Truxton Circle Population 1880-2010

So I was cleaning up and found this and decided to post this helpful table.

Truxton Circle Population 1880-2010
Year Total Black White Other/Asian Note
1880 1511 678 832 0
1900 4723 2438 2281 4
1910 6801 2232 4565 4
1920 7234 3008 4221 6 4-Chinese
1- Japanese
1- White/Chinese
1930 6175 4455 1712 6 All Chinese
1940 8244 6519 1718 4 Note: 3 Japanese
1 Chinese
Total also 8244
1950 7720 6186 1511 23
1960 6789 6716 58 15
1970 5830 5768 21 41 2 yrs post riot
1980 3349 3249 61 39
1990 3623 3347 189 87
2000 2997 2713 103 181
2010 3028 1964 816 248

Source: US Census

 

Black Homeowners of 3rd Street – 1940 No covenants

It has been a while since I looked at the Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle. I stopped because I got stuck on a mystery and I’m just going to have to let it go. I will never know who the mystery man was and that’s okay. I’m going back to the Black homeowners because of on-line conversations with Richard Layman and things I’ve been reading about redlining and restrictive covenants.

Old City, DC Police districts

In my own research, I have not seen any restrictive covenants. I believe it is a thing that would be found outside of the L’Enfant planned city and in Washington County, those areas north of Florida Avenue. Mt. Pleasant, Trinidad, and Bloomingdale are the creations of developers who could put in those restrictions. So if you lived in Old City, the likelihood that your fee simple house (apt buildings could be a different thing) had a racial restriction would be low.

When looking at the property records, I have tried to make heads or tails out of them, but they are beyond me for now. I’ll see person X seem to transfer to person Y , then years later Z shows up with X. With E.L. Haynes who owned my house and several other properties in Truxton Circle and DC, she was able to borrow money for her rental properties. The financial details are in her papers at Catholic U’s archive and not so much with the Recorder of Deeds. Anywho, Black people managed to borrow money from somewhere to purchase real estate. Banks practicing redlining weren’t the only game in town.

Below is a table with data from the 1940 census, I’ve had to cut a lot out so it could fit, but know they are all for 3rd Street, they are all owners and African American.

House # Surname First name Age Marital Status School Occupation Industry Income
1311 King Cornelius 59 M H-4 Casterman US Printing Office $1,859
1335 Brown Hillary I 40 M 7 Janitor Apt house $936
1337 Turner Anna 37 M H-1 Waitress Tea room $320
1413 Taylor Emma 46 M H-3  $-
1415 Mudd Harry 60 M 8 Machinists helper Railroad Terminal  $1,900
1429 Aiken James W 48 M H-4 Waiter Hotel  $520
1430 Neal Victoria V 69 W H-4  $-
1431 Anderson Ada 79 W 6  $-
1538 Fitch Lula 45 M H-2
1542 Green William M 40 M H-1 Laborer Gov’t Printing Office $1,320
1544 Williams Augustus A 56 M C-5 Dentist Private Practice $2,000
1546 Brooks Walter A 54 M C-3
1548 Chisley Sadee 62 W 6
1550 Blackwell James 45 M 0 Cement Finisher Cement Contractor $960
1554 Taylor Walter J 65 M 8
1617 Contee Grant 63 M 0 Preacher Ministry  $-
1626 Cobbs Ferrel 45 M H-1 Messenger Interior Dept  $1,260
1628 Coleman Edward 60 M 8 Messenger Veterans’ Bureau  $1,500
1629 Jenkyns Jerome S 61 M C-8 Machinist U.S. Government  $2,245
1630 Marsell William 50 M 8 Custodian Bureau – Standards  $1,140
1649 Heywood Spencer 50 M C-1 Barber Barber Shop  $900
1634 Ford Laura 54 S 4  $-

I highlighted 1649 3rd Street, because that was my hang up, but I’m letting go, letting go. Instead I need to figure out how to make a decent table. This doesn’t seem like a long list, but remember in urban areas, more people are renters.

The owners on 3rd Street NW are varied. There are government workers, widow women, skilled labor and an educated professional. The youngest is Anna Turner, a 37 year old waitress at 1337 3rd St NW. She lived with her son and a female lodger, a teacher, the eldest a 79 year old widow Ada Anderson.

Truxton Black History Link- Dunbar Cadet Corps

Right now the Library of Congress website is being very uncooperative. They have photographs of Dunbar High School girl cadets from the 1940s. So instead I’m going to link to someone else’s old blog post about the boys’ cadet corps circa 1950-1960.

It’s a pretty good post with photos from the Dunbar High School year book describing what the cadet corps did and their history. The author, Marion Woodfork Simmons,  said that the cadet corps was the precursor to the JROTC. My niece is in the JROTC at our (I & her mom – my sister- went there too) Florida high school. She’s interested in the Navy. Anwho, it seems Dunbar still has an JROTC program.

