Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Charles M. Nash

Once again, I really like the Recorder of Deed Records. In 1933-1934 Charles M. Nash owned lot 853 on Square 551. But Charles Nash is a common enough name so I am thankful in a 1947 Deed his wife Doris H. Nash (1905-1975) is named when they sold the property to a Ms. Rosi H. Scott.

Doris and Charles Nash
April 18, 1959. Marault, France, Wedding of Charlie and Colette. Credit Ancestry.com and MicheleNash62

I also discovered he owned another lot on Square 551, lot 848 (144 R St NW).

Charles Matthews Nash Sr (1896-1967) was a native Washingtonian, He received a law degree from Georgetown Law School in 1917. The family lived in the Chevy Chase/ Bethesda/ Silver Spring area from 1930 onward. So never a resident of Truxton Circle.

In 1938 it appears that his mother Lucy Belle Matthews Nash (1860-1938) granted the lot to him. But there was some question and a year later there is a judgement where Pauline Needle was the plaintiff and Nash was the defendant.  In the final judgement various people, including Nash’s wife, his brother Raymond Nash and Lillard B. Fields (from the Edward Coleman post) were ordered to quitclaim various DC properties to Charles M. Nash. Apparently Ms. Needle had a judgement lien. Anyway, there were a lot of lawyers involved. Charles had a lawyer. Lillard Fields had a lawyer. A bunch of other people had lawyers, and of course, Pauline Needles had a lawyer. Lawyers for everybody! Continue reading Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Charles M. Nash

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Ernst Hauser

Image not foundOkay, now that figured out the deeds and trusts and other property document stuff let’s dive in with Ernst Hauser, owner of lots C, D, & E. In 1939, the survivors of Ernest/Ernst Hauser sold the lots to E.M. Aiken Inc.

The lots C-E appear to be what is now Mt. Sinai’s rear parking lot. On the Baist map shown here, the addresses appear to be 233-237 Q Street NW.


The deed has helpful information. The first person mentioned is William E. Hauser (aka William Hauser) and we are told he’s single. After Ernest F. Hauser (who is married to Lottie E. Hauser) we get another single guy Harry Louis Hauser. Then we learn Ernest Hauser is dead. And Sophia E. Hauser, a life tenant, died March 26, 1935.

Continue reading Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Ernst Hauser

Figuring out the Recorder of Deeds Docs

I have admitted several times that I have trouble interpreting the property land records that I get from the Recorder of Deed’s database. It dawned on me to look at my own property records to get a sense of what is what.

For reasons, I’m going to change up some names but I will keep the dates. In 2001 I bought my house with a mortgage. In 2003 I took out a HELOC, or 2nd mortgage with Bank B. That was recorded in 2004. In 2006 the Bank B HELOC was paid off and it looks like I took on another HELOC for 100K for the major renovation with Bank A. In 2009, I refinanced, replacing Countrywide with Bank A and absorbing the HELOC I had with them into the new 30 year mortgage. When 2014 rolled around, we (now married to The Help) refinanced to a 7 yr ARM with some cash to pay for the 4th renovation. What I don’t see is the HELOC I took out that year in my name. Which might explain why the title company couldn’t find it either when we sold the house. Continue reading Figuring out the Recorder of Deeds Docs

Property owners of Truxton Circle– The Bundys

Just out of curiosity I’m going to revisit an image I used regarding an African American female homeowner. But she created a mental roadblock and I lost my rhythm.

Landowner list of Sq 551

This image is part of the 1933-34 property tax assessment page for part of Sq. 551, which is between R, 3rd, Q, 1st and Florida. Continue reading Property owners of Truxton Circle– The Bundys

Well that’s almost over- Still here, just different digs

SOLDOkay, one thing down, some other stuff to go.

Despite plans to blow this pop stand, I’m still here. We’re still here. Our block is so awesome, we’re renting a couple of doors away and will stick around until something better comes around. The usual thing is to go looking for a house, buy it and then sell your house. Having 2 mortgages wasn’t particularly appealing prospect. We’ve got a pretty cool arrangement with our former neighbors/ landlords. Our block has great people on it. I hope our buyer/ new neighbor will be great too.

I look forward to the feeling of being able to just pick up and go.

Anyway, we’re still here to enjoy the restaurants, the Bloomingdale Farmers Market and all the wonderful things DC still has to offer, despite the Covid. I know where we’d like to relocate to and have become acutely aware of what we’d lose when we move. Off the top of my head, quick and cheap Uber rides. Followed by bars with good food. Followed by restaurants with good food. Followed by an embarrassment of grocery store choices in walking distance. Yes, everything revolves around food.

Now that that part will be over in about 30 days. I can get back to figuring out where I am with Church Surveys and Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle and other random bits of Truxton/Shaw history.

Renovation #2- Unsexy and unseen

So the things you get to brag about when you have a big renovation are things you can point to and see. I did that. The cool things you can see are the exposed brick wall, the clawfoot tub, the updated bathrooms, and the improved layout. What you couldn’t see or wouldn’t notice were the more appropriate sized radiators, insulation, updated wiring and plumbing, and central air.

Prior to the 2007 renovation the radiators in some areas were above or right at the bottom of the window. This was noticeable when putting in the window AC units. The iron pipes that feed the 2nd floor radiators were behind unsightly (and dangerous) false walls on the first floor. The iron was replaced with copper and those pipes were neatly tucked behind the wall. Some of the old radiators were reused, and others were replaced with more appropriate sized radiators. All that cost money, but it was a small change that I felt made a world of difference.

Insulation is another thing you don’t see but made a world of difference. There was no insulation in the wall when they were opened up during the demolition. I got insulation in the exterior walls. I asked for insulation along the party wall that wasn’t exposed. And I even put some insulation between the 1st and 2nd floors. Later this and the improvements with the radiators helped keep the house toasty warm, especially the master bedroom.

