1920 to 1930- White to Black- 1727 New Jersey Avenue

1700 Block NJ Ave NW, 1930. Brown= AfAm residents; White= No data

In this series of looking at the odd numbered side of the 1700 block of New Jersey Ave NW from 1920 to 1930, I decided to look at the other end of the block. The change from 1920 to 1930 for most of the block was from white renters to black home owners. My post The sell off of the 1700 block of New Jersey Ave NW pretty much explains the why.

So let’s look at the residents of 1727 New Jersey from 1920 to 1930.photo of property

The White Renters

In the 1920 census there was one family occupying 1727 New Jersey Ave NW. It was headed by a 59 year old “widow” Mary A. Moore. She was a Massachusetts born Irish American. She lived in the house with her adult children and 45 year old roomer. Her son John J. Moore was a 30 year old self-employed artist with is own studio. Her 26 year old daughter Margarite worked as a clerk for War Risk in the Treasury Department.

The 1930 census shows that Mary wasn’t widowed. Her husband Richard F. Moore was alive and well and living with his family at 913 Jackson St NE. Son John J. was a commercial artist and owner of the home. Daughter Marguerite was 38 year old lawyer for the Federal government. The children were still single.

Moving forward to the 1950 census, Marguerite C. Moore was an attorney for the VA. She lived with her brother, who also did not marry, still worked as a commercial artist making about $30K which was very good money in 1950.

The Black Owners

The DC Recorder of Deeds records aren’t helpful. The buyer Addie E. Webb purchased the home February 1921, and paid off the loan in February of 1924. And that’s the last that is heard from Webb. In 1935 there is a judgement where William Dodson had to relinquish 1727 NJ Ave NW to Mamie Smith. The judgement doesn’t say why.

Addie E. Webb was an African American hairdresser. In 1920 she was 50 years old and lived at 1514 S St NW. It appears she shared an apartment or something with a 40 year old woman named Ida Smith who was also a hairdresser that census year. Ida (nee Roane) had been Addie’s landlady back in the 1900 census, when Addie lived with Arthur S. Smith, Ida and Ida’s mother and brother, and Arthur’s cousin James Watkins.

I’ll take a guess Addie did not make it to the 1930 census.

I have no idea who William Dodson was and how he came into possession of the property. In the 1910 census Addie lived with Ida Smith and Addie’s daughter, public school teacher Helen (Ellen?) F. Webb. She doesn’t show up in the long list of people who signed off in selling the property in 1939 along with Mamie Smith. Could Mamie Smith be related to Ida Smith? A C. William Webb is mentioned in the legal notice about the 1936 judgement. In an 1935 article in the Afro-American, it appears C. William Webb, son of Addie, disappeared and had been missing for 30 years. Mamie Smith was one of his heirs. One of many. So they went to court to get a hold of the property to sell it and split the estate.

The Black Renters

So if Addie Webb did not make it to the 1930 census, then who was there in 1930? Wade Shields a 31 year old barber who was renting the property with five female lodgers. In 1928, he was living or operating out of 17 Fenton NE. In 1922 Wade married Gladys Rodgers. They were not living together in this census.

As for the lodgers with Mr. Shields, one was a woman, and the remaining females were minor children. Rose Johnson was the adult, a 28 year old hair dresser. The eldest child was Thelma Pryor a 16 year old who worked in a laundry. Pryor’s mother was Lucille Johnson and it appears Rose and Thelma were related, as they share a headstone. I don’t see any relationship with Mr. Shields or his missing wife, except for the profession of working with Black hair. This is something they shared with the previous owner Addie Webb. The other girls were 11, 10 and three years old and listed as lodgers. I wonder if they were foster children?

Memory Lane: 219 P St NW

219 A P St NW. Taken December 15, 2007

I’ve featured this address before as a former Washington Sanitary Improvement home that was sold to African American buyers in the 1950s. All did not end well as you could gather in 2007 when this photo was taken. There were some questions about ownership that weren’t clear.

Well somebody, or somebodies own it now. I looked on Redfin and it looks like it has been split into 3 units, with 3 separate entries, up from the original 2.

Redlining in the TC- the dog that didn’t bark

I’m not done with the WSIC-1950 Sell Off series of posts, but I can recognize a pattern. What’s the pattern? The houses formerly rented by the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) were sold by the Colonial Investment Co who would sell two halves of a house to African American buyers. And then there would be a foreclosure. Not always, but very often. And for some mysterious reason the property always returned back to the Colonial Investment owners. Then they would sell it to slum landlord George Basiliko who would eventually sell the property to the DC Redevelopment Land Agency. That was the pattern.

There was something else I noticed in the pattern. It wasn’t obvious. It was what I did not see with other Black home owner posts.

225 Bates St NW (yellow)

The WSIC series came after a lot of Black Home Owner of Truxton Circle series’ posts. For most of the Black home owners I looked at between 1920 to about 1950 most things were fine. They borrowed money, they sold their homes, willed their homes to family members…. who then sold the houses. Every so often, there would be a foreclosure. Sometimes the lenders would be institutions like the Perpetual Building Association or individual trustees.

