done ours," Norton said. "We have not prepared a child who wants to grow up to be a nurse with the quality of education she or he must have to study nursing."
The Congresswoman reminded Barry, whom she first met during the civil rights movement, that racial rhetoric surrounding such issues does a particular disservice beyond the offense to the group that is singled out. Racially cloaked language deflects attention from the underlying issues of concern. Such language also carries special danger when it comes from elected officials to whom people look for guidance and remedies, and as African-Americans have learned over hundreds of years, can lead to racial scapegoating. Norton called Barry, but wasn't able to reach him by phone.
CCCA Prez along with other civic association presidents are asking DYRS to be accountable and are asking MPD to help citizens help them. One good question or request is "Why aren't photographs made available to the public of adult defendants who are pending sentencing, in bench warrant status or subject to stay away orders? Community members need to be able to put names with faces in order to protect ourselves against known threats."
Yes, particularly for those of us who are very bad with names. I recognize a face, but it takes several encounters before I get a name in my head.
Please read the CCCA webblog. Hopefully we can all make a safer city and a more accountable city government.
EastShaw presents the question "Should East Shaw Be A Historic District?"
I think, no. But y'all over on the other side of NJ Ave, do whatever you want to do.
History is everywhere. Some parts of DC do have a notable and unique history and architecture, and some parts, a lot of parts, are just old with their own special history. Sort of the difference between US Grant and your civil war era ancestor. Digging into genealogy, family history, one can find a richness and connection with that civil war ancestor that cannot be found with a more famous figure from that same era.
Also, with enough money and lawyers and time, certain things just wind up defying HD intentions. As I think of it there are a few Suzane Reatig buildings in the Mount Vernon Square Historic District, on N Street and 5th.
Oh while we're at why don't we already form the society to preserve Reatig buildings now and just get the inevitable over with. Her buildings are distinctive (you can't miss 'em), she is a woman in a man's field, and she has made her mark in Shaw and Mt. Vernon Sq. Blend the two and call it the Reatig District.
Note- Salon's "Preserving History, or the 1%"
This weekend I walked over to Field to City to grab milk and other desirables and noticed a new sign on the door. No more dogs. I'm very sad to see it. The fellow who was manning the store said the Health Inspector had said dogs can't be there.
Where are we supposed to get our dog fix now? Dogs were one of the positives about Field to City. You'd go in and there usually would be someone to pet. Or someone to step over because he sprawled himself in the way. Yes, okay, I guess that was a health matter, a tripping hazard.
I hope the future is not doggie-less.
I've had favas prepared for me, but I never cooked them. These favas (pictured) are a total surprise. I planted them in fall, with the idea of feeding the soil in the pots. They managed to survive our very mild winter. This spring I was getting flowers, but no beans, so I pulled some of them out. Because some were sharing pots with peas that wrapped around them, I kept some. Surprise, surprise, I got me some favas. Not a whole lot. Any suggestions? All I can think of is making a bisque soup and sprinkling some favas on top.
The plan this weekend is to pull some of my old plants and fluff up and do something with the soil. I've got some old beets that I never harvested. Those have to go. The cilantro was a nice herb for about 5 seconds before it began to bolt, that's getting pulled. I am really tempted to pull up my sage plant, that has been happy and bushy in the ground for over 2 years, and give it to a nice new home. I don't use a lot of sage. I did give away the big bushy potted rosemary to some neighbors. I have another rosemary bush, and I don't use that much rosemary.
Inside, there are the canned goods and dehydrated stuffs. For our wedding sometime ago, we got a dehydrator. I've been using that puppy to dehydrate garlic, celery, tomatoes, lemons, parsley, and mint. Before the dehydrator, I'd hang herbs in the window and let them dry that way. Over the winter I've been using the dehydrated lemons in a tea, with the dried mint, and some honey. It helped soothe the wintertime coughs. The lemongrass has come back and I'll try to dehydrate (in the window) those to make a tea.
Canningwise. I canned way too many sweet things last year. I have a boatload of unsweetened and sweetened applesauce. Tons of meyer lemon marmalade. Lots of strawberry spread and plum preserves. I have just enough tomatoes, beef, veal and chicken stock. I have run out of cherries. Didn't make enough of those. They, like the strawberry spread, go into breakfast yogurts. Yet for some reason, the strawberry goes further.
The basement cellar project got us off track and some things in the pantry are running low. I'd like to get back to having a well stocked pantry. Mainly because it relieves pressure from the grocery trips. I like not having to shop weekly. I like getting produce from my yard or the farmer's markets. Speaking of, anyone know when the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market is coming back?
