Church Survey 1957: Chinese Community Church

Taking another couple of pages from the church survey done back in 1957 of churches in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area, which got changed into the Shaw Urban Renewal and Downtown Urban Renewal Areas. From the book we have the Chinese Community Church at 1011 L St N.W (Sq. 341, lots 63, 64 & D). I thought this church was outside of the Shaw boundaries but it seems to be within the Shaw Historic District.

This one was unusual. This 150 member church claimed to be the only Chinese protestant church in the District of Columbia. It also appears that at the time they were in the process of building their own church building. I will guess it was their current building at 500 I Street NW. But in 1957, Continue reading Church Survey 1957: Chinese Community Church

319 R St NW- Back On the Market $1.6 Million

So….. nevermind. There is an open house 3/14 from 1-3PM. Redemption may be at hand.

Below is the old post.

At the corner of 4th and R is 319 R St NW and it is a large landmark of a house. I noticed the “For Sale” sign was gone. So it looks like it did not sell. Which is sad because I had hoped someone could redeem the mess that had happened. But maybe $1.6 million was too much to ask in addition to redemption.

So for those of you just joining us and unfamiliar with the saga that was 319 R St NW, here’s a very quick story. When I arrived to Shaw 20 years ago, 319 was mission house for a Virginia Korean church where they fed homeless people and let them hang out. But after many years and the neighborhood got gentrified they sold the house to a developer. That developer wanted to throw on a 3rd story and lop off the corner turret. After some push back, they agreed to throw a dunce hat of a turret on. The house, and almost all the other houses on the block, was an actual Harry Wardman house. The developers’ desire to go the ugly route triggered a nuclear option of making the whole block a historic landmark. Which totally sucked for everyone else on the block. The developers sold the mess they made and someone else finished the renovations and dug out the basement. Then the house went on the market. And it sat on the market. Now it’s off the market.

Links to my previous posts about 319 R St NW:
I provided the gun but I didn’t shoot him: Historic Landmarking of Sq. 519
319 R St NW- There can be a way forward with a turret
319 R St NW- The Turret is Plan B
319 R St NW- Not hoping for the best, but the less ugly with a turret
319 R Street NW- a sign
319 R St NW
319 R Street the plan
Well we need more of this kind of missionary work

Radiators are Awesome

As part of our house search wish list I wanted radiators. Because, they are awesome. We are currently in a house with forced air heat. My nose is dry in a way it was never dry before, and not in a good way. My skin and hair are dry as well and need regular moisturizing. But what is worse, I wake up with a dry throat. I feel that I’m being dehydrated.

Radiators Not that I didn’t get dehydrated in winter in my old house with radiators. But I had all sorts of ways to keep the house hydrated with radiators. I would put my bathrobe and  towels on the radiators. In the morning I would have a toasty warm robe and dry towels. Putting on that robe was like getting a warm hug.

Radiators do need to be maintained. Every so often they need to be bled, which means the air needs to be released. You do this with a radiator key. If you have a house with radiators and one or more of them are stone cold, those need to be bled until water comes out.

They stay hot/ warm for a good long while. There were a few times when we lost power and the house stayed warm because the hot water remained in the radiators.

Another plus is that they warm the room, not the air…. which dries out the air. If you are cold, you can stand nearby or if there is a cover, sit or place hands on, the radiator. One of my earliest memories of the area was when I was staying with Aunt P she took me to a school (hers? She was a teacher) and it was so cold to my little warm weather Floridian self. When we got to the school I was so happy that there was this thing I could touch and warm up with.

Not everyone is loves radiators. They can make knocking noises. People may have negative memories of being somewhere where the radiators weren’t working. I’m sorry.

Exposed Brick Sucks

I am grateful to all of you who have read my Carter G. Woodson posts, but now it’s a new month and I need to post something new. When I look at the analytics for this blog the most popular posts are about the Spacepak system I had in the house and my UPS woes. So I’m going to write on a non- Truxton topic, that is slightly Truxton related, exposed brick walls.

Painted-brick-wall
Painted brick wall in Baltimore.