Black Home Owners of 1940: Let’s clean up some data

Disclaimer: This has been sitting in drafts for a year. I forgot what was wrong with it. I’m gonna roll the dice and publish it.

 

So I have a goal to create a big ole spreadsheet of all the residents for all the censuses. Buuuuuut I need to clean up the data. The problem with the Census is sometimes I swear some of the enumerators were raging alcoholics who couldn’t find a job doing anything else. The census data is not pure, nor perfect. Sometimes a person’s only appearance is in the census, but sometimes they’ll appear elsewhere. They’ll be men who had to sign up for the draft, or business people or others who appear in city directories, and for owners after 1921 they’ll be in the Recorder of Deeds website.

So I’m going to look at homeowners who’s square or address has a question mark. These people are Clarence Washington of 126 FL Ave NW, Raymond Montgomery of 121 , Rudolph Blake of 137, Joseph Gibson of 136 Bates St NW, Florence Glover of 109 Q St NW, Jerome S. Jenkyns of 1641, John Lattimer of 1464, Roscoe Patrick, and Laura Ford of 1684 3rd St NW.

I located Clarence Washington on Square 551 lot 172. Now the problem is, that lot no longer exists. The Florida Avenue park sits there. It looks like he’s at 126 FL Ave NW, where previously he might have been at 124. It was unclear. Looking at the records, he obtained his property on September 14, 1935 with a 6% loan from National Savings and Trust Company. He appears to have been single at the time of purchase. He and his wife Clara (listed in the 1940 census) sold the house in April 1948.

Raymond Montgomery had purchased a fair amount of property, well at least someone with that name did so. Just looking at square 552 he owned lot 152, and in the current year that lot’s address is 123 P St NW. So not 121 Bates St NW as I had him in my data. Then a widower in February 1938 he bought the property. According to a October 1965 deed selling the house to a Lucille Baskin, Raymond died February 4, 1959 leaving his wife Estella a widow.

Rudolph S. Blake is another popular name for a property holder. Once again just focusing on Truxton Circle I can pin him down to Sq. 552 lot 159 (137 P St NW) starting in 1925 with his wife Ida B. She sells the property in 1948 after Rudolph as died.

Joseph and wife Novella Gibson are a problem. They are associated with property on squares 551 and 552. The documents for 551 appear to be an outlier as it is concerning a party wall between 213 and 215 Q St NW (Sq 551 lots 7 & 8). I believe they probably lived on square 552 on lot 206, currently 136 Bates St NW. February 1926 Joseph and wife “Navalla” obtain 136 Bates with a $2,250 loan at 6% APR with monthly payments of $30. The Gibsons sell in 1965 to Barney and Henrietta Weitz.

It appears widow Florence O. Glover buys 109 Q St NW, which no longer exists, in 1925. By the sale of the property to the DL & W company in 1957, it seems she is dead. A Florence Glover is deceased as mentioned in the deed, but her daughter was also named Florence Glover, so there is confusion there. And there are more than half a dozen Glovers mentioned on the document. Please don’t leave property to more than 2 unmarried (sans spouses) relatives, it’s really confusing.

Jerome and Ellena Jenkyns bought their home 1629 3rd St NW in 1922, if the records are correct. Once again this is another property that no longer exists. The property was sold in 1972 to the Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA) by the heirs. The document listed Jerome dying around about May 24, 1965 and Ellena dying around May 8, 1948.

 

 

Black Home Owners of 1930-1934: Sq 551 Ethel Thomas

I kinda stopped looking at black homeowners when I hit a problem I’ll call the widow Ethel. Ethel Thomas (nee Heywood) was a widow after 1934 when her husband Sanders Thomas passed away. In the 1940 census she was shacked up with some guy she, or someone, told the census was her husband. But there is no record (I could find) that she remarried.

Recently some images of records came available and they really don’t clear up the tale of Ethel, since it occurs around about the time of her husband’s death. I strongly doubt that I will find out who was her mystery man.

Landowner list of Sq 551Square 551, which is bounded by 3rd, Q, 1st, Florida Avenue and R Streets NW, is quite big. Since Destructo-kid has become mobile, very mobile, I’ve had zero time to get back to data clean up. But every so often some new data pops up, and it is just a question of can I do something with it.

If I were free to get around to looking at the owners, I’d look at 1900. That period saw an explosion of growth and building in Truxton Circle, so I could look and see who were the builders building for by looking at the 1902-1903 owners. Then if possible, compare with the census.

