George Basiliko Keeps Showing Up in My Truxton Circle Property Searches Pt 2

When we last left I was looking at an Evening Star article in 1959 about George B. Basiliko’s plans to rehabilitate several Truxton Circle homes. The thing that caught my eye was that these homes were the subject of a post-Home Rule later rehabilitation project that was to take place in the Marion Barry years.

I decided to expand my research to the Washington Post and the Post calls Basiliko a slum lord. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to 1959 and what the Evening Star said.

The October 3, 1959 article, Basiliko, with the help of of the Perpetual Building Association was supposed to rehabilitate 125 units. Several of those units in Truxton Circle. His target areas were specifically the 100 block of O St NW, the 100-200 blocks of Q and Bates Streets NW, the 200 block of P St and outside of the TC but in Shaw the 400 block of Warner. Despite the press, he did Jack.

The more I got into the Washington Post and Evening Star, I don’t know if disgusted or overwhelmed would describe it. Because it opened up a Pandora’s box relating to greater Shaw’s slum history. He profited off it. His target renters were African Americans. When he was found guilty of 8,000 housing violations, Basiliko and the city hashed out a deal. The Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA) bought many of his Shaw properties. And as far as I could tell he avoided jail time.

The Truxton Circle houses he sold to RLA were 47 row houses on Bates Street, 8 on P St, 9 on Q, and 8 on 3rd. He also sold one house on French Street and 33 properties on the block bounded by 8th, 9th, S and T Streets, in Shaw. It appears the money RLA used came from HUD.

One of those P street houses was probably 229 P St NW. It was featured in an article about the 8,000 housing violations. There were holes in the ceiling and the walls. There was defective wiring, plumbing, rotted stairs and missing doorknobs.

The RLA paid Basiliko $1.1 million in 1970 for 106 Shaw properties. What RLA did or didn’t do, is another story for another time.

 

George Basiliko Keeps Showing Up in My Truxton Circle Property Searches Pt 1

So I as I go through the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle series, I keep running across the name George Basiliko in the transactions. Him and his wife Sophia. He has shown up with with Harry Brown, Arthur B. McKinney and John Robinson in real estate transactions.

So who was George Basile Basiliko? He was born in Washington, DC to Basil (Basile) Stergin Basiliko a Greek immigrant, and Calliope Papazoglis (Papasoglou) Basiliko a Greek-Turkish immigrant on January 14, 1917.

In 1929 it appears the family lived at 50 Randolph Place NW in Bloomingdale. The father Basil was a contractor with a business address at 600 E St NW. In 1930, Basil was a merchant and owner of a cigar business and the family lived at 54 P St NE in NE Truxton Circle (some times I acknowledge that part of the TC).

He graduated Langley Junior High in 1933. Married Sophia Cokenias, also a child of Greek immigrants, in June 1947.

At the age of 26, he and his brother Nick Basiliko were charged with operating a “disorderly house” in April 1943. The house in question being the Logan Hotel at 912 N St NW. He received his real estate license, using 912 N St NW as an office in July of 1943. The Basiliko brothers were cleared of charges in the disorderly house case in September of that year by a municipal judge and the Evening Star said the hotel was at 13th and Logan Circle. December 1943, the United States Attorney’s Office kept pursuing the case because the house raid involved 100 police officers. The Evening Star restated the location of the hotel at 13th and Logan Circle, and George’s address being on the 6200 block of 8th St NW. In a 1944 Evening Star article, the police raid was reported as being on September 1942 and only 70 police involved.

After that brush with the law, his appearances in the Evening Star were classified ads advertising commercial real estate and trust notes. At some time in the 1950s he moved his office to 1113 Eye (I) Street NW. But staying out of trouble didn’t last long.

The Basiliko name popped up again regarding an investigation and court case regarding Route 240 and the claim of defrauding the Maryland State Roads Commission in 1953. Several Basiliko family members were named, including George, and a man named Ben Du Pre, who was the main target. Looking at Basiliko v State, this thing dragged on through the late 1950s.

