Random History- Accident at New Jersey and R St NW 1980

So this is random.

First page of Lawsuit
Civil Action No80-2789

So I was going through some court cases, don’t ask why and happened to have noticed this thing. It is a lawsuit for a traffic accident that occurred at New Jersey Ave and R St NW on the border of Truxton Circle.

According to the first page at around noon on October 14, 1980 A Ms. Hodges was trying to turn onto R Street from New Jersey Avenue NW when she claims that a van for Budget Lock and Key hit her and sent her into the northbound lane of traffic.

This is not news, and it is questionable if it is history. But if there is a friggin plaque on the 1500 block of 4th Street documenting a one time rec center, heck I can write about a traffic accident.

The notable thing about this case is that there are depositions, oral histories of sorts,  and one is from someone from the mosque on 4th Street. I glanced over that deposition and I’m not sure what he had to add to the case. The problem with some voices from the past is that they don’t always have anything all that interesting to say.

319 R St NW- There can be a way forward with a turret

So last week I saw the good news from Scott Roberts that the ANC 5E voted to oppose the raze permit application for 319 R St NW.

319 R St NWSince I’m not a house historian I’ll quickly mention 319 R and most of the houses on that block are Wardmans built around 1902-1903, by developer Harry Wardman and his architect Nicholas R. Grimm. My interest is that it at one point housed members the Glorius family, who had owned the whole block and lived there in the late 19th Century. So the house is special in that way. It is also special because it is a corner house.

From what I can remember from the October 2016 BACA meeting the developers wanted to get rid of the turret on this building, among other things. The other things, like placing the entrance on the 4th St side, thus changing windows and doors, and putting on an extra floor, I actually have no problem with that. It’s getting rid of the turret that I have a problem with. Development has been done before, on this very block, a floor added and a turret kept.

Back in 2009, I and resident of the 1700 blk of 4th St, John, fought to preserve a look for that block as the owner wanted to add a 3rd floor and obliterate the roof (with the turret) and replace it with something pitched and very suburban looking. I’ll admit the turret wasn’t the focus, preventing an ugly az popup was, as this was the time of horrible pop ups, popping up in the neighborhood.

100_0768.JPGThis is what 1721 4th Street NW (the blue/gray building) looked like in 2009.

The shorter building to the left is the dry cleaners, and to the right that gap between the buildings is now gone and something plain and brick resides there now.

I never had images of what the owner had suggested to the BZA. But imagine an extra floor and a “decorative” upside down ‘V’ of a roof, like you’d see in suburban Maryland on top. It was ugly.

The owner had to go to BZA because this property was well over 62% of its lot occupancy. Unfortunately Jim Berry was no longer our ANC because he had moved/retired, and our ANC at the time (now city councilperson) was too trusting of the system so this fight was hard. Berry was there with neighbors at BZA hearing with the development on Richardson Place NW.  The ANC then, not so much, and there were fewer neighbors up in arms to fight the owner’s ugly proposal.

Popup on 4thLong story short, we prevailed and it was win-win.  The owner got more square footage and an extra floor. We got something that looked good and was not an ugly as F* popup. Yes, the turret is absorbed into the house, but it isn’t too out of place.

I believe that there can be a win-win with this developer. They can get an extra floor and new entrances (I dunno about parking, that’s another ball of wax) without destroying the turret.  That block will probably see more development in the future and we’ve set a path for how that can look, I just hope the new people follow.

 

Postscript- Yes, I know of this thing called historic districts. I oppose that for my own neighborhood. With historic districts we wouldn’t get such interesting houses like the Darth Vader house that just sold for a million dollars, or the interesting Ditto condos. Yes, we wouldn’t get the monstrosities on P Street, but there is enough good to outweigh the bad, you just have to be vigilant.

 

So Truxton? Shaw? Bloomingdale? Where the hell am I?

Commercial Building Map
Map of Shaw for 1970 Commercial Buildings

So this comes up way too often. So that’s why I decided with this re-boot (messy as it is) that I would call the In Shaw blog Truxton is in Shaw, because it is.

