1897 LeDroit Park & Eckington

According to the 1897 Report of [the] Commissioners of [the] District of Columbia there were:
Eck’ West…….381……9
Eck’ Central….204……22
Le Droit……..1,721….146

These areas are villages as they are outside of the Old City boundaries (north of what is currently Florida Ave). This is how you remember what is Shaw and what isn’t. These “villages” are outside of the Old City. Houses outside the borders are more likely to have these things we call yards and their own 4 walls.
Yes, it seems I’m on a history bent this week. What does this have to do with Shaw and gentrification. Shaw…. I’ll talk about Shaw later, maybe put up some tax maps from 1880. On gentrification, well I like poking around and looking at the demographic data and seeing that the city is ever changing. Gentrification around here is a kind of change with the aspect of race thrown in.
The big census project I have been working on is on hold until after September. I want to see if Shaw, or at least the TC changed from predominately white to black quickly or slowly, and how.

Florida Market

July Florida Market Booty

All this for $10 bucks! I really enjoyed the Florida Market tour with Elise and Richard (of Frozen Tropics and Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space respectfully). I have been in some of the places before, but there were places on the tour I haven’t been to and then went back after the two hour(ish) tour ended.
Not shown is the $40 of stuff bought at A. Litteri’s . When I got home I was hot and hungry so I ate the sub and drank the root beer. The rest of it was 4 bottles of wine (including a cheap Prosecco) some frozen stuffed pasta, and dried pasta. If I bought more I ate it and don’t remember what it was.
Anyway, good tour, I will definately head back again. Also, though the Councilman Orange wants to use eminant domain to be rid of the place, I don’t see him as a danger as he isn’t going to win the mayorial race, so it doesn’t matter what he thinks. It does matter what Fenty or Cropp and whomever wins the Ward 5 seat thinks. The market, though chaotic and at times smelly is a valuable asset to the northern part of the city.

Update: due to some comment spam that keeps attacking this post comments are closed.

Edited 12/21/23- Replace Flickr photo with one hosted on site

Economics play a part

Last week I read with some perverse delight a paragraph in the Post:

Then, in 1950, Congress passed the Old Georgetown Act “to preserve and protect places of historic interest,” but it had the effect of making Georgetown’s gentrification legally enforceable. It was pushed through despite fears from “Negro groups,” The Washington Post reported at the time, that it “might drive them from the area.” Less than a decade later, Georgetown’s black population had dwindled to fewer than 3 percent, and in 1972 The Post noted that fewer than 250 remained, “so few that some Georgetown residents are unaware they are there.”
–From Georgetown’s Hidden History, Washington Post 7/16/06 B01

As some of you may know I am a bit distrustful of some historic preservation efforts, and I’ve said that HP does hurt poor people. Yet Georgetown is a place that did need historic preservation because of it’s old housing stock, notable residents, unique history, etc. At the time, I gather “black = poor” or not financially able to deal with the new demands the Old Georgetown Act HP placed on the African American community in G’town.
Later in the Post there was “For Whites in Prince George’s, a Mirror on Race County’s Black Affluence Reverses Roles“. Interesting but not really the same thing. If I wanted to throw the “historic” element into PG County then I’m looking at those white pockets of the county like “Old Town” College Park and “Historic” Riverdale and “Historic” Hyattsville, and maybe “Historic” Greenbelt. I’m not sure about Greenbelt because I haven’t been in that area in the day, when people are just mulling about. There are other pockets, but for the most part when I’m in PG County, it is the land of the Black middle class. As the article says, when whites move into parts of PG, that gentrification thing doesn’t occur. The home prices in some spots are already up there, so if they get pushed up any further then that’s just icing on the cake.
So that has me concluding that it is economics and not race that plays more of a role in gentrification. Maybe Historic Preservation may play a part. I’d need to check the census and figure out where all the “Historic” towns with HP rules are and play with the two. But that’s PG and I’d rather focus in on the city.

Look what I found: Georgetown

While trying to make sense of another posting that I haven’t published I was doing a wee bit of research and came across something in the August 10, 1955 Post:

“THE TAGS Jean Moran uses for the four dining rooms in hers and Georgetown’s (much needed) new restaurant! It is called “The Espionage”….”