The Help and I went there yesterday to see Henson's Stuffed and Unstrung. We like muppets/puppets. I bought the tickets the day of at the Howard box office, because when we looked on-line the price from Ticketmaster, tacking on their extra free, threw about $10 extra on the price of each ticket. The "before the show" price at the box office was about the same as buying early on-line.
When I bought the ticket on my way back home from work, the guy in the booth said the doors would open at 6:30. The tickets said 6. I forgot the reason stated. The Help and I had dinner at home and mosied on down 3-4 blocks to the Howard on foot. It took 10 minutes. Because my spouse walks slow. When we arrived at 6:30 there was a line inside and a line outside. Thank goodness it wasn't raining. The show was general seating, so we had an incentive to get there early.
The Howard is small. Well the lobby is small, compared to some other live theaters where there is more room for people and the table to sell merchendise. Inside we were seated at common tables with strangers. Luckily, I am married to Mr. Chatty Patty, who strikes up conversations with strangers in a single bound. Across the table from us was Mrs. Chatty Patty (no relation), whose husband and child were back in the burbs. Oh and some guy named Tommy, whose wife was not there, sat with us. The Chatties carried on most of the pre-show conversation.
We were given menus. We had already eaten, so we didn't need another dinner. So we decided on an appetizer, the American Charcuterie Platter, $18. Sorry, no, not available. Overhearing the other table the chicken wasn't available either. So we went with the Crabcake. See photo.
The show started at 8:10. We had a good time. We also enjoyed jokingly saying, "Do you think we should leave early to beat the traffic?" The walk home was a little less than 10 minutes.
I'm gonna hop on the bandwagon. The Bloomingdale blog has a post about Urban Turf's post about Wardmans. Bloomingdale was mentioned. Bloomingdale also used a photo of houses on the 1700 block of 4th Street. Which is not in Bloomingdale. Easy mistake since these houses do all tend to look alike. Below is more of the block.
The purple house clued me in. When I was looking to buy, I looked at the purple house. At that time it seems the flippers ran out of money and it was HUGE inside. Sadly, there is 0 yardspace. Also the block seemed very unfriendly. Now the block is fine, but 11 years ago, not so much.
Anyway, square 519, which is between FL, 3rd, 4th and R Streets used to be owned by a florist George Glorius and his wife, up until about 1902, when they sold lots to Harry Wardman. Harry Wardman, built a bunch of 2 flat houses. So most of what's on that block are Wardmans. In the past few years property owner Behzad Hosseinkhani, has raised the height of a Wardman on lot 54. For some odd reason the place is still not done.
I finally wandered into the store over on 3rd and P, though another corner store is closer to my house. I'm hoping that this is part of a trend in 21st century corner stores, where the dirty looking (or really scratched up) plexiglass is gone, and the stores are open and well lit. As this store definately was. What surprised me was the small display of fresh veggies and fruit. It's not a Field to City/Timor, but if you just need conventional fresh fruit and veggies, it's there. It is an option. And it is part of the Healthy Corner's project.
However, I will probably hit the store for something unhealthy, Super Bubble Gum. Oh how I love the Super Bubble, eventhough it probably has HFCS.
It was the second progressive party we've had in a year's time, and that's our street for you. If you are a reader of this blog you know the street has some ups and downs. Among the ups are some real great neighbors, which you get to meet during these pot luck progressive parties. Someone tries to get the invitations to new neighbors (renters and homeowners) on our unit block (and old neighbors too), organizes the pot lucking and get a few more neighbors to open up their homes to host portions of the party and a good time follows. Go ahead steal the idea for your own block (or half block for those of you between 1st and 3rd).
Or you can buy 1602 4th St NW and if you buy it quickly you'll move in just in time to maybe host desserts or appetizers for the next progressive party. There is an open house for it today at 1.
I'm looking at the drawing on the Reatig site and I don't see the horrid purple grey, orange grey, red grey match up going on here. Looking at the drawing, the building looks like it should have been more white than depressing grey.
Some of the buildings in the Reatig Shaw portfolio, I don't hate, some have grown on me, but this one. I have trouble imagining this bad color combo will ever be anything other than ugly. Maybe it is so ugly to make all the other ones look better.
We're not sure what happened. I had gotten an invitation from the Howard Theatre for the event yesterday and I did RSVP. IT and his colleague Paul had gotten invitations because they are the architects working on a nearby project (Progression Place?). Unlike me they had gotten confirmations for their rsvps. Because of another thing going on that I wanted to attend, I sent the Help to the Howard to check in on my behalf (he was also should have been listed as my guest). For some reason neither, he, nor I, nor IT or Paul or either of their guests were on the list. And according to the Help, the gal with the list tried very hard to find our names.
