For the ones who were here before

One of the comments on one of the gentrification posts mentioned that the neighborhood, after revitalization should go back to the “original residents”. My first thought was George Glorius? The whole block between FL, 4th, R and 3rd should go back to the heirs of florist George Glorius a German immigrant in 1880? Maybe the Native Americans who owned all of this before any of our ancestors got dumped here by ship or plane. Yes, I know that wasn’t what he meant. Maybe only the last 50 years count.
It got me thinking about place and space and ownership. Can any one group really own a geographical location forever? I’m not talking Middle Eastern levels of claims of ownership of place, but neighborhoods. How long will the once real Chinatown, now fake Chinatown, be fake Chinatown, before it is just Gallery Place? What claims do the Chinese-American Community have on that commercial section of town? And for how long?
There are plenty of houses in this town that date back to the mid-to-late 19th century. In the one and a half centuries that those houses have been standing just imagine the various families that have floated through. Your house may be haunted. Not by dead spirits but the lives lived in that place. And from my still incomplete research of Truxton, these lives were the lives of Irish laborers, Virginian clerks, African American laundresses, and German shopkeepers. They looked out the window you look out of and climbed the stairs you climb. Their weight pressed against the same floorboards and beams that carry you. Well, provided you or someone before you didn’t gut the whole place.
Yesterday was All Saints Day, the day for those who came before. Observing the day with a more secular outlook we can think of the Mt. Vernon Sq, Logan Circle, U Street, Blagden Alley, and Truxton Circle residents who lived here in 1880, 1930, 1950 and so on. And also know that we too will pass through, leaving our spirit and energy in the houses we work hard to maintain for the people who will come after.