Back in our old house, the one we sold, we had painted brick walls. You could see and feel the texture of the wall. But it was safe. Because it was wearing latex protection, in the form of several coats of paint. I loved painted brick walls so much I did the same thing for my rental in Baltimore.

On the odd occasion we have been somewhere, for longer than a week or two where the brick walls have been exposed. After a while I noticed bits of wall that come off. This may have something to do will how well sealed a wall is. If the wall isn’t sealed or poorly so expect to get bits of mortar in things. You will constantly need to sweep off mortar/ brick dust from the stairs and anything else that abuts the wall.

Sometimes a brick wall has too much character in the form of holes and cracks. Yeah. Paint that mess. Shove a bunch of latex caulk in the crack and paint over it again and again. Or just pay a mason to fix it. Holes can have the odd loose rock or chunk of mortar that decides to pop out at unfortunate times.

 

 

Final Presentation for Langston and Slater Schools

I’m going to take a break from Dr. Carter Grumpypants Woodson to bring up a presentation regarding Truxton Circle’s eyesores of Langston and Slater schools.
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I’m just going to copy/paste Bradley A. Thomas’ letter:

The final presentation of the ten proposals for the redevelopment of the Langston and Slater school buildings will take place this Thursday, February 11, 2021, beginning at 6:30 pm.  Please review the slides from each of the applicants which I want to thank Bates Area Civic Association President David Hall for putting together into a single link.
You can view all ten of the proposals here .
To view this Thursday’s final disposition presentation, log in at the link below by 6:20 pm on February 11, 2021: 
Five days later, on February 16, 2021, ANC5E will vote on a resolution specifying which elements of the various presentations our community wants to see in the final development plan.  We are not being asked to state a preference for one development team over the others.  We are being asked to indicate which ideas we like best.  If you want to, and haven’t already done so, you can submit to me your individual preferences anytime between now and 11:59 pm on Friday, February 12, 2021.  After that, over the weekend, I will put together our collective thinking into a concise resolution which I will ask the Commissioners of ANC5E to support at our public meeting on the following Tuesday night. 
 
For the record, so far four residents have sent me their thoughts and I suspect that after the final presentation on this Thursday, I will get several more.   Thank you all for participating in this process which will impact our neighborhood for decades to come.  
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Because someone’s bedtime is around that time, and Destructo is the king of delay (5 more minutes!), it’s unlikely we’ll see all of this live. But for you with children who go to bed or put themselves to bed or without kids, please participate and finally do something with this. It is possible.

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Corinthian Baptist Church

Landowner list of Sq 551Last one in this particular series looking at the above segment of the General Assessment 1933-1934. I was not going to look at Ms. Julia W. McGuire, as she is in a trustee position. My dad is a trustee at his church (why. lord. why) and so his name shows up on the tax database for his county for his church’s parking lots. But another quick look at the Recorder of Deeds database showed that she transferred ownership to Corinthian Baptist Church July 23, 1931. I guess I’m looking up Ms. McGuire.

Mrs. Julia Wise (Grayson?) McGuire (1862- 1952), lived at 531 T St NW was the widow of Robert L. McGuire, and was an African American woman. That’s as much research as I want to do. I’ll write a bit about Corinthian Baptist Church. It was part of the 1957 Church Survey, so I have that link here.

Corinthian Baptist was at 3rd and Q before they moved to the unit block of Q. Corinthian Baptist at some point gave way to Ebeneezer Baptist. They sold their property to Mt. Sinai Baptist in July 23, 1948. The database says 7/20/1948 but that is definitely a 3 not a 0. Seems like July 23rd is a special date.

As you can see with your own eyes, the lots owned by the church managed to survive the urban renewal which created the Northwest Cooperative and Florida Avenue Park.

 

Twinning School of Truxton Circle

This is from the pile of stuff I have on my computer about DC History and while reviewing Church Survey uploads that hadn’t a lot of views, I noticed this one. I got this from the Sumner School Archives, a great resource and it is from DCPS Public School Buildings Past and Present, which appears to be an unpublished manuscript.

