Buy This House: 1616 4th St NW

So our longtime neighbors have moved and are selling their house. Since they bought the house they moved into (for more space w/ legit parking), they need to get their old one sold, pronto! So if you’re thinking about buying a house in the TC let me tell you about 1616 4th St NW by pointing out a few things. Also, there will be an artshow/ open house on Friday 12/6 at 5:30pm , where the current owner will be showcasing some of his art work.

Greenery in the city– The owners love growing things. They had plants inside and out. In the rear are several pine trees, that was so the owner could wake up and see green. In the front they grew tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, basil, and other edibles. They also have planted a Japanese maple, right now it isn’t looking too hot, but in the spring and fall it is lovely. Their small porch they had several small potted plants. There are exterior spigots in the front and back for easy watering.

Kids on the Block– There are kids on the block including my own. A lot of the daycare and pre-school set, mainly boys. When they are seen (they aren’t out hanging about) they are with their mommies and daddies in a stroller. We are in the boundary of Seaton Elementary School (Pre-K 3- 5th grade) which scores highly on Great Schools. There are several Seaton families on 4th St.  The Google group for parents is Bloomingdale Kids.

Awesome Commute?– Yes, depending on where you are going. On the other side of the block you can catch the G2 (LeDroit to Georgetown), and the 96 (Tenleytown).  A block or two away are the 90, G8 and G9 bus stops. A 10 minute walk for me is the Shaw-Howard metro station. It is between the Q and R street bike lanes and there are two Capital Bikeshare stations within a block (or two). I haven’t had to wait more than 6-8 minutes for an Uber. If you must drive, the entrance to I-395 is a few blocks down New Jersey Avenue. So plenty of options.

Walkable neighborhood– The Walkscore is 95. We walk almost everywhere. The Giant is about a 10-15 minute walk if you don’t want to catch the G2. ANXO, is so close you could walk home drunk, but please drink responsibly. Truxton Inn is close too but that requires crossing Florida Ave, so you still need your wits about you.

Great block– The 1600 block of 4th St is the best. Our unofficial block captain Brian keeps the sidewalks clean, along with help from other neighbors. If you move here introduce yourself to the blond giant from Chicago and get on the no drama block email list. It is a quiet street, except when a firetruck is roaring down New Jersey, but eventually you kind of ignore that.

1616 4th Street NW– Built circa 1872-1875 housing black laborers, it is modern and renovated. It has a few flourishes from the previous occupants, notably the interior windows in the front bedroom that allow for light to go down into stairwell. It is listed by Keller Williams Capital.

Who can buy this– Okay, let’s just address an elephant in the room. Yes, $750K is a lot of money. But a shell, a cursed shell mind you, several doors down sold for $625K in November. Most likely buyers would be a DINK, double income, no kids (yet) with professional jobs who sold their condo. Other possible buyers could be single adults who are getting assistance from family (grandma’s will, parent’s co-buying, divorce settlement, etc). A developer could buy it since we aren’t in a historic district and try something, but FAR and a near neighbor’s solar panels might limit that. Families on public assistance aren’t potential buyers. Even with a 20% down payment a 30 year mortgage with great credit is over $3,000 a month (including taxes & insurance). That is above what the voucher program allows in this neighborhood even if it were to be rented.

If you think you are going to be around DC for a while, I would encourage you to buy a condo (although I, myself, despise condos) because maybe you can upgrade later in life when you’ve become more established in your career. You can use the sale of that condo, plus savings, and you have to have savings, to buy something like 1616 4th St NW in the future.

No such thing as a bad school in DC

Dunbar2
Old Dunbar High School being demolished in 2013


Are there any bad public schools in DC?

I think there are but I don’t know if I really want to bother with petty fights with people who feel the need to defend failure. No one is free to say that since a school fails to have a decent bell curve of failing and excelling students and is skewed towards failure, that maybe it could be a bad school. Nor can you point to low in-boundary participation, the mismatch of demographics between the school and the neighborhood, and empty seats and say that people/parents are saying something in their actions.

Personally, I know that acknowledging problems is the first step to recovery and towards success. Doesn’t guarantee success, but it helps to stop the self-deception.

There are some great public schools in the District of Columbia, not all of them charters.  Shepherd Elementary School in upper northwest, does an awesome job of educating black boys. Over 70% of Shepard’s African American boys, between 2016-2019, approached, met and exceeded expectations on PARCC scores in math and ELA. Sadly, this is rare.

The number of schools where black boys fail to meet or even partially meet expectations are many. So many. Both charters and DCPS. But I’m not going to name them for they have their defenders.

I get it. Education is hard. There is a mix of building issues, the kinds of families (students and parents) a school attracts, the staff who come and stay, and the leadership. These need to be in balance. But you can’t fix the problem and try to figure out what is out of wack if you won’t even identify what is a bad school.

I’ll be exploring Shaw schools, and I will name names.