As I was leaving my other engagement I called the Help who had been texting me in front of the Howard, telling me that B and IT were there too, told me to join them there as they tried to figure out what happened. By the time I got there, I got another text telling me the group had moved on to the nearby Bistro Bohem.
It was our second visit, and everyone else's first, to Bistro Bohem and I must say a most excellent time was had. Excellent. The drinking end of the table (for some reason I was on the teatotaler side) tried various Czech drinks, finally deciding that a clear spice-chai type drink was the one, and not the one that smelled like minty mouthwash. We also shared a bunch of dishes. The cheese plate had a yummy strawberry butter on it that unfortunately looked like ground meat under the low lights. The sauteed cauliflower and the roast duck with the red cabbage were huge hits.
There are no hard feelings towards the Howard. If the snafu didn't occur, we wouldn't have had such a good time.
I don't need a new bike. The past few bikes I've bought have been used, because I need a bike to get from A to B. I'm not racing, I'm not biking the trails in the untamed forests, and I'm not leaving something worth a lot of money in front of the Metro. So I've bought off Craigslist.
I miss Chain Reaction, the non-profit bike shop, where they sold used bikes at a price I liked. Don't know if they had a secondhand license. I do know that when they moved I didn't see the selection of used bikes that they used to have. The City Paper has a story about secondhand shops getting harassed by the local DC government. And this is why DC doesn't have the same sort of bike shops as they do over the border.
Not everything used has the same value and the law shows no difference between used/old/ vintage/ antique no name brand and coveted brand stuff. Contact your council person or just bug Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham to do something about it.
It's Easter. Don't move your car if you can avoid it as churches' regular bi/annual visitors stop by, making the Sunday parking around here even more crazy. Anyway, some news if you haven't already heard.
- Shaw Tavern liquor license has been approved, but the owners need to submit more paperwork (via Alex Padro via MVSNA Neighborhood list)
- Tomorrow is community day at the Howard Theatre. Monday, April 9th at 11:30 am. So if you're off work, work form home or are just home, stroll on by. Around noon a bunch of DC politicians talk and after 12:35 the following scheduled entertainers will entertain: Darlene Dancy, Delonte Copeland, Jimi Smooth, Matthew White, Wendy Hicks, NuEra, Teri Swenton, Velons, Orioles, Skip Mahoney, The Jewels and Al Johnson.
The French Drain- There was some digging and breaking up the concrete floor. A trench was dug inside for the outer walls and a trench going down the middle.In the front there was water. The guys said it was mud. My guess was the trench was about a foot or more deep and there was a pool of water in it, on a dry day. The rear trench remained dry. Hopefully the french drain and maybe a new sump pump (planned for this summer when I hope it's dry) will take care of part of the water problems. The other problem is humidity. I measured this morning and it's 71% percent humidity in the cellar. We just need to hook up the dehumidifier tonight to take care of that. So it will never (unless the water table drops) become a full basement or even a basement apartment.
Pipes and things- Another cost was moving pipes. One of the more expensive pipe relocations, was moving the interior gas line for $1K. It seems that over time, with this and other pipes, the previous owners just capped it off and put in more pipe. Imagine a pipe that comes in from the outside near the center of the house. In the inside it is about 3-5 inches below the ceiling. From the center it goes diagonally to the far right of the house, where there is a cap, an extention, and another pipe that travels to the far left of the house to get to the (currently non-functioning) furnace. Something was on the right, maybe a meter, who knows. Anyway, this pipe, was right over where the washer and dryer were to go, and to box it in would have lowered the ceiling. There were other pipes too. Pipes that went nowhere. Water pipes to non-existant washers or removed outdoor faucets or something that needed water abounded. So a part of the project was cleaning up all the leftover stuff from 100 years of modernization.
Oil pipe- It later got covered over but there was an opening on the exterior facing wall for a oil pipe, for I gather when there was an oil furnace. I'm guessing.
The ceiling- As I wrote, we weren't digging down, but we did have the option of taking off some of the beams. As some of y'all remember I gutted the 1st and 2nd floors in 2007. The floor joists had new boards/beams sistered to them to make them level, because over 130 some odd years they got saggy (good bones my ass*). These sistered beams allowed for a couple of inches to be taken off the bottom. Besides they were kinda big anyway. As a result we can raise our hands a little higher than before, but there are only a few places a 6' 4" man can stand up straight.