So a guy died in my house….. in 1882

Private Tom Lawler was a cop. An Irish cop. One Saturday November evening in 1882 he went into work at the Sixth Precinct. But as his shift went on he started complaining of chills and was sent home around 10PM. A doctor was called but an hour later he died.

He probably died in the vicinity of where we sleep now.

Does this freak me out? No.

It’s been 137 frickin years for one. Two, I have the ashes of a dead woman on my bookcase, and I’d really like her not to be there gathering more dust. Nobody wants their mother in law hovering over them. But I digress.

Here is what I know about this former resident. He was captured in the 1880 Census as Thomas Lawlor, then aged 50. He lived with his wife Ellen, then 30 and their two children Mary (19) and Daniel (12). Mary and Danny were 2 of the 4 kids I know of. They were the only white people on that side of square 509E, if Irish immigrants in the 19th century count as such. Prior to living near 4th and Q NW they lived at K & New Jersey Avenue. When he was appointed as a law man in 1867, a letter of recommendation mentioned he had a large family and that he was a good man. His application said that he didn’t drink. Here I shrug, maybe. Because later in his personnel file (early DC cops have personnel files) he was in a home on North Capitol between P and O Sts (Yay, Truxton Circle) where a grocery was kept (whatever that means) when he wasn’t supposed to be there. This also happened in November, 1880. November was not a good month for Tommy the Cop.

Truxton Circle Property Owners, 1933

Okay the pages for Squares 507 to 510 East are crap. But the pages for Squares 519-521, 550-555, 614-618 and 668-670 (the NE Truxton) are readable.

What is it?

The National Archives has images of some of their stuff in their catalog. So I pulled out parts that pertained to Truxton Circle, here (for a better image of sq. 507-510E), and here. This is just more evidence for the history of Truxton Circle. If I (or someone else, hint, hint) decide to cross reference this list of property owners with a city directory or the 1930 Census, we could see who were landlords and who were homeowners. All sorts of questions could crop up from the data.

Anyway, here’s the pdf.

Truxton Circle 1933 Property Owners by Mm Inshaw on Scribd


 

Same old house, new and improved and expensive

A minor irritation I have with some essays on gentrification and housing is a complete failure to acknowledge investment and disinvestment in physical structures.

This is an August 2004 PropertyQuest picture of 1504 3rd Street NW. I have an earlier one from 2003.150X3rdSt.jpg

Anyway, it sold in August for $765,000. According to the data on Redfin, it sold in 1991 for $76,750. Between 2001-2006 this shell of a house kept getting listed and delisted. I’m not going to do any in-depth research to determine if it changed hands in that period, but in December 2006 it sold for $250,000. Then in 2007 it sold for about $450K, by this time it had definitely been renovated. This year it came back on the market and sold in the mid $700K range.

When someone takes this house and other houses in the neighborhood and just sees prices, what are they thinking? Do they think the rise in price is just arbitrary and an effort to keep lower-income households priced out?

What I witnessed was investment coming into the neighborhood. That house in 2003-2004 was a shell, unfit for human habitation. That was a result of disinvestment when it wasn’t worth it for the owner to maintain the structure.  Shaw had experienced a lot of disinvestment. After the riots in 1968, many businesses didn’t return. Some residents and landlords just abandoned the neighborhood because it wasn’t worth the money to them to fix the damage.

To take a shell from being unfit to being desirable takes capital, investment. Someone paid to buy cabinetry, flooring, windows, paint, drywall, electrical wires, PVC pipes, HVAC system, framing, appliances, and a roof. Plus the labor to install these things. Having renovated my house and another property, I can say this is not cheap. At the very least $100K went into making the house livable.

Well the house was already renovated by 2007, can I justify the $300K-$400K price hike between 2007 and 2019? I can’t tell if the rear deck was already there, but it was the neighborhood that changed in the period that made it more valuable. What happened between 2007 and now? Big Bear, a few blocks away opened up. Then the Bloomingdale Farmers Market about a year later. Nightly gunshots became less of a thing. There are a handful of sit down restaurants within walking distance, 3 that have had or have Michelin mentions. Two with 1 Michelin star within, biking…longer walking distance. Also, other houses in the neighborhood have been renovated and owners have a financial incentive to maintain their properties. But does that justify the price increase? How much is a safer (2019 TC is way safer than 2004 TC) neighborhood worth? How much is it worth to have places to take friends/dates that are a nice stroll back to your place? Schools have improved, and as a parent, it is worth a few thousand to have a plethora of Pre-K choices in walking distance.  As a homeowner, there is a disappointing difference between what you can refinance and what is a possible sales price. The improvements in the neighborhood have allowed us to refinance the house to fix it up, but the value to bank says the house is worth was much, much lower than what was selling around us. But all that is meaningless if all you care about is keeping the price of housing down.