I noticed that for most WSIC buyers they did not have the option of institutional lenders. BW-photo-of-Bates-St-NW-DC

Redlining is when home buyers and owners in an area are denied financial products, like home loans, because of where they lived. Their area was red-lined.

In one Sherlock Holmes detective story, the great detective noticed that the watchdog did not bark the night of the murder, hinting that the dog knew the murderer. It took me a while but I noticed there was no other lender than Colonial Investment’s lenders. I found the redlining when WSIC buyers were denied other financial products. It was a subtle fact like the dog who did not bark. It was the lenders who were not there, who operated elsewhere in other parts of the neighborhood.

The red line was between North Cap, 3rd St,  P and Q Sts NW and only of formerly WSIC homes.

Memory Lane: Lucky Kitty & the Contractor

Cat sitting on fence at 1616 4th St NW. Taken October 31, 2003

I wrote the post below back in the early days of the blog in 2003. I was undergoing my first major house renovation, the kitchen with a contractor I found via some swing dance friends who live (still live) in the H Street area.

That contractor had his own company and paired up with a fellow and they created a company. I see that company’s trucks all over my new neighborhood. But this post is about a kitty.

My neighbors down the street had a cat. They kept the cat outside most of the time. Lucky was a very sweet cat.

Lucky Kitty

My contractor has run off with the neighbor’s cat. She’s doing much better now he says. I kind of miss her. Lucky is an extremely affectionate cat. Of course she mainly wanted food and tried breaking into my house often. But now she’s in a warm house, the neighbors kept her outside, eating regularly, I used to feed her a little & thought her owners were too, and she doesn’t slobber anymore.

My contractor took her home. She was well cared for. She became an indoor all the time cat and got fat. She was in kitty heaven. Well she died after many, many years and is now in kitty heaven.

Carter G. Woodson FBI FOIA request – #1

So I put in a FOIA request to the FBI looking for Carter G. Woodson. Not my first. That was George Basiliko. That led to bupkis. But I decided to give it another try with Carter G. Woodson. I got a response to go bug the National Archives with a couple of file numbers and the document below.

I was going to sit on this but the FBI’s eFOIA system got some crazy bug and sent me about 18 emails in the past 3 days. I have another non-Shaw related request (I’m curious about stuff) and was hoping it was about that. But nope. It took me a while but I discovered it was the same stuff I got before. It’s just one crazy duplicate email after another. And the FBI gives you 48 hours to click on the link if you want your document. I clicked the link and I got an error.

Instead of suffering in silence, I decided to blog about it. May as well write a post.

The above disappointing article is a very brief mention of Dr. Carter G. Woodson. I’m guessing it is FBI file 25-LA-330971 and this appears to be some African American paper where Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Elijah Muhammad had a column. EM mentions Woodson’s book Negro Orators and Their Orations, published in 1925.

When I get something from the National Archives, I might share it. If it is semi-useless as the newspaper clipping from the FBI, I probably won’t.

Memory Lane: 400 Block of Q St NW 2007

Taken December 12, 2007. 400 blk of Q St NW looking west towards NJ Ave NW.

Even as far back as 2007, there were bike lanes.


Memory Lane- 36 Florida Ave NW 2004


Taken on August 28, 2004 looking at 36 Florida NW.

Now there is a pop up on top. This is pre pop top.

Taken on August 28, 2004. On Unit block of FL Ave NW.

1920 to 1930- White to Black- 1729 New Jersey Avenue

1700 Block NJ Ave NW, 1930. Brown= AfAm residents; White= No data

In this series of looking at the odd numbered side of the 1700 block of New Jersey Ave NW from 1920 to 1930, I decided to look at the other end of the block. The change from 1920 to 1930 for most of the block was from white renters to black home owners. My post The sell off of the 1700 block of New Jersey Ave NW pretty much explains the why.

photo of property

The Renters

The couple renting 1729 NJ Ave NW was fairly old. The head, George P. Blair was 66 years old in 1920 and his wife, Annie (nee West) was 62. They lived with their two very adult sons and two adult daughters. George was born in Jessups Cut, MD in 1853 to Scottish or Irish parents. In 1910 the family lived at 631 T St NW when George Peter was a barber.

In 1920 George Sr. worked as a watchman for a dry goods store. His 37 year old son George P. Jr. was a clerk for a field service and 36 year old James Clinton Blair was a clerk at a furniture store. Thirty-three year old daughter Fannie May Blair was a sales woman at J M Gidding and Co. The youngest, Bernice, 23, did not have a job.

George Sr. died in 1927. He was survived by his wife and two surviving children, James and Bernice. James had moved to Cleveland, OH. Annie and Bernice, who worked as a cashier, lived on Girard St NW. Annie Blair eventually died, December 30, 1938 at 1114 Monroe Street NW at the age of 80.