In conclusion- This house was built around 1874, as rental housing. For most of the 19th and 20th century it was nothing but rental housing. The best of my knowledge and research none of the landlords, not even the great Dr. E. L. Haynes**, invested this much into this structure as I have in my 10 years. Dealing with all the little structural issues at once and to make it more than livable is too much to ask of a landlord. The house is not complete. The first renovation in the kitchen, 9 years ago, put off a number of structural things. If that is tackled the logical move is to add another floor, as many others on the block have done with their kitchens. But it's still too soon to even think about that right now.
*A common line you'll hear about old houses is that they have good bones. You don't know what kind of bones a house has until you tear that sucker down to the joists and frame. What you may find is termite and water damage, sandy mortar, all sorts of crap. Walls and floors hide all sorts of sins.
** My house was one of many in her investment portfolio. She never lived in my house. Repeat, never, ever, never, ever lived here.
I don't live close enough to care but those over on the block between O, P, New Jersey, and 3rd, particularly those on the 1400 block of 3rd would like a heads up.
A zoning petition has been brought to the attention of the ANC 5C board. BZA case 18355. For the petition, the owner who lives in Bowie, MD would like to put a two unit residence on a strip of land that is only 14 ft wide.
My thing is, I walked by there and it hardly looks 14 feet wide, and if it is, it is poorly marked and might take up a part of the alley entrance.
1416 3rd St, NW is the apartment building right next to the property in question. On the other side is the alley. The way the gate is located and the way the landscaping is around and near the brick apartment, it appears that the 1418 3rd Street strip is part of 1416. Note the big green bushes.
Currently, or as of Tuesday, there is no sign or anything regarding this application. I wonder if the residents of 1416 realize their trash and recycling will have to go somewhere else. Also I wonder if the owner of 1416 realized that this was a separate lot. I wonder this because I could have sworn I saw the 1416 property up for sale in the past 6 or so months.
For the people of 553W, I wonder if your 3rd Street entrance to your rear yards via motor vehicle is in any danger. As I said, it doesn't look 14ft to me and in the drawings, it seems to be cutting it awfully close.
Lastly, 2 dwelling units! The lot, according to DC.gov, is only 864 feet. My lot, upon which my house sits on, is is bigger than that and I couldn't imaging stuffing two units on it. The drawings show a below grade unit, and an above grade unit that is 8-9 feet above 1416's roof. I don't get the whole stuffing two units into a space that would make a 'cozy' single residence.
See the application on BACA's site. If you have objections contact Bradley Thomas, your ANC.
It began February 15th and just got completed yesterday. I didn't feel comfortable blogging about it until the lockbox the contractor had been using was gone, and the security hinge was on the door, which really doesn't matter, since the door won't open if it's too humid.
I don't have before pictures. I did make a video, for my own records. If you were over 6' 2", you could not stand up straight in many parts of the basement. Half of the ceiling had been torn down during the 2007 Renovation and the floor, baseboards and wall were ruined in the flood of 2001, and water incidents that seemed to occur every year. What's a water incident? Oh, a couple of times it was the sump pump's float getting caught in its own cords and not triggering the pump, letting the basement flood. Another time the pipe flew off the sump pump. That allowed for 5 inches of water. And other times it was just heavy rains lifting the water table and water seeping through the wall and floor.
And the water is one of the reasons why we didn't dig down. When mentioning the renovation to others, a common question was if we were digging it out. No. The cellar is strictly for storage and laundry. And since both the Help and I are under 6 ft., we are okay with it being a 'short people basement.' Yet we did gain a few inches when portions of the beams were shaved off. Other reason for not digging down was the price. We just got the final bill and the whole thing cost, rounding up $32K. A huge chunk of that was the french drain, which was needed to deal with the water.
Anyway, more tomorrow in part 2.
Yes, I'm not too fond of the UHOP/Reatig creations that litter Shaw, but via the Shaw Neighborhood list, information about the local Fox news story about an eviction shed some light on UHOP (United House of Prayer for All People).
CCCA prez mentioned:
UHOP's Apostle Greene spoke at the ANC2C that some units in the complex where the woman was evicted rent as low as $300/mo. These $300 rents are not supported by any gov't program (funded solely by UHOP); furthermore, senior residents are offered additional subsidies and support-- before they are given eviction notices. He gave no details about this case.