In the Home and Real Estate section (B section) of the October 3, 1959 issue of the Evening Star, there is an article about rehabilitating properties in Truxton Circle, particularly Bates Street, in an article, “Some Plain Words About City Decay” by Robert J. Lewis. The article noted how George Basiliko “bought a lot of rundown properties” and was in the process of rehabbing them with assistance of the Perpetual Building Association, another familiar name to the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle series.

I want to dig into this article a bit more so I will do that in part 2, as it deals with so many TC homes.

Sources: Continue reading George Basiliko Keeps Showing Up in My Truxton Circle Property Searches Pt 1

Crank File- Rita Raymond of 1514 5th St NW

I’ve been holding on to this file out of respect for the ‘crank’ in the file. The crank was Rita Raymond, also known as Carolyn Phillips, aka Mary Dorn, aka Carolyn Mullen. I’m going to guess she’s dead by now. In 1948 she was arrested and released to the custody of her father. The next year, 1949 she was charged with petit larceny, so I’ll assume she was an adult. It’s 2021, she should be dead by now.

Rita Raymond’s Rap Sheet

At one point in time Rita lived at 1514 5th St NW and going by the name Mrs. Carolyn Phillips. She wrote a letter in 1963 from this address complaining about other people, including a woman who lived in her building. It seems that in 1963, this house (now worth over a million) was a rooming house.

When I first read this I thought she was a busybody neighbor. But as I read her file and saw her rap sheet (above), I realized she was suffering from mental illness. Continue reading Crank File- Rita Raymond of 1514 5th St NW

Beware of Ginger Man: A Story of Death and Sex

I was flipping through my computer files looking for something and came across a Washington Star clipping from 1878. It seems I was looking for articles mentioning George Glorius, Glorious George, of Sq. 519 in Truxton Circle. George plays a bit part in the article.

The article is about a case involving the death of a young woman who lived at 229 Q St. NW (another TC address that no longer exists) who died after getting an abortion. The article, titled “Poor Sophie Major. The mournful story of her seduction and death.” is just as click baity as mine. This was 1878, and the term yellow journalism had yet to be coined.

The red head, or ginger, in this story is John W. Hurley, a gas fitter and plumber who worked at 925 Massachusetts Ave NW….. another address that no longer exists. In the article he’s described as “tall, slender, red-haired young man, said to be somewhat “wild” in his habits….” He’s the guy who got Ms. Olivia Sophie Major pregnant. The unnamed newspaper author wrote, “Such as termination of the life of one fitted to adorn life and to be a useful member of society, seems very hard, especially when it is known that her seducer walked the streets of Washington last night unharmed by the avenging hand of retributive justice, unimpeded by the process of the law. There are crimes quite as foul as that murder, and in the eye of Heaven John W. Hurley’s soul is not free from a stain as deep of a hue of crimson.”  They published his name, where he worked, his red hair, do you think the paper was trying to rile up a mob against him? He walked the street unharmed by retributive justice, as if calling to the reader to go out and harm Mr. Hurley in the name of justice. His crime? Knocking up Olivia Sophie Major (1859-1878) and not marrying her. There was another mention in the article hinting at a desire for violence against him.

It seems Ms. Major was seen by several doctors. Continue reading Beware of Ginger Man: A Story of Death and Sex

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

Help police find hate crime “person of interest”

As reported in the Washington Blade three gay men were horribly beaten on the 1400 block of P Street NW on Halloween. Police would like to find the person seen in the footage below. This person has not a been described as a suspect, and even if they were, “innocent until proven guilty” and all that jazz.

No one else is going to say it, so I’m going to say it. With so many attacks on white gay men by black persons (mostly men), it seems the city is saying it’s open season on white (and passing as white) gay men. When you read about a hate crime happening in DC there is some fantasy that it’s being carried out by Bloomingdale nazis or white guys in MAGA hats, because whoever is reporting it won’t dare mention the race of the perpetrators who kicked and beat the victims.

It is open season on white guy men because you and I know even if the suspects were charged with the crime, the number of hate crime convictions is measly compared to arrests…. if those arrests actually are made. And the reason for that is the standard in a court of law is higher than the standard needed for arrests…. the few arrests that actually get made.

