Bates Street- Get to Poppin’

I’m thinking about doing a history of the set of houses that have a unique style in the Truxton Circle area. These would be the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company houses that are mostly on Bates St NW. I want to do the same level of depth of research as I do the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle series.

But I know a negative side of doing such research and sharing it. I did not intend to provide information for the Wardman Flats to become a historic landmark. So there is the slight chance that what I put out there could be used by someone to attempt to make a historic district or landmark.
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It’s not like there aren’t other bits of history about the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company and Bates Street about. The House History Man authored a post about 9 years ago on this subject. And there is a book The History and Development of the Housing Movement in the City of Washington, D.C. published by the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company, available at the Smithsonian site, Google Books, and other sites on the web.

So with a few years warning, I say to you owners of former Washington Sanitary Improvement Company homes, get to poppin’. Throw on your pop ups, your pop backs. Install ye vinyl windows while ye may. Change the friggin fronts.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Arthur B. McKinney

Parts of this are from a previous post I published some time ago. I’m revisiting this African American home owner, to add more information.

I had given up on Mrs. Annie Newsome (or Annie Newsone in the 1940 census) who was listed as the head of household and married. She appears in the 1930 census with a different possible birth year. So I gave up on her and decided to look at a professional man who might have more information about him.

Dr. Arthur B. McKinney abducted from Freedmen's HospitalDr. Arthur B. McKinney abducted from Freedmen’s Hospital Sat, May 15, 1926 – Page 2 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comSo I chose Dr. Arthur B. McKinney of 1519 1st St NW from the 1940 census. From the little clip above, Dr. McKinney was involved in some odd little caper in 1926 where his brothers abducted him from Freedmen’s Hospital and took him to his mother’s house at 1515 1st St NW. A Della A. McKinney, widow, is listed as a home owner in the 1930 census at that address.

In the 1920 Census, Arthur B. McKinney was a 31 year old doctor living with his mother Della at 1515 1st St. NW. Looking at Ancestry’s family tree, his full name was Arthur Bancroft McKinney. He married Ethel J. Thornton in December of 1920. They apparently had no children. But the family tree fails to note his siblings as Samuel A. and Della McKinney had 5 sons, 2 daughters, a daughter-in-law, and a grandson living with them in 1900 at 63 P St NW. Continue reading Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Arthur B. McKinney

There’s a hole in my Truxton Circle data

Image of hole in brick wallThere’s a hole in my Truxton Circle data. I discovered it with my Property Owners of Truxton Circle series. I was writing an article that I had hoped to publish based on the old data. But discovering this missing data means I have to take a break from that writing project.

It also means all the previous posts based on the data is a little off. It means the imagery based on the data is off.  The TruxtonCircle.org website will still have incorrect data until I am sure I got everything.

I guess this means I will be doing a bunch of QC. On the plus side, I’ll blog my discoveries.

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- The Brungers

I’ve jumped around and I think I have all the multi-lot owners and the surnames that appear several times. Now we come to William C. and Annie C. Brunger, owners of lot 844 on Square 551, 210 R Street NW.

Since the Ancestry search (available via the awesome DC Public Library) gave me the right info straight out of the gate, I’ll start there first. Ancestry has these family tree things and the Brungers show up in the Reynolds-Smith family tree. The English born carpenter (later foreman), William Charles Brunger (1865- 1928) was married to Annie Caroline Wright (1865-1926), and they had 3 children (Berton William Brunger was born 1889 in DC – died in 1970 in FL; Lillian R Brunger – Leonberger 1893–1967 – also in FL; and Charles A Brunger 1894–1921). In his will he left his daughter Lillian (aka Mrs. F.J. Leonberger) 11 Kennedy Street NE. Berton was bequeathed 210 R St NW, in Truxton Circle. His son Charles was already dead and apparently childless, so nothing for him.

The 1900 Census has the Brunger family living on Sq. 551, but not at 210 R St NW. They are at 1637 3rd St NW in 1910 and 1920. I have discovered they are not on the TruxtonCircle.org Excel sheet for 1900. According to a city directory he lived at 11 Kennedy Street NE in 1926.

Image not found Continue reading Property Owners of Truxton Circle- The Brungers

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.