1955 and a writer, Mary Van Rensselaer Thayer, is getting excited about a “much needed” new restaurant in Georgetown. Now it has more restaurants than you can shake a stick at. [Mari wildly shakes a twig]. That bit of excitement, seems to be the same kind of hopeful excitement and desire that’s over on this end of Shaw today. But will we have to wait 1/2 a century?

On this site in 1850, nothing happened

You know I should make better research notes. Or I should leave bibliographic info with the photocopies…. bad librarian. Bad. Anyway, off the top of my head this map is a scanned copy, of photocopy, of a negative copy, of a map that is of the city circa 1850ish. And if I looked hard enough and if it is cataloged by the Library of Congress, I could find the bibliographic info I should have to say who drew the map and so forth. It’s pre-Civil War.
The two light lines are Boundary (Florida) and New York. The squiggly line is a creek. The square numbers are the same square numbers we have today and if you notice…. not a lot of structures. On the negative copy it is easier to see marsh or not-dry-land.
With that in mind I would not even dare call this area, that later became the TC a neighborhood. Heck, I don’t even know if I could call it a community.

Also check out this view of the map.
UPDATE: Better map .

Updated 12/21/23 for bad image links

Square 507 circa 1880 map

This I found at the MLK Library’s Washingtonia Division on microfilm, from the tax rolls, or tax survey, whatever. There was another frame with assessments that said what had a structure on it or if it were brick or a framed structure, but I was too cheap to make a copy. Cheap, or in a hurry or the copy part of the microfilm reader was screwed up. Any of those is possible.

Blagden meeting

| Blagden Alley Association |
| Monthly Meeting |
| |
| –> Candidates Forum <-- |
| |
| THURSDAY, July 27, 2006 |
| 7:30-9:00 pm |
| Paul Harrison’s |
| 932 O Street, NW |

The newsletter is at


The top contenders for

City Council Chair, and
At-Large Councilmember

in the September Democratic Primary election
have been invited to the biennial forum.

Most have replied positively. (That means they said yes,
but they are all doing thousands of things
these days.) Historically, most will be there.
We have lots of votng homeowners.
Candidates like that.

So the topic is politics.

American U is an expensive school

The DC metro area has some 30 odd schools. Some of I had heard about before I arrived here, like Georgetown, Howard, George Mason and Univ of Maryland (Go Terps!). I did know about American as it was the school I briefly looked at when looking around for a graduate history program. Brief as in I saw the price tag and never gave it another fleeting thought.
I inwardly cringe when I talk to people going to American who are also struggling financially. I keep thinking of the associate I knew, whose parents were always struggling, and she went to American and had to drop out just short of graduation. Complete waste of money. If she was going to a state school the grants and other aid would have covered her. When reading today’s op-ed bit in the Post, I was a little sympathetic of the author till I read that she was attending American. I disagree with her that graduate school is for the wealthy. That is the beauty of state education and the importance of making sure local state (or District) governments support higher education. Compared to private education state schools are great value for money. Also, several years after you’ve gotten your degree no one gives a crap of where you’ve gone to school anyways.
As far as funding graduate education goes it depends on the program. Society needs some degrees more than others and some programs produce more graduates than there are jobs for, and so it is not in society’s best interest to indiscriminately produce a lot of specialists. Depending on the program, there may be graduate assistantships (GA) with tuition reimbursement and a stipend, scholarships and grants. Then there are loans. Those really make you think and ask, is it worth it? And if you are not willing to invest in yourself, why should anyone else? I made the investment, and it was worth it. Also it helps to avoid the expensive school in the expensive neighborhood.

I heart IKEA

This morning the new IKEA 2007 catalog appeared with my Washington Post. Which is totally wonderful because some idiot on Craigslist is trying to sell his copy for $20.
IKEA is great. Yes, I know some of you have forsaken IKEA, dismissing it as cheap and common, and whatever. But that’s the best part of IKEA, it is cheap and it is good design for the common man. I’m at IKEA almost every week. Mainly because the College Park IKEA (really it is Beltsville) has live jazz on Wednesdays from 6pm-8pm and my friends go there to dance (yes, because we’re weird and shameless) and eat .99 cent pasta (only available after 6pm).
Also one of the better things about IKEA, that works for people like me is that they seem to understand small spaces. Not everything has to be huge. When you walk through the showroom notice the “rooms” and how so much can be squeezed in a small amount of square footage.
IKEA song
IKEA Hackers