Memory Lane: Dunbar HS Falling Apart

Going through my photo catalog and remembering in 2007 Dunbar High School was in bad shape. This may have been wind damage.

2nd Dunbar High School building. Taken around December 2007.
2nd Dunbar High School building. Taken around December 2007.
2nd Dunbar High School building. Taken around December 2007.

 

Memory Lane: 1200 Block of 4th Street NW- 2007

I looked on Google Street View to see what the difference a decade and a half, plus a lot of development and reinvestment makes.

Taken around December 2007. 1223 4th St NW.
1221 4th St NW, Washington, DC circa 2007.
1221 4th St NW. Taken around December 2007.
1221 4th St NW. Taken around December 2007.
1200 block of 4th St NW.
1200 block of 4th St NW. Taken around December 2007.

Memory Lane: Somewhere in Mt. Vernon Sq.

I don’t know where this is. But it feels like Mt. Vernon Sq. and this is circa 2007.

Taken on December 20, 2007

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 1551 3rd Street NW

The Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) was a late 19th century charitable capitalism experiment that ended in the 1950s. This blog started looking at the homes that were supposed to be sold to African American home buyers, after decades of mainly renting to white tenants.

Looking at WSIC properties they tend to have a pattern where the properties were sold to a three business partners, Nathaniel J. Taube, Nathan Levin and James B. Evans as the Colonial Investment Co. for $3 million dollars. Those partners sold to African American buyers. There was usually a foreclosure. Then the property wound up in the hands of George Basiliko and or the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). Then there were the odd lucky ones who managed to avoid that fate.

photo of property

Let’s see what happens with 1551 3rd St NW:

  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) Evans, Levin and Taube sold one-half of 1551 3rd St NW to John D. and Susie M. Scott.
  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) the Scotts borrowed $4,250 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) Evans, Levin, and Taube sold the other half of 1551 3rd St NW to Mary Annette Brewer and J. Bernard Strawder.
  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) Brewer and Strawder borrowed $4,250 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • March 1958 Brewer and Strawder lost their half to foreclosure. The Colonial Investment Co. partners regained ownership via an auction.
  • May 1961 the Scotts sold their half of 1551 3rd St from Evans, Taube and Nathan Levin’s survivors.
  • November 1961 the Colonial Investor Co. parties sold 1551 3rd St NW to Sophia and George Basiliko.
  • May 1978 George Basiliko sold the property to Ohal, Isaac & Associates, Inc.

So this fit the usual and unfortunate pattern of foreclosure (the Scotts managed to avoid that) then the property being sold to Basiliko.

Memory Lane: 1630 4th St NW- Sweat Equity

I’m embarrassed that I can’t remember off the top of my head the names of my neighbors. But I do remember they moved in some years after I did and the husband was a friend and co-worker (they worked for the same development/building company) of the neighbor across the street.

These houses were old. They needed renovating. They were circa 1870-ish housing built for Black renters and were rentals for roughly 100+ years. So they weren’t necessarily in the best shape. Amazing things were done by those who came in and fixed up these homes using their talents, skills and bank loans.

1630 4th St NW

It’s not fun living in the middle of a renovation. I grew up in a house that was half constructed (*grumble it’s been 40 flipping years and dad’s still not done*.) During the years I lived in Shaw I witnessed many people living in the middle of their rehabs.

The house was purchased by a couple in 2003, when these pictures were taken. The husband did most of the construction and the wife (who had an eye for these things) did the design. She was also the heart of the block progressive parties that came and went when they moved away.

They had kids and when the eldest ‘lost’ the school lottery, they put the house on the market and left.

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 1545 3rd Street NW

The Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) was a late 19th century charitable capitalism experiment that ended in the 1950s. This blog started looking at the homes that were supposed to be sold to African American home buyers, after decades of mainly renting to white tenants.

