Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Mary Armistead -1223 NJ Ave NW

This is part of a long series of posts about African Americans who were home owners in the Truxton Circle neighborhood.

In the 1920 census Mary Armistead is listed as a doctor. According to the census she lived at 1223 New Jersey Ave NW with her cousin Mary E. Griffin, a widowed teacher, Sarah Tolliver, another widowed cousin, and boarders, the Martin family and Ester AB Popel.

photo of property

There aren’t a lot of land records for this property. The first record is a release from 1923, listing Mary E. Armistead and her cousin Mary E. Griffin as joint tenants. The release was for an August 1917 debt with a trustee. The next record is a 1951 trust. From the document we are told Mary E. Griffin was deceased (and we can assume so is the unnamed Mary E. Armistead) and Mabel A. Griffin Lewis was the owner. Ms. Griffin-Lewis borrowed $3000 from the National Savings and Trust Company. Griffin-Lewis died and her executor Beulah J Murphy sold the property in 1978.

According to the 1919 city directory, Mary Armistead was a midwife and the widow of Howard M. Armistead (former Government Printing Office worker). According to FindaGrave her obit read as:

Evening Star
Washington, DC
30 Aug 1934

ARMISTEAD, MARY E. On Tuesday. August 28, 1934, at her residence, 1223 New Jersey ave, n.w.. MARY E. ARMISTEAD, widow of Howard M. Armistead, devoted sister of J. Randolph Minor and James L. Minor, cousin of Mary E Griffin. She is also survived by many other relatives and friends. Remains resting at the John T. Rhines funeral chapel. 3rd and Eye sts. s.w., until Thursday evening: thereafter at her late residence. Funeral Friday, August 31, at 1 pm. from Israel C M E. Church, New Jersey ave. and Morgan st..n.w. Interment Woodlawn Cemetery.

In the 1910 census she was working in the medical field in Obstetrics and living at 1320 Montello Ave NE (Sq. 4064 lot 0037) in a house she owned. So back to the land records to see what other properties she owned and I found 317 10th St SE (Sq. 0945 lot 0823/007) in the Eastern Market area.

If she used her maiden name as a middle initial she could be the same Mary M. Armistead who is listed as a registered midwife in the Report of the Health Officer By District of Columbia. Health Department · 1895 working out of 1343 K St SE.

Sorry this post is all over the place. I went down the wrong rabbit hole chasing this woman.

no Twitter with current id

1957 Church Survey: Church of Ascension and St. Agnes

When I last visited Ascension & St. Agnes, many years ago, it was an Episcopal church offering a high church service. It is located at 1215 Massachusetts Ave NW.  It’s in Mt. Vernon Sq, but I’m going to count it as a Shaw church.

Anywho, this church was part of the 1957 Church Survey for a urban renewal area that got broken into other parts, such as Downtown and Shaw. To learn more about the 1957 Church Survey read my previous posts, The Uniqueness of the 1957 Church Survey and Church Survey Northwest Urban Renewal Area October 1957.

It was pretty much a White church when I visited and was so in 1957. It’s parish boundaries were pretty much that of the map above, but they said they drew their membership from all over the metro area, as the greatest bulk came from Maryland and Virginia.

CS-33-Church of Ascension a… by Mm Inshaw

 

 

1957 Church Survey: Miles Memorial CME- Rando church outside of Shaw

The address, 1110 3rd St NW where this church sat doesn’t exist anymore. Miles Memorial Church CME, currently sits at 501 N St NW, in Shaw. To learn more about the 1957 Church Survey read my previous posts, The Uniqueness of the 1957 Church Survey and Church Survey Northwest Urban Renewal Area October 1957.

The former location of this church appears to be some spot behind the Bible Way church…. a church also in the 1957 Church Survey, but I hadn’t gotten to it.

The pastor, Rev. Raymond L. Calhoun, lived at 210 N St NW, in that spot where Truxton Circle and Mt. Vernon Square are the same. I wonder if he’ll show up in my studies.

Then like now, it was a Black American church. Most of the other information was kind of vague. So I’m just going to post it.

CS 25 Miles Memorial CME by Mm Inshaw

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

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: John Robinson

Going back to the 1920 Census our next Black American home owner is John Robinson, a 34 year old cook who lived at 1417 New Jersey Avenue NW.  He lived there with his wife Annie B., their 7 year old daughter Dorothy M., his brother Sam, and his widowed aunt-in-law Belle Pryor.

John W Robinson
Credit: JKROBIN3571 originally shared this on 30 Nov 2010 via Ancestry.com

Because of the amazingness of Ancestry.com, we have a photo of Mr. Robinson. This is a nice reminder that these people who I write about were real people who lived in Truxton Circle and who are our neighbors from the past.

On March 14, 1885 John Robinson was (probably) born in King William County, Virginia to John B. Robinson and Oney Smith. He was still in Virginia, as a school boy in 1900. By the 1910 census he appears in Washington, DC living as a lodger with J Walker Robinson at 1222 4th St NW and working as a cook in a cafe.

In 1911 Continue reading Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: John Robinson

1957 Church Survey: Third Baptist Church

I’m posting this church survey earlier than I had planned because of a Black Home Owners of TC post that I plan to put up and I wanted this to be available. This is the 1957 Church Survey for the Northwest Urban Renewal Area. It was probably the one spot for in depth information about individual churches, big and small, in Shaw, and a little bit outside of Shaw. This post is about the Third Baptist Church at 1546 5th St NW.

 

photo of property
This was the church of a previous Black Home Owner of Truxton Circle, Officer James S. Boswell who had long since died before this survey was done. But let’s take a look.

CS 19 Third Baptist by Mm Inshaw

Third Baptist was and still is an African American church. In 1957 it reported to have 600 members of which a majority lived in the NW Urban Renewal Area. However there was a mention that members were moving from NW and Georgetown to NE DC. They didn’t report any numbers for their occupational distribution, saying that there were many white collar workers and the majority were unskilled manual workers.

1957 Church Survey: Holy Trinity

Well this will be a quickie as it is a church from the 1957 Church Survey that provides no information. To learn more about the 1957 Church Survey read my previous posts, The Uniqueness of the 1957 Church Survey and Church Survey Northwest Urban Renewal Area October 1957.

Holy Trinity sat at 1618 11th Street NW, square 309, lot 817. It’s not there anymore.

CS 38 Holy Trinity by Mm Inshaw

1957 Church Survey- Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church

This is part of a series where I look at churches that were surveyed in the 1957 Northwest Urban Renewal Area Church Survey. No other survey has been done since.

Mount Olivet Lutheran Church
Credit: Josh – https://www.flickr.com/photos/ncindc/


Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church sat at 1308 Vermont Ave NW in Logan Circle. In 1957 it was one of the two predominately African American Lutheran churches in the city. It’s current address is 1306 Vermont Ave NW.

So what was Mt. Olivet like in 1957? It had about 700 members who were mostly white collar workers. A small percentage of members lived in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area (see map above).  In the document below, it shows that 85% lived in the rest Continue reading 1957 Church Survey- Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church

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