Lunchtime Research: A bust

Citywide Damage Map 4-10-1968
Originally uploaded by justindc

Inspired by this map I thought it would be fun to go down to the library and see if any Truxton Circle area businesses disappeared because the riots.
I got nothing. I thought I had something but then realized, I had nothing. Comparing the 1967 city directory with the 1969 directory didn’t provide any glaringly interesting. A beauty parlor on the corner of R and New Jersey (where a fantasy French Bistro sits in my dreams) remained in business in both years.
I traced my finger down New Jersey and thought I found a huge gap. There were two commercial buildings, the Washington Building and the Evans Building, listed in the 1967 directory as being at 1434 and 1420 New Jersey. They were absent from the 1969 directory and I got excited and thought I had a find. Nope. Apparently the 1967 listing was a typo for both buildings as business and associations listed in 1967 were located in same named, same numbered buildings on New York Avenue in 1969. Then lunch was over.
The other problem was the fact that businesses go out of business for other reasons than a riot. Maybe if I had more time I could look at the 1965 directory as a base, track businesses that are shown in 1967 then see where they are (if they still were) in 1969. However that depends on a business being open for 5 years.

5 thoughts on “Lunchtime Research: A bust”

  1. would it be possible to find out some information about things that were destroyed in bloomingdale? there are a few big dots in our hood, and i think one of them is my apartment (which was gutted and redone only a couple years ago)

  2. Yes, it is possible to find out, however it would take more time than what I have leftover for lunch to do so.
    I’m going to guess the info is in the DC Archives, but since I’m not too sure about their research services and hours, I’m going to recommend the National Archives, Record Group 328 National Capital Planning Commission and see if you can get your hands on the post riot report.

  3. since you’re a professional researcher (and i’m the farthest thing from….thank god i have a researcher at work backing up everything i do!), can i get a couple of pointers, then i promise i won’t ask you to look any of this up for me?

    looking at that map, the thing that caught my eye was the “unsalvageable” dot that was placed at (what looks like) 1st and rhode island NW. which is a couple doors down from my apartment.

    now, how does one get to the national archives (where is the physical location?), then get to record group 328? i’m assuming i could figure it out from there…

  4. Info on going to the National Archives to do research can be found here:
    Basically you get your research card, you talk to an archives guy, who will advise you, then you go to a research room to put in a request, and someone goes and gets it for you.
    The archives guy (or possibly gal) who will advise you may tell you of other record groups and series that also have riot materials.

  5. If you are interested in reading about the riots I highly recommend “Ten Blocks from the White House: Anatomy of the Washington Riots of 1968,” by Ben W. Gilbert and the Staff of The Washington Post.
    It is out of print now, but I was able to get it used through Amazon. It was written right after the riots and has a lot of good information, photos, and maps of the affected areas.

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