Looking at WSIC properties they tend to have a pattern where the properties were sold to a three business partners, Nathaniel J. Taube, Nathan Levin and James B. Evans as the Colonial Investment Co. for $3 million dollars. Those partners sold to African American buyers. There was usually a foreclosure. Then the property wound up in the hands of George Basiliko and or the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). Then there were the odd lucky ones who managed to avoid that fate.

photo of property

Let’s see what happens with 1545 3rd St NW:

  • January 1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sold one-half of 1545 3rd NW to Carrie B. and Robert L. Andrews.
  • January 1951 the Andrews borrowed $3,525 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • January 1951 Evans, Levin, and Taube sold the other half of 1545 3rd St NW to Jimmie Batts and Queen E. Coles.
  • Jan 1951 Batts and Coles borrowed $3,525 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • October 1952 the Andrews lost their half to foreclosure. Through an auction the property returned to Evans, Levin and Taube.
  • October 1952 Evans, Levin and Taube sold the foreclosed half to Mrs. Elizabeth W. Banks.
  • October 1952 Mrs. Banks borrowed $4,164.38 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • September 1954 Batts and Coles lost their half to foreclosure. Evans, Levin and Taube got the property back via an auction.
  • October 1955 Banks lost her half to foreclosure. Evans, Levin and Taube got the property back via an auction.
  • November 1961, the Colonial Investment Co. parties, as part of a larger property package, sold 1545 3rd St NW to Sophia and George Basiliko.
  • July 1970, as part of a larger property package (document 1970011877) , George Basiko sold 1545 3rd St NW to the District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA).

So the sad story and pattern apply here. The next set of documents after the RLA got their hands on it were from 2004 with BSA Limited Partnership. BSA- I will assume are the Bates Street Associates, which were a problematic organization.

Memory Lane: There’s a house there now- 1541 4th St NW

1500 block of 4th St NW or Islamic Way NW. Taken December 15, 2007.

See the photo above. There was a space between the taller yellow house and the shorter white house. That space is 1541 4th St NW. What is there now is a house worth around a million dollars according to Redfin. Infill I think is the word I should use.

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 1541 3rd Street NW

The Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) was a late 19th century charitable capitalism experiment that ended in the 1950s. This blog started looking at the homes that were supposed to be sold to African American home buyers, after decades of mainly renting to white tenants.

Looking at WSIC properties they tend to have a pattern where the properties were sold to a three business partners, Nathaniel J. Taube, Nathan Levin and James B. Evans as the Colonial Investment Co. for $3 million dollars. Those partners sold to African American buyers. There was usually a foreclosure. Then the property wound up in the hands of George Basiliko and or the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). Then there were the odd lucky ones who managed to avoid that fate.

photo of property

Let’s see what happens with 1541 3rd St NW:

  •  January 1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sold one-half of 1541 3rd St NW to Essie G. and James W. Balthrop.
  • January 1951 the Balthrops borrowed $3,375 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • January 1951 Evans, Levin, and Taube sold the other half of 1541 3rd St NW to Mrs. Floretta L. Williams and Mrs. Mary M. Woody.
  • Jan 1951 Williams and Woody borrowed $3,375 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • April 1960, Williams and Woody lost their half of 1541 3rd to foreclosure. Through an auction the property returned to Colonial Investments Co owners, Taube, Evans and Harry A. Badt.
  • April 1960, as part of a larger property package, Badt and his wife transferred their interest in the property to Nathan Levin’s survivors.
  • March 1961, the Balthrops owned their half free and clear.
  • November 1961, as part of  larger property package, Levin’s survivors and the owners of the Colonial Investment Company sold their half of 1541 to George Basiliko.
  • September 1967, widow Essie Balthrop borrowed $1,287.60 from trustees Ralph O. Weed and A. J. Mascetta.

Despite the half of the property being sold to Basiliko it did not wind up in the hands of the city.

Who were the Balthrops? I have no idea where the G. came from but Emma Jane Royal married James Westly Balthrop in 1908 in Richmond, VA. When their first son, William was one years old in 1910, Emma worked as a servant and James a butler. By 1920 the family was in Washington, DC with two more sons. In 1930, they had 6 sons and housed a nephew. According to the census they owned 631 Gresham Pl NW, which has less than 1000 sq. ft.

Looking into 631 Gresham Place NW (Sq. 3056, lot 57) I found one of those weird real estate things. This is not in my area of interest, but when you see weird stuff, you write about it. So you know about racially restricted covenants, how about reverse UNO card covenants?

See close up here- 3056-57

It appears the Balthrops and their neighbors signed an agreement to be able to sell their properties to African Americans. Okay moving on.

In 1940 the family, sans James, was renting a house at 611 Morton St. NW. At that point, Essie was the head and she had 5 sons, 1 daughter and one renter living in the home.

When James W. Balthrope died October 8, 1962, he died at home on Third Street. He was survived by many relatives. He had 14 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. His funeral was at the Vermont Baptist Church.