Here is the quick and dirty and maybe in later posts I’ll go deeper.

Bloomingdale is on the other side of Florida Ave, which used to be Boundary Street in the 18th century. Why Boundary Street? Because it was the boundary between the city of Washington and the county of Washington, in the District of Columbia. Bloomingdale, lovely as it is, was/is a suburban neighborhood, in the then county.

Shaw. I have yet, to find ANYTHING, anything calling the area we know as Shaw as “Shaw” prior to the late 1950s, and even then it was called the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area. See the map there? That is of the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area. Everything in it, is Shaw. The area known as U Street, you will see it, in Shaw. The portion known as Logan Circle, you can find it in the map, in Shaw.

Truxton Circle, look at the map, it is IN SHAW.

If it is in this map, it is in Shaw, which kinda stopped being a thing sometime after Home Rule and wards were a thing.

The In Shaw blog is a mess and so am I

I’m going to let this go live. And maybe next month I will try to bring back or fix the URLs for the previous 2010-2017 blog entries on the Inshaw Blog. But it isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

Why?

As the blog title hints there are several things going on in my off-line life. For one I have a money pit in Baltimore. Second, I have an in-law situation where we are attempting to move my mother-in-law from CA to DC. Due to a horrid mix of complications and bad lawyers it is a slow moving tragedy I have to keep my eye on. Third, our AC died and apparently needs to be replaced. This is tiny in relation to the other two things, and we went out and bought some units from Home Depot so at least part of the house can be cool.

Maybe, just maybe after I’ve fixed and undone poor workmanship, got my mother in law settled in a place where we can better care for her and the Summer heat is behind me, I can clean up all the messy files on my server.

Parents do not want to live the wire

BFM May 2017

I sent some questions to Dr. Hyra, author of Race, Class, and Politics In The Cappuccino City, a book about gentrification in Shaw, so I’m waiting to hear back. Until then I wanted to share something a friend mentioned to me.

I was talking about the book and my impression to a friend who is white and a parent and lives in another gentrifying neighborhood. Hyra has a theme in the book of “living the wire”, which refers to the HBO series The Wire, and in the context of Shaw, as I understand it means the danger, but not too dangerous environment of the neighborhood appeals to millennials. I and my friend are Gen-X, a generation that barely shows up in the book by name, and maybe we do not fit in the book since we are not millennials.

My friend stated that parents do not want to “live the wire”. My observations tell me that statement is very true. The parents who live and used to live in my end of Shaw bear that out, be they millennials or late Gen-Xers. In the early 00s, white couples who started having kids were more than likely to head for the ‘burbs or west of the park or elsewhere when those kids started hitting the age of 2. Why? Because DC schools sucked back then that’s why. Another thing is parents are protective of their kids be they well off or poor. Those who could move to a ‘better school district’ or a place where they felt their child would be safer, did. No one talks about poor people displaced by crime. Wouldn’t fear for the lives of those you love move you as much as rising rent?
BFM May 2017
People can be edgy when they are single. Maybe a little less so when they couple and the love they have for the other person makes them actually care for the safety and well being of their significant other. That care goes into overdrive when the babies show up.

Some parents moved, others dug in their heels and made it work. My friend, as well as some others who were around were pioneers when Two Rivers and Yu Ying were new and unproven. I saw that without the charter school system, these families would have left, because families did leave when their kid did not get into the charter school of their choice.

The childless versions of new comers, and I knew some who moved in when young and single (sometimes moving out as married parents), may give the impression of ‘living the wire’. But time and experience makes ‘living the wire’ less appealing, besides, there is far more attractive and wonderful things about Shaw (transit, dining, history, architecture, etc) than some misguided fantasies.

NOTE: I’m upgrading the servers this blog sits on in June. Hopefully something will be here at blog.inshaw.com .

BACA Clean Up Tomorrow and Something completely unrelated

First, BACA Saturday, 1st & P @ 10AM. See more here. I won’t be joining this cleanup as tomorrow is run around town looking for something and dropping stuff off day. My main goal is to get sample sizes of various Benjamin Moore paint colors (used to be able to get them at Monarch Paints but no more) and get rid of an old pre-HD TV.