The Owners

1729 NJ Ave NW (Sq. 507, lot 24) sold from M. Harvey Chiswell to Ida M. Smith then to Arthur B. Wall around February 1921. That same month Smith sold it to Arthur B. Wall, according to the Washington Herald.

However the earliest document found for lot 24 is from 1928 and the owner was Anna Grayson. There was a 1928 release for a February 12, 1921 loan Grayson had with Chiswell and Kite. In 1928 it appears she borrowed $3,400 from trustees Stuart V. Davis and Edward McDermott. She had other loans, but it was this one that was the instrument that allowed for the 1931 foreclosure and the transfer of ownership to Leo and Mavina Kahn.

The residents at 1729 NJ Av NW, according to the 1930 census, contained the African American Grayson family.  George W. Grayson, was the 62 year old head, Anna (nee Lee) was his 59 year wife. They lived there with their widowed son, 36 year old George Jr. and 28 year old daughter Mrs. Evelyn Chantrelle.

Prior to NJ Ave, the Grayson family lived at 1469 Church St NW as renters in 1920. They lived with their daughters and son-in-law. George Sr. was a laborer for a motor company. Anna was a housekeeper for a boarding house. Daughter Juanita was a waitress at a restaurant and husband Clifton W. Kelly was a paper cutter.

George Sr. died January 29, 1931 and it appears this was the thing to have the family fall apart. Remember this was the same year the Graysons lost the home to foreclosure. Anne died December 10, 1941. I looked for her in the 1940 census, but I can’t find her.

Memory Lane- Bloomingdale Farmers Market Sedated Sunday

Welcome to my Memory Lane posts, where I look at old photos of the neighborhood and remember. Today is the BFM- Bloomingdale Farmers Market. Yes, it is in another neighborhood, technically. But it’s right on the border with Truxton Circle and felt like a neighborhood amenity.

These were taken in 2007, so those were the early days of the BFM. I have a zillion more photos of the BFM. But let’s just start with these.

Taken on November 18, 2007. Drummer plays at Bloomingdale Farmers Market (BFM)
Taken on November 18, 2007. BFM. People with dogs. Tables of veggies.

1920 to 1930- White to Black- 1731 New Jersey Avenue

1700 Block NJ Ave NW, 1930. Brown= AfAm residents; White= No data

In this series of looking at the odd numbered side of the 1700 block of New Jersey Ave NW from 1920 to 1930, I decided to look at the other end of the block. The change from 1920 to 1930 for most of the block was from white renters to black home owners. My post The sell off of the 1700 block of New Jersey Ave NW pretty much explains the why.

The Renters
George & Ida Macintosh. Credit: Christy Rosario via Ancestry

In the 1920 census the 1731 NJ Ave NW was occupied by George MacIntosh and his family. George Williamson MacIntosh was a DC born White 37 year old ice cream truck driver. He lived there with wife, Mary Ida (nee Taylor) and their four of their eventual 12 children.

George was born July 15, 1882 to Ida Virginia (nee True) and Charles Richard MacIntosh in DC. In 1900 he was a 17 year old living with his mother Ida at 3101 K St  NW and a boarder.

I could not locate George’s location for 1910. So I looked for Ida. I found Ida in 1910 under another name. Ida Posey, who’d been married for 9 years but living with her parents at 1053 31st St NW with her 6 year old son and 1 year old daughter Agnes. Her father’s name looked familiar and I swore I’d seen James F. Taylor before. Then I looked at who else was in the house, 20 year old John Miller. There was a John Miller living next door in 1920 at 1733 NJ Ave, who also drove an ice cream truck. Were they some how related? Dunno. Not going down that rabbit hole.

The Owner

1731 NJ Ave NW (Sq. 507, lot 25) sold to Salvadora E. Smith by M. Harvey Chiswell  September 10, 1920. She used a loan from Chiswell’s brother W. Wallace Chiswell and developer Harry A. Kite, which Smith paid off in May 2023. July 2023 Ms. Smith took out a $2,300 loan from the Washington Loan and Trust Company. It appears she refinanced in 1931, talking out at $2,500 loan, then again in 1932 for $1000, and again in 1941 for $2,500 with Washington Loan and Trust. The home was sold after her death by her will’s administrator James P. Donovan.

So who was Salvadora Elizabeth Smith? According to the 1900 census she was an African American public school teacher who was born around 1863. She grew up at 440 Massachusetts Ave NW, in downtown DC. With the exception of their father, USCT Civil War veteran Moses Smith Sr, everyone was identified as ‘mullato’ in the household. Her father worked as a printer at the Government Printing Office and her mother was a homemaker. She attended Howard University, graduating from the Normal School in 1883 (PDF).

Looking up her background, it appears she purchased 1731 as a rental or investment property. In the 1930 census she was not there, instead there were renters. Nor was she on NJ Ave in 1940. When the Evening Star announced her death in May of 1942 it said she died at her residence at 460 Massachusetts Ave NW.

She is not getting the “Black Homeowners of TC” tag as I cannot prove she lived at 1731 New Jersey Avenue.