The Triangle Known as Truxton Circle: Beans!

Back in 2017, I and two artist neighbors set up an exhibit at 410 GoodBuddy called The Triangle Known as Truxton Circle. I have a few things sitting on my computer from the exhibit that I’d like to share. Between no childcare and attempting to telework in less than ideal conditions, yes, I’m not posting much. But I can post this from the exhibit.

BEANS!
2016, Mixed Media

This picks up where Change 1880-1940 leaves off. Each bean represents a single person. Each container represents a census year. Each year is different.

Compare the different years.

What is going on here?

Why do you think some years have more people than others?

The neighborhood continues to transform.

So hopefully you’ve read the previous blog post Change 1880-1940, which were a set of maps showing patterns of households in Truxton Circle by race. Since the 1950 census wasn’t out (it will come out in a few years), I could not create a map. Brian Bakke, one of the artists in the show, suggested I show (somehow) what happened after 1940. I came up with Beans!

Triangle Known As Truxton Circle

I could figure out easily how to show Black and White individuals. Black beans and white Navy beans. For everyone else, that was a struggle. I had to find a bean that was around the same size as the other beans AND visually different from the Navy beans. That wound up being the Pinto bean.

Change 1880-1940 w BEANS 1950-2010Looking at the various containers of Beans! the neighborhood is almost exclusively African American in 1960. And you may notice the number of residents (each bean represents one person) from 1950 has decreased a little bit by 1960.  In 1970 the number goes down a bit more, but you might not notice. By 1980 the number of residents had significantly decreased in a noticeable way.

I remember being asked why was the population going down. There are various reasons, but the one I mentioned was the role of women changing. In 1950 African American kids were more likely to be raised in a two parent household than not, with mom at home. Here come the late 1960s and the Sexual Revolution and households got smaller. Women have less pressure to get married and have kids, or have kids at all.

There is also another change in the 1980s, a lot more other racial categories than Black or White show up. So more Pinto beans. By 2010 it is a whole bean soup mix melody.

The Triangle Known As Truxton Circle: Change 1880-1940

Back in 2017, I and two artist neighbors set up an exhibit at 410 GoodBuddy called The Triangle Known as Truxton Circle. I have a few things sitting on my computer from the exhibit that I’d like to share. Between no childcare and attempting to telework in less than ideal conditions, yes, I’m not posting much. But I can post this from the exhibit.

I believe this was part of Beans!, which I will get to later. I really love Beans! But you can’t appreciate Beans! until you’ve seen the maps.

Change 1880-1940

Digital print on canvas
I used US Census and city directory information to show changes in the neighborhood from 1880 (the first census with street addresses) to 1940 (the latest open census). The census is taken every 10 years.
Compare the different years, and see how the neighborhood fills in.

When does the neighborhood transform into a majority African American neighborhood?

Please go to BEANS! to see the continuation of the transformation.

Unlike my other Triangle posts I’m going to go a bit more into the images.
Okay the key for all these maps is:
Yellow- Whites
Brown- African Americans
Green- Asians- usually Chinese
Blue- Government facilities, if filled with brown- Black school
Purple- Commercial property
1880 drawing map of Truxton Circle NW
This is where black and white residents lived in the northwest part of what is now known as Truxton Circle in 1880. It is a mostly white and lightly populated neighborhood.

1900 drawn map of Truxton CircleSo these maps are based on the US Census and the 1890 census got burned so, there is no 1890 map. So by the time 1900 rolls around as seen above there have been some big changes. There has been more development, more housing and businesses, and there is a hospital between N St and New York Avenue. Langston and Slater appear over on the unit block of P Street. So students who were not served by the white school on 3rd St, have options. The Black/White population looks kinda even, but it isn’t. The TC is still a majority white neighborhood.

In 1910 the neighborhood has filled many of it’s empty spaces with white households, which is still the majority.

You can’t see it from the map but the African American population is growing. A bit crowded in the units they occupy, but growing. 1920 is the last year the non-Black population is the majority. By 1920 three more schools for African Americans appear. And then Boom.

1930!

This is where the neighborhood finally becomes the historically Black neighborhood we all know and love.

Yes, 1940 looks different. What is brown looks purple. As you can tell this map was made at a different time. It was made quickly and specifically for the exhibit, and thus, not as good as the others. As 1940 was the last open Census available where I could say what racial group lived at what particular address, this is the last map.

Once again- The historical boundaries of Shaw

Okay so there is a write up in the Washington Post about Shaw. I’m debating about giving Alex Padro a hard time about the east boundary being New Jersey Avenue. Their graphic has Shaw’s western boundary at 13th St NW and the southern part just eats up Mt. Vernon . The boundaries of Shaw keep changing with each article so, there is that. This is a Real Estate article, and they quote Padro and Ibrahim Mumin, so I’m not going to nit pick much, except for this point.