Unrelated- history. Everyso often I think of papers I would write if I were really inspired to write and had the time to write. One topic I’d like to spend some more time on is the topic of urban renewal looking at some long term things. For one I’d look at the gensis of DC urban renewal by NCPC and DC government and any non-government players and get a sense of what their motivations were. Then try to figure out what happened to those individuals as they dropped out of the process when plans changed, and plans do change. Second, changing plans. The experts and planners start off with one set of plans and then due to budget, staff, political pressure, the odd riot, or whathaveyou the plans change. The big freeway that is currently I-395 does not continue up New Jersey Avenue and on to U Street. And the big thing is I’d want such a paper for people to look up the primary sources for themselves. I don’t want people to automatically take my word as gospel. I have biases, and some of them I will publicly admit to, others I won’t. Some will look at the same information and draw different conclusions, but the main thing is that they look and think.

Farmer’s Markets in May

Truck Patch Stand On the one hand, ‘finally.’ On the other hand, there isn’t that much in season right now. In May strawberries come in season. I’ve been going to Penn Quarter, which is open on Thursdays and has vendors with products not too seasonally sensitive. The fruit vendors have apples and pears and other Fall things. But come May 1st, (or is it May 2nd per the website?) the 14th St & U Market will be up and running. Then several weeks later Sunday May 16th the Bloomingdale Farmers Market opens. And hopefully there will be something there for me to can. I look forward to seeing the old vendors such as Reid’s Farm, Copper Pot, and others. I also look forward to running into neighbors, and their dogs and children. Yes, farmer’s market food is more expensive than conventional food or Florida Ave Warehouse food. However, in some cases it is well worth it and as always you get what you pay for. In the case of strawberries, I can taste the difference. Also after listening (audio-books) to Michael Pollan’s books In Defense of Food and Omnivore’s Dilemma I do want to continue to support local Mid-Atlantic agriculture, so there is a cost in supporting that as opposed to products shipped or flown in from South America.
Truck Patch Stand
On the one hand, ‘finally.’ On the other hand, there isn’t that much in season right now. In May strawberries come in season. I’ve been going to Penn Quarter, which is open on Thursdays and has vendors with products not too seasonally sensitive. The fruit vendors have apples and pears and other Fall things.
But come May 1st, (or is it May 2nd per the website?) the 14th St & U Market will be up and running. Then several weeks later Sunday May 16th the Bloomingdale Farmers Market opens. And hopefully there will be something there for me to can. I look forward to seeing the old vendors such as Reid’s Farm, Copper Pot, and others. I also look forward to running into neighbors, and their dogs and children.
Yes, farmer’s market food is more expensive than conventional food or Florida Ave Warehouse food. However, in some cases it is well worth it and as always you get what you pay for. In the case of strawberries, I can taste the difference. Also after listening (audio-books) to Michael Pollan’s books In Defense of Food and Omnivore’s Dilemma I do want to continue to support local Mid-Atlantic agriculture, so there is a cost in supporting that as opposed to products shipped or flown in from South America.

Banished Productions Hits the Big Bear

This is so exciting. Well to me, and I’ve already asked the Help if his schedule permits if we can go. If he can’t go then I’ll just go by myself.

What I speak of is Banished Production’s “A Tactile Dinner”, which I attended back during the DC Fringe Festival. It was weird and good. They will be having “dinner” at the Big Bear for three days starting May 13th then mosey on over to Longview Gallery for 2 days. Big Bear for vegetarians, Longview for carnivores. Head over to their website for more info.

Moved & Banished

Inshaw the Blog is over at blog.inshaw.com because Blogger no longer supports FTP publishing so I have to move.
In the next few days this page is going to go bye-bye and I’m going to have to re-learn HTML coding all over again to make a new page.

While I have your attention I want to announce an art and dining experience not to be missed, it is Banished Production’s “A Tactile Dinner” starting May 13th at the Big Bear. Find out more info and get tickets here. It is a 10 course “dinner” (don’t come hungry or terribly full) experience. Don’t miss it.