The Spacepak system I put in actually came in 2008. As I mentioned in the previous post, I ran out of money. So the AC was tabled until the next year when I saved up enough for it. The vents had already been installed, I just needed the mechanical parts. I chose this system because I didn’t like the boxy look that came with most AC systems.

There were some other updates and things not in the house. The Ethernet wired system was messed up with renovation #3. I’m not sure what happened but something in the basement was cut or damaged. Wi-fi kind of made the system unnecessary. The 1st floor bathroom is larger than need be because I was going to put a shower in it. That never happened. There are pipes to feed water to a shower in the wall, but not a drain. We wound up just using the space as a pantry area. The new layout made the rear bedroom cramped. That was corrected in renovation #4. But in changing the layout it lost a closet. A closet was planned for renovation #4 but I wanted flexibility and figured a wardrobe would work just as well, so it never got its closet back.

Renovation #2- Down to the Bricks, part 1

Renovation #2 is the renovation I am most proud of. It is the renovation where I went down to the bricks and the joists. I replaced the floors, changed up some of the radiators, and completely changed the floorplan. Since it was such a big project, I’m dividing this into a couple of posts.

Let’s start with the permits. I was able to get the permit myself, with my own drawings. The poor Sikh gentleman at DCRA was patient with me, pointed out things I needed to correct and I think he really wished I had used an architect. But I sort of did. Ira, my architect neighbor, had given me a book on how to draw up plans and advice. This was 2007 so no Google Sketch-up, I hand drew the plans. So I got permit, and it cost me $1000. Just for the permit. All the permits are up on SCOUT, so anyone can look at them.

Then there was the money. I vaguely remember budgeting $87K for the project. It wound up costing around $100K. I had a sweet loan with Countrywide where the 30 year loan had a very low interest rate for the time because of the DC Housing Finance office. But for this project I refinanced with a bank and wound up with a higher rate. My mortgage went from $600 a month to over a thousand. It was worth it. I may explore in another post why I can dare to try  to sell a house I bought for $108K for $750K.

With any large project like this there were unfortunate discoveries made when all was demolished away. One scary thing were joists that at some point in the past had been hacked away to make room for plumbing. Or joists rotted from leaks in the bathroom. I had told our Realtor we didn’t mess with the joists, but looking back at construction photos, those were replaced. Another scary thing was the big hole in the load bearing wall, hidden by a false wall. Anyway, I fixed, or had things fixed and made decisions that made the costs creep up.

People would say old houses had good bones. Because of unhappy discoveries the contractor found hidden behind the walls and ceilings, that saying I found to be an annoying lie. You don’t know until you go down to the bricks and joists. The bones are now fine.

Buy this house: The InShaw house going on the market this week

Photo on the day I bought 1618 in 2001.

It’s been a 19 year adventure but now it’s time to start a new chapter. I will leave to the new owner a dehumidifier, all the Ikea window treatments (maybe a 202 land line), and an awesome block in a great neighborhood if they can keep it up. I took this circa 1874 house from a semi-neglected pile of bricks to a well renovated, updated, much loved home.

I’m curious about how our Realtor will sum up the house in a paragraph. The house has been through 4 renovations, this latest $11K update (a list of minor things, painting, and fixing things that didn’t bother us) and a few major repairs and updates we’ve made over the past 2 years. All those renovations, were done with my comfort and happiness in mind, not to make a buck. I’ve gutted this thing down to the joists and brick and had it rebuilt with updated plumbing, wiring, and insulation. Only a few other houses on this block can boast the same thing. I’ll probably do a separate series of posts just recapping those updates.

Red ornament with snow on tree

It’s the people who make a neighborhood, the housing, the structures just do the sheltering. This block has some great neighbors and I know I’m bragging when I say we will be missed. Hopefully, the new people will pitch in for the annual decorating of the trees for Christmas, shoving the sidewalks with neighbors after a big snow, or help Brian keep the street and sidewalks clean. That’s what we did. And the only way to keep the block awesome is for the people who live here to be awesome. The 1600 block of 4th St has it’s own email list, with none of the crazy of Nextdoor. See Brian’s wife or the guy with the Dalmatian to join.

When I moved here nearly 2 decades ago the main things this place had going for it was being in walking distance to the Ghetto Giant and the Shaw metro. Now the Giant is a bit more gentrified, you can still walk to the metro and despite the pandemic there are a bunch of places to walk to that are open and operating. Today, I ran errands with Destructo-kid. We went to the post office to drop some mail in the box at NJ and FL Avenues. Then walked over to the UPS store on 7th to turn in the router for the FIOS (yes, the house is set up for FIOS). After that we walked over to Nicecream but the person had stepped away so we went to a small playground. Then we returned to Nicecream and had a melty cup of carbs at the corner of 8th and Florida. After that we ran into friends from Immaculate at Union Kitchen on 8th. A couple of days ago I went to the Bloomingdale Farmers Market and picked up some Dan Dan noodles (oh, so good) and later the Help got groceries from the new Whole Foods on Florida Avenue.

After a 2-3 week delay the contractors finally finished painting and fixing and replacing stuff. The cleaner has come in and worked a miracle cleaning the kitchen sink (something we really didn’t care about living here). And now that every vestige of our personality has been stripped from the premises, the stager has staged the house, and that place sure as heck doesn’t look like we ever lived there. Maybe Thursday or Friday the house will show up on the MLS and we’ll see what the world thinks it’s really worth.

So you may be wondering will I be keeping up the InShaw blog after this? Yes, but not as a resident. As far as I know I’m the world’s expert on Truxton Circle history, so there’s that. I’ll be keeping up this and at some point in the future updating TruxtonCircle.org.

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.

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.