Anyway, here’s a map

map of Shaw and CHand this gem

Commercial Building Map
Map of Shaw for 1970 Commercial Buildings

and this…

Proposed subway line through 1968 Shaw

The Triangle Known As Truxton Circle- Frankenmaps

Back in 2017, I and two artist neighbors set up an exhibit at 410 GoodBuddy called The Triangle Known as Truxton Circle. I have a few things sitting on my computer from the exhibit that I’d like to share. Between no childcare and attempting to telework in less than ideal conditions, yes, I’m not posting much. But I can post this from the exhibit.

Below are two maps I created from older maps. The thing was none of the old fire maps had Truxton Circle on one map. I had to piece the maps together from several maps, just as Dr. Frankenstein pieced together his creature. I sold the older view of the TC and have kept the 1919 map for myself.

Frankenmap 1887

2016, Giclée Paper Print on Bamboo

Son of Frankenmap 1919

2016, Giclée Paper Print on Bamboo

These are two maps of the same area. The lighter colored map used maps from 1887, the earliest real estate plat maps covering the area. There are many empty lots. The rose /yellow colored items are houses or other structures where real people lived and worked. The darker map is made of 1919 maps. The later map shows a neighborhood filled with brick houses.

If your home is older than 1919 can you find it on the map?

Do you notice other differences between the 1887 and 1919 maps?

Paint it Black

I like having an orange (okay more creamsicle) house. In instructions to delivery people, because Google and other map things are screwing it up, is that if you aren’t delivering to an orange house, you have the wrong house. It isn’t like there are a lot of orange houses. But we’re getting the house ready for sale, so the orange has to go.

But something happened. As you can see from the upper (or featured) image it got painted black. This is not a color known to make houses sell like hotcakes, unless the market is full of Goths.

There was some miscommunication.

I’m sure this will get corrected and house painters have to give a wall a few coats of paint. So this one coat should be fine. I hope.

A black house is kind of cool, but not temperature wise. Black absorbs heat and as edgy and cool as I might think this would be (and a fun shock to the Realtor) the air conditioner wouldn’t appreciate it. I’ve seen other black houses in Truxton Circle, okay one. I wonder if those houses were painted black due to some miscommunication.

The Triangle Known as Truxton Circle: Stick a Pin in It!

Back in 2017, I and two artist neighbors set up an exhibit at 410 GoodBuddy called The Triangle Known as Truxton Circle. I have a few things sitting on my computer from the exhibit that I’d like to share. Between no childcare and attempting to telework in less than ideal conditions, yes, I’m not posting much. But I can post this from the exhibit.

Map-of-TC-Commerce

PIN ME!

If your house existed in 1970, please take a colored pin and stick it on your house.

One pin per household.

Triangle Known As Truxton Circle: Bulldoze a road through it

Back in 2017, I and two artist neighbors set up an exhibit at 410 GoodBuddy called The Triangle Known as Truxton Circle. I have a few things sitting on my computer from the exhibit that I’d like to share. Between no childcare and attempting to telework in less than ideal conditions, yes, I’m not posting much. But I can post this from the exhibit. First is the image then the exhibit text. Enjoy.

Freeway Plan circa 1957-1960

2016, Digital Print on Foamboard

This is a map of what could have been. It is an undated planning map from the National Capital Planning Commission. Truxton Circle is the upper green area of the map. In this version I-395 does not stop at New York Avenue but continues north to meet with a planned east-west freeway between P and U Streets.

Do you know why I-395 ends where it does?

Who would these freeways serve?

If the freeway didn’t stop at New York Avenue, would your house still exist?

And I’ll Be Giving Up This?

To go Margarita and BibleSo the weather was nice and I was walking home from picking up some Korean takeout and had stopped to grab a to go margarita. While walking and getting a buzz I thought to myself, “You want to give up all this?”. The Korean place had always had take out as an option and the to-go cup of booze was thanks to COVID-19 and the doing away with rules and laws, I once supported. Seriously, that’s weird. I would have fought tooth and nail against what I was enjoying that moment 15-20 years ago.

Anyway, I was enjoying the coolness of my neighborhood, despite the lockdown.

I’ll have to admit I’ve mentally had one foot out the door for a while now and all the stuff we need to do to get the house ready for sale is making thing real. It has made me see all that we’d be giving up and losing when we eventually move up the Route 1 corridor into Maryland. I’d lose the walkability I’ve enjoyed for years and the semi-reliable public transit. I’d also lose bike lanes that make sense and my choice of CaBi stations withing 1 or 2 blocks from me. and more importantly, I’d lose all the great restaurants.