Black Businesses of 1968 Shaw: Personality Studio and Gift Shop

Another item from the “pile”, this is another post 1968 riot for a Shaw business. Carl R. Webb owned Personality Studio and Gift Shop at 1618 7th Street NW, Washington, DC, in Shaw. Currently that same location is for some medical supply store.
The store experienced extensive glass damage and theft. It appears the owner Mr. Webb, an African American man, decided to remain after the riot but was planning on changing his shop into a Ben Franklin store, a kind of five and dime.

1618 7thSt NW by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

Random Asian owned business in 1968 Shaw

Pulling another document from the “pile”.

This is a post 1968 riot survey filed by Shaw Foo Chin, owner of Bill’s Laundry and Dry Cleaning at 1718 14th Street NW. I have no clue who Bill is. Currently there is a Peregrine Espresso coffee shop there.

Mr. Chin seemed to be okay. Rioters smashed his sign and stole his customers’ dry cleaning. Mr. Chin reported that he conducted his own repairs.

1718 14th ST NW by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

1957 Church Survey: 3 Churches

The 1957 Church Survey of Northwest Urban Renewal Churches typically provides a lot of information. Sometimes it tells what the class and racial makeup of the church was in that period of time. And sometimes it is just bare bone location and public record info. Instead of having 3 separate posts for churches with bare bone info, I’m throwing them into one post.

Verbycke Spiritual Church

This church was at 1009 8th St NW, which no longer exists. A convention center sits on it now. Prior to the spiritualists getting to it, it was the Syrian Catholic Church.

CS 46 Verbycke Spiritual Ch… by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

People’s Seventh Day Baptist

Very confusing name. Easily confused with the Seventh Day Adventists. People’s Seventh Day Baptist was located at 2105 10th St NW. Supposedly there are supposed to be some condos there. But looking at a 2018 Google Street view of the place, there is an empty church and an empty lot.

CS 50 Peoples Seventh Day B… by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

Walker Memorial Baptist

Walker Memorial Baptist is located at 2018 13th Street NW.

CS 51 Walker Memorial Baptist by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

1957 Church Survey: Berean Baptist Church

I don’t know if the “Historic” Berean Baptist Church off Rhode Island Avenue NE in a building that looks like a bank, circa 1987, is in anyway related to this Berean Baptist Church, formerly at 2033 11th St NW. More than likely it’s the plain old Berean Baptist Church on Madison St. NW. The current residents are a different denomination, Christian Tabernacle Church of God. Reading their history the Church of God people got there maybe in 1974?

Anyway, the church in 1957 was black and the two current Berean Baptists are also black churches. A majority of the parishioners were professionals (34%), followed by white collar workers (26%), and then the next highest group were retirees (18%).  So I’m going to say this was a black middle class church.

CS 47 Berean Baptist by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

Black Businesses of 1968 Shaw: Morton’s Thrift Store

Morton’s Thrift Store was located at 1330-1332 7th Street NW. There are apartments there now, formerly the Immaculate Conception Apartments. The survey says the shop just got glass and smoke damage. However, a Washington Post image has a burned out building on the corner, so it must have been more towards the center of the block, in the current parking lot.

Anyway, in this survey conducted several months after the April 1968 riots, the business was still running and repairs had been made. But by then sales were down 60%. Knowing in general what happened to Shaw I don’t think business got any better.

The owner of Morton’s Thrift Store was Matthew Morton 1721 Jones Bridge Road in Chevy Chase, MD, and he was an African American. At least according to the survey.

Morton's Thift Store- 1… by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

 

1957 Church Survey: 12th Street Christian

0275-0053 So once again I dip into the 1957 Northwest Urban Renewal Area Church Survey, this time it is Twelfth Street Christian Church tucked back at 1812 12th Street NW.

Looking at the survey, it was a black church, still is, and very active. It was 50% white collar at the time of the survey, with the next biggest group being skilled labor.  When asked about relocating, the respondent wrote that they believed African Americans were still moving to the area, but if they had to relocate it would be to NE DC where the majority of their congregants lived. Yeah, this was a commuter church in 1957, and I guess it remains so in the current year.

CS 45 Twelfth Street Christian by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

1957 Church Survey: Grace Reformed

I know I haven’t posted one of these in a while. But for those of you joining us, this is from a survey of the Northwest Urban Renewal Area, which later got broken up into Downtown and Shaw, from 1957. It is like an awesome census of the churches in the area, from the steeple churches that one thinks of when thinking about what a church looks like, to storefront and house churches. There hasn’t been another survey like this since.

Anyway. This time up it is Grace Reformed Church, at 1405 15th St NW. It was a white church in 1957, and the current occupants Christ Reformed Church appears to be a predominately white congregation. In 1957, very few of the members lived in the NW Urban Renewal Area, a majority lived in other parts of NW DC and another chunk lived in the burbs. They were mainly white collar, dare I guess, middle class worshipers.

CS 60 Grace Reformed by Mm Inshaw on Scribd