So to my white gay neighbors, of which there are several, be safe out there. You are in charge of your safety.

Black Businesses of 1968 Shaw: Delaney’s Pool Room

Okay the only reason why I know this was a black owned business is because of the survey the government conducted right after the April 1968 riots. They asked business and property owners in the riot corridors about their race and those who bothered responding, self reported their race. Or not.

Anyway, John Delaney owned a pool room at 1720 7th Street NW, where a post riot building currently sits. He did not suffer any fire damage. Instead he got a lot of broken glass and some things were stolen. It is unknown if he put “Soul Brother” on his shop to keep it from getting torched.

Delaney’s Pool Room Post Riot Survey by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

I don’t know if I’ll make this a series, like the 1957 Church Surveys, but who knows. My reason for posting this is to show that history is messy. The present is messy. There is no clean narrative where you can say, there were no black businesses in the Shaw ghetto. There were. There were plenty of black owned businesses, and some of them got hit by rioters. Some closed shop, and some, like Delaney thought Shaw was a perfectly fine neighborhood to do business.

Wrong perp for the crime

I went to the impromptu August 7th ANC 5E meeting at Friendship 7th Day Adventist and there was something at the meeting that’s been bugging me. Nope. It wasn’t the ABRA case invovling Pub and the People.

Nope.

The thing that’s been bugging me is Robert Brannum’s resolution that he included in the meeting packet, to be voted on at a later date by the 5E ANC. I’ve embedded the proposal below:

Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5E Resolution No 2019 by Mm Inshaw on Scribd


One of the things that bugs me (and it a very tiny bug) is that the focus is on non-local incidents by non-local perps/ white supremacists. The beauty of the ANC system is that it is HYPER-local. It is about things occuring in the immediate neighborhood. In walking distance. This is not local.

A larger bug is the fact that crimes against gay men in Shaw and transgender women in NE have not been allegedly commited by white supremists. In April 2018, a gay couple was brutally beaten on the 2200 block of 10th St NW. From the grainy video, it looks like they were attacked by 3 black guys. A few months ago, a gay man, with his boyfriend was beaten very badly by a group of teens on the 1300 block of U St NW. Two teens are juviniles so no info there but the “adult” was a 19 year old Marcus Britt of Fort Washington, MD. That’s in PG County, bet money he’s of African descent. They were not charged with a hate crime. The alleged killer of a Black trans woman killed near the DC border (that’s what Eastern Avenue is) is not white.

Did you know fewer than half of LGBT hate crime arrests in DC are dismissed? Eleanor Holmes Norton enquired about that.

Sadly, the message the city and this resolution is indirectly saying is that if you are Black, you have a license to beat up people in the LGBT community in DC. It would help if the resolution denounced hate crimes commited by anyone, even teenage POCs.

Crime of Opportunity- Just a few seconds

I have a superpower, it is finding money on the ground. I cannot summon money, it would be absolutely awesome if I could. This superpower comes from constantly scanning the ground. I’m looking for poop, so I can avoid stepping in it. And while I’m keeping an eye out for poop, and spit, I’ll see money, or a SmartTrip card with money on it.

I also spot other things.

This weekend I spotted a purse, with a cell phone sticking out sitting on the sidewalk. It was next to an SUV, where a mother was doing something on the opposite side (out of view of her purse) on the 1500 block of 7th St NW. Her husband was about 2 car lengths away for some reason. He showed up when we pointed out to her that her purse was just… sitting there. I spotted the purse ahead as we walked past Compass Coffee. She waved off our concerns. This is why I don’t say things or point things out to people. Y’all obviously don’t care that if I’ve noticed that you left your car keys or house keys in the lock, or your laptop in the backseat (seriously people stop leaving your electronics in your car) or left your bike unlocked (yes, you’re popping in for one second). But if I’ve noticed, someone else who is more willing to walk off with your (keys, laptop, bike) stuff has too.

Yes, you are just leaving it there for a second. But it doesn’t take long for a young pair of legs to run off with it.