The Twinning School used to be a school at 3rd and O Streets NW. It was an 8 room school house built in 1883 and demolished sometime around the time Dunbar expanded. When it served as a school it was a segregated white school. It appears that it served as a school for white students until 1918. It became a school for African American students in 1925. In 1930 the Truxton Circle neighborhood was predominately African-American. It soon got absorbed by Armstrong on the other end of the block and became an auxiliary building. Now there is an empty field where it stood.

Twining School by Mm Inshaw

1957 Church Survey- New Hope Baptist

Some Church Survey posts are chock full of information, and some got nada. And that is New Hope Baptist Church.

CS 49 New Hope Baptist by Mm Inshaw

 

I looked up the address on Google and according to Streetview, the True Gospel Baptist Church is at that spot now. And just for my own records the SSL now is 0303-0052.  This page barely has any useful information, except the name of the then pastor Rev. Truman Dixon who lived on the premises at 1104 W Street NW.

1957 Church Survey: National City Christian- Random church not in Shaw

I know it has been a good long while since I’ve put out the church surveys, so here’s a quick refresher. So the city and other authorities conducted a survey of churches in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area, which was a precursor to the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area, which is just now known as Shaw. The thing is there was never a survey like this one ever conducted again. The survey included steeple churches, storefront churches and even little house churches. And the churches that did bother to answer most of the survey questions provide a wealth of demographic information.

Today’s church is National City Christian Church at Thomas and 14th Streets NW. It’s just outside the Shaw boundaries.

CS 61 National City Christian by Mm Inshaw

Looking at their survey response, in 1957 they were a large white middle class church with about 2000 members. Now looking at their website, they appear to be more multicultural as they have a 11AM Sunday worship service in Spanish.

It’s hard to say if they were a commuter church in 1957. About 40% lived in the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia, but half of the congregants lived somewhere in DC. Just not in the survey area, that was 10%. That makes sense as they were Downtown, and not a lot of people lived Downtown. Not did many of their congregants live in Shaw. But Dupont and the West End are sorta in walking distance.1957ChurchMap

 

Renovation #4- A new addition

What was renovation #4? I just wanted to add an addition over the top of my 1 story kitchen. Apparently that was too much to ask for. We needed an architect because, despite the fact we were not changing the footprint of the house, we needed one to deal with the fact we were almost 2% over FAR. So it was an addition and new windows.

So this was 2014 and we were planning to adopt. We wanted a little bit more space for a little one. So we contacted our contractor and he put us in contact with an architect. In this project architects do more than draw pictures and plans. This one went to DCRA with me to talk to whomever I needed to talk to so we’d be approved to build on top of the kitchen. Which seemed stupid to me, still does. But apparently my back yard wasn’t big enough.

A few houses up the block had expanded back, knocking down their rickety old 1 story kitchens and building up. We sort of wanted to do the same, but we couldn’t build as wide because of the basement entry. I figured that gave us some wiggle room. Wrong.

As you may remember, renovation #1 was the kitchen. I had no intentions of changing that. But things happen when you’re renovating. I knew the alley facing wall was crap and bound to tumble into dust at any moment. That we planned on replacing. But when they were tearing down that wall, the wall facing the basement entry crumbled down too. Surprise! On the plus side, we gained 6 inches of length and width when the old brick walls were replaced by frame walls. yay.

Entrance before
Entrance under construction

Then there are things that fell under, “well since we’re doing this we may as well do this other thing.” That was the entrance to the kitchen from the main house. The entrance was wider at the top and getting things into the kitchen required lifting things up. While the walls were opened up, we figured, why not widen the entrance and even out the width. We also decided, why not new windows? And when the guys removed the plaster from the wall the were about to tear down to extend the bedroom, I saw the beautiful exposed brick and wanted to keep it. So I kept it. All that probably added $20K to the bill.

Speaking of the final bill, it was $65K, not counting the architect. If you add those services, along with other fees and costs, it was about $80K. No one seems to account for renovations and the costs of updating properties when looking at why housing in the neighborhood costs more than 5- 10-20 years ago. Sometimes, it is not the same house.

I’ve enjoyed my term as owner of the house. I think I did right by it by improving where I could. But due to limits there were some things I didn’t do. Typically those limits were financial. I never did any work with the idea of making up for it in the eventual sale of the house. It was all for my comfort and I hope that it will be comfortable for the next set of owners.