If it is true that UHOP provides low income housing without government money, that seems to say that the church soley supports their low-rent housing. Which is more than what some other churches do. I might not like, if not outright hate a lot of the residential housing UHOP throws up, but at least their properties are active. Which is a good thing. Not like a certain other church at the corner of 9th and P, which just holds properties for the sake of letting them rot. A certain chruch, that for over a decade has kept saying they are going to do something with their half-rotting block, build senior housing blah, blah, blah, and hasn't.
I am reminded of the parable of the talents. In this case UHOP (I'm ignoring the fuglyness of their buildings) is the first and second servants who doubled the value of what they've been given. Shiloh is the 3rd servant who didn't do anything with the wealth given, and in this case is a poor servant.
Well the download is faster now so it is easier to get images from the National Archives site http://1940census.archives.gov/ and I was able to grab the map.
This map and the rest of the census work I've been collecting for like, forever, is the kind of stuff I am hoping to throw on my new website (that isn't up yet, gotta give my host 24-48 hrs), TruxtonCircle.org. Yes, TruxtonCircle.org, Scott & Matt were kind enough to give the domain name to me and I am very grateful. It won't be as fancy as Scott & Matt's site (as I lack the know how of Matt), but I hope that it will be informative regarding the history of the neighborhood.
Anyway, back to the 1940 census. It's free. And it's still fuzzy. Below is part of the unit block of O Street in ED 1-36.
I haven't heard back from my cousin regarding indexing the 1940 Census for the TC, but I am sure she'll do a portion of it. Also I'd like to ask if any of you would like to volunteer some data entry work in getting this historic data out into the public? In time Ancestry will index the names, but maybe not the addresses and the other data that I think is most interesting, like rent and household income. If you are interested in indexing just a few pages, maybe of your block or just your street, or a whole enumeration district, please contact me, via the comments.
Today is the big day the 1940 Census is revealed and it's kinda fuzzy and slow. The National Archives has a site http://1940census.archives.gov. And I've tried getting pages for the TC and sloooooooooooooow is one way to describe that attempt. So I went to Ancestry.Com. Better but fuzzy. Also discovered the Tract 46, which the TC is, is not an enumeration district. It is a tract. There are 7 enumeration districts (1-31; 1-32; 1-33; 1-34; 1-35; 1-36; & 1-37) that make up Tract 46. I'd try to bring up a map of that and it's impossibly slow.
With the release of the 1940 census I can see who lived at my house. Also it restarts the "census project" and the fact I need to get off my butt and do somethings that have been in the 'plans in my head' stage. And I need to budget to pay the cousin to do some transcribing and since these have just been released, they are not indexed. It is so large I may have to ask the TC community for assistance, but more about that later or tomorrow or at least by Friday.
Also falling under the "History" subject line was something I spotted on Georgetown Metropolitian blog about aerials of the city in 1951. Using a site called historicalaerials.com he was able to look at a lost waterfront. I can see a lost dairy where the co-op now sits. Poking around a bit more I saw the outline of the old Dunbar High School that sat on 1st Street. I played around I found a 1949 aerial of the southeastern tip of the TC. It is very fuzzy. What interests me is the comparison feature. The field with Dunbar gets bigger. In some spots there are crosswalks in 1951 but none in 2005. Traffic on NY Avenue seems heavier in 2005.
7PM Basement Cafeteria of Mt. Sinai Baptist Church at 3rd & Q. Press Doorbell, not intercom button for entry.
Monday, April 2, 2012
7 PM, Mt. Sinai Church 3rd and Q ST NW
(Side entrance at the corner of 3rd and Q St )
I. Meeting Called to Order Geovani Bonilla , President
II. Review of Last Meeting Minutes David Hall, Secretary
III. Treasurer Report Margaret Stevens
7:15 PM - 7:30 PM
IV. Committee Updates
a. Safety - review of crime statistics and PSA 501 MPD update
b. Economic Development - Geovani Bonilla
c. Friends of the Park - Jon Hasse
d. Schools Re-development - Geovani Bonilla
7:30 PM - 8:15 PM
Special Guest (s)
Dunbar School Improvement Team Presentation
1. General update on construction project and timeline
2. Oversight over general contractors and trucks to observe streets with "No Trucks" limitations
3. Preview of plans of the new site
4. General Q & A
5. Access to recreational activities to community after grand opening
V. Standing Invitation
a. Mayor's Office
b. Council Member's Office
c. Council Member at Large Office
April 3rd there are elections for party people. Which means The Help, who is registered no party, will just have to wait for the Ward 5 elections in May. Though there aren't many Statehood Green party people on the ballot, they are on the April 3rd ballot, so Green party members have a reason to go to the polls.