We’ve decided on some compromise, rent in the TC (’cause baby I still love you) until we find a permanent home in the Riverdale/ Hyattsville area that speaks to us. So for a few months at least we can enjoy our neighbors, this place, and whatever is open, no matter how limited.

Why are we leaving? I’m gonna blame Destructo. After that the lockdown with Destructo. If it weren’t for being married and having a kid, I guess I would have been fine with where my career is. So part is the move to be closer to the place where there is room for advancement. The other part relates to my spouse and my desire for him to walk to work. And then there is Destructo-kid. Being stuck in the house with him for nearly 3 months with no parks and no large yard, and all his massive toddler-boy energy takes a toll.

We aren’t moving to PG County for the schools, I can’t think of anyone who moved to PG County FOR the schools. MoCo yes, PG, no.

Sadly it seems DC is becoming harder for parents of small kids. The city closed the daycares, the schools, the libraries, and the parks and really didn’t provide any real support for parents after taking away many of the things that made urban parenting do-able. Two families on my block already have pulled up stakes, we’d be number 3.

The apparent loss of a functional Pre-K3 that provided education and childcare was the last straw. It was the thing that set Dc apart in the region. I know school districts all over the US are up poop creek for 2020-21. But the point of sticking around longer than we planned is out the window.

But this is still a great place for the childless. You too can walk down the street sipping a margarita while walking home with some super tasty Korean food. My single 30 something year old self would have really like this.

The Spacepak System- After a long hiatus

View-of-ceiling-with-ventSo back in 2007 I got a Spacepak system for my house when I had it renovated down to the bricks and beams. And sometime around 2016? it died. Blah-blah something about leaking coolant, which was expensive (the kind we needed) and the whole thing, we were told, needed to be replaced. I did not understand what that meant. What I did understand was the $12K estimate. That’s too dang much. To be fair, $3,000 of that was for a permit and rental of a crane to put part of the unit on the roof.

So we decided that for that price, it would be cheaper to buy portable a/c units and that was okay. But bringing up units up and down every year is a PITA. That and we knew we’d be departing and wanted to get the house ready for sale or rent, so this winter we got a new Spacepak. This meant a new outside unit on the roof, which the workmen managed to get up there with ropes and ladders, and another interior unit that was squeezed into our crawlspace. The tubes and what not remained.

So lately the weather warmed up enough to justify turning it on. This week was warm enough to test it. Normally, it’s kept at 80F in the day (normally, we are not home) and around 77F in the evening. Not much of a stretch. So when it was sitting at 77F I decided to try to get it down to 72F. I should note that our house’s walls are well insulated. The back has the foam insulation and the front has the pink stuff. It took a while but the thermostat did make it to 72F.

A noticeable difference from the system of the past and now is that it is quieter and the air doesn’t flow as hard. The crawlspace unit is right above our bed, so I noticed that difference when it turns on. The air flow is not as hard because when I overheat, standing under a vent isn’t as satisfying as it once was. Meh.

The replacement cost $9K, when rounding up. This was just for air conditioning. We have a radiator heating system that I luuuuv, bathrobes that have been sitting on a hot radiator is a special luxury you have to experience.  Part of me likes having two separate systems so when one goes kaput the other is fine.

Straw Meet Camel or Buy this house

messylivingroomThis is one of my favorite views of my home. From the stairs, looking down at the bookcase and the floor. This house, what I’ve called a crumbly pile of bricks, has been a joy. But I’ve been pondering a move out of the city for various reasons. The main one was for career reasons that I won’t get into here. Second, I’d like my husband to have an awesome car-less commute. Third, is the kid and that relates to a piece of straw.

A couple of days ago NBC Channel 4 reported on some leaked information about plans for DC schools, including PreK-K. That ticked me off, so much so, I’ve been in contact with Realtors. Maybe it was the thing I needed to finally stop delaying and start moving on. I’d been so looking forward to Pre-K3, getting ready for it. But it looks like Pre-K 2020-21 is gonna be a bust, with alternative schedules and partial in person instruction. I won’t be able to depend on the schools for adequate childcare coverage. This is the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I had thought of offering to sell (by owner) as-is so I can sell it for a lower, more affordable price so a new owner could build some of their own equity. Because staging, hiring painters, landscapers, all that winds up getting paid by the buyer in the form of a higher price. I was toying with that idea for November of this year. But now, probably not, but I’m willing to be persuaded.

If you’ve read this blog, or managed to follow it since the early days, you know I’ve left the house better than when I bought it. I’ve renovated it (with a contractor) several times, going down to the brick and beams. The basement/celler got finished and has 3 french drains. A couple years back I put on an addition in the rear. Last year, got a new fence and now we could theoretically park in the rear. I’ve been constantly improving it and making it my own. But now, it’s time to let go and let someone else make of it what they will.