No Longer Housing for the Poor

So another house on my block is up for sale, however it isn’t listed on the MLS. Zillow allows people to sell their homes without an agent, and so it is a for sale by owner (FSBO) thing going on.

tan-and-blue-townhomes

It’s the blue house and the owner has listed it at $760K, rounding up. Zillow tells me that with a 10% down payment, it would be less than $4,000 a month, 20% then $3216 a month. So one would need to be fairly middle class to afford to purchase this home on this lovely block. Whenever we can get our own house on the market the same would apply as the price point would be in the same neighborhood (get it?).

This was the house Drama Momma used to live in. I suspect when she was there it was a Section 8 house. The owner then was a Black man who owned another house that had a much better, more neighborly and quiet Section 8 tenant. However, 2008 happened and the real estate bubble burst and he was forced to sell the properties.

That owner sold the house to the current owner. Joe, the current owner, lived in the house for a little bit then rented it (market rate I think) to two wonderful neighbors, a married couple. They rented it for years and it was great having them on the block as they added to the awesomeness that is and was the 1600 block of 4th St. But they moved. [sad face]

It has been well over a decade since it was last poor people housing. The current economics and housing market means it won’t be poor people housing again any time soon. The approved rents DC Housing would cover for a 2 bedroom without utilities,would not cover the estimated monthly payments for the owner.

Now going back to the 1880 census, this was poor people housing. Check out TruxtonCircle.org for the data. In 1880 the house was occupied by William Tadd or Todd, a black Laborer, his wife a laundress and their 20 year old son. They lived there along with the Wheeler family, headed by another William, a carpenter. His wife did not work outside of the home as she was caring for their 5 year old son. In 1900 the house was no less crowded, with 8 residents, several laborers, but all one family. In 1910, the 6 occupants were one family with a male breadwinner, a porter, and his mother in law was a “domestic”. By 1920 the number is down to 5 people, but it is headed by a widowed charwoman, who with her nephew had three male roomers, whose jobs were listed as Helpers. But in 1930, the widow was married, but still head of a household of two. The young man listed as her 6 year old nephew became her 17 year old cousin. In 1940 he returns to being a nephew and she returns to being a widow (retired?) and they gain an unemployed female boarder. The nephew in 1940 was a doorman.

Knowing the general history of the neighborhood between 1940-2010, it was more than likely remaining housing for the working class and poor. All the residents between 1880-1940 were renters. So it’s been rental for well over 100 years, with the odd blip of Joe living in it.

From the Triangle Known as Truxton Circle files

This is not really from the exhibit, but part of the art piece I created called Frankenmap. This looks like the Son of Frankenmap, where it is just the parts of Truxton Circle along New Jersey Avenue. It looks like I’ve posted all the material fit to post and now I’m digging into the bottom of the barrel.

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?

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?

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

 

Truxton Circle- People and a lost traffic circle

If you haven’t seen it arleady Left for LeDroit has a post on the Truxton Circle and how you can still find it’s outline today.
And I think I can say I can now start the writing portion of Truxton Circle 1900. I cleaned up a lot of data, deleted addresses that you’d think were in the study area, but aren’t and tracked down people for whom some enumerators were too drunk to write down their addresses. When I started out whites outnumbered black residents by a smidgen. With the data clean-up and address removal, blacks outnumber whites by a smidgen and I still have 4 Chinese guys.
There was this one fellow, Paul Pearson, of 218 N Street. He was a white DC born Druggist, who lived with his Maryland born wife, Emma, and owned his home free and clear. According to the 1899 city directory he worked at 500 New Jersey Avenue NW. The National Association of Realtors building sits where his workplace sat. Considering where his home and work were located he must of had a pretty good commute. And if memory serves me right there was a streetcar nearby that could have taken him straight there.