S.O.M.E. and cleaning

I’ve been meaning to mention something I’ve noticed, and despite the rocky relationship the neighborhood has with S.O.M.E., this should be mentioned. Several weekends when I’m running errands on the eastern end of the TC and NE DC I see a gentleman in a S.O.M.E. apron pushing along a cleaning cart sweeping up the sidewalks along North Capitol. I have seen him as far as the 100-200 block of P Street.
I’ve noticed this within the past year or so. In the earlier part of the decade, residents in the Hanover region would constantly complain about S.O.M.E. One of the complaints being about S.O.M.E. meal-related trash. Shall I gather things have gotten better?

Going to pot

I’m thinking gardening.
The problem is that I’m planning to paint the front of my house. Once I decide on which shade of color (creamsicle, pencil, kumquat) then I may hire someone to trample on whatever is growing in the ground in order to get the house painted. For those earlier crops they’re going to have to be in a pot, so I can move them out of the way.
Patio tomatoes were fair producers. They did well in mid sized pots and gave me some golf ball sized tomatoes at a slow steady pace.
The Emperor Bean produced a decent number of flowers and was very viney. I didn’t get a huge number of beans. I’m probably not going to grow them again.
Speaking of beans, I’ll definitely do the Parisian green bean again. Last night, celebrating Fat Tuesday, I had a wonderful meal at Corduroy, that had some wonderfully buttery green beans on the plate. So the meal made me think that those beans are worth an encore.
Despite the %$#@ squirrels digging up my seedlings, %$)^$ tree rats, I’m going to try for beets and onions again. This time I’m going to see about putting metal or plastic netting just below the surface to discourage digging.
There are a few things in the ground that will need to move to pots, lest they get trampled. The lavender and the arugula could stand to be moved. Then again, arugula is so easy to grow, I may just dig the plants up and give them to the lady down the street.
Considering how tiny my front yard is, there is a lot of life.

Neighborhood Clean up this weekend

Beautiful Streets

Saturday, February 28

10:00am – 12:00pm

Join your neighbors in our neighborhood clean-up.

DC’s Helping Hands will deliver supplies to 3rd and Bates at 10am to assist us in the clean-up.

Invite your neighbors and friends. Come out and meet some new ones too!

Age of a neighborhood

Reading through the digest versions of the MVSQ listserv* I noticed an announcement by Alex Padro for an event today at the Historical Society. Yet in his introduction, “Come explore the changing streetscape of one of Washington’s oldest neighborhoods…” bugged me. How old is Shaw? With some other neighborhoods the age is a no brainer. LeDroit Park and Eckington were built by developers and you just track the date down to the developer. Georgetown, was a town, with a town government.
With Shaw, there were houses and people in the area prior to the Civil War. But so far in my own dabblings I haven’t seen any reference to the area as ‘Shaw’ until the mid 20th Century. And the earliest was at best the boundaries for Shaw Jr. High, never mind the elementary schools and the high schools. Trying to tie it down by civic/citizen associations haven’t been helpful. Back when the ECCA (East Central Civic Association), played a real role in city life, it’s boundaries were all over the the place. But regardless, it did include great parts of present day Shaw east of 7th, as well as the Sursum Corda area, and eastern Mt Vernon Sq., and it’s an early 20th Century thing.**
So, how old is this neighborhood? How is that age determined and what is it based on?

*Believe me you’ll find listservs more manageable and keep your sanity by getting some discussion lists in one daily email.
**”East Central Civic Group Seeks Vote :Improved Housing, Clean Block Drive Also on Program.” The Washington Post,p. 17. 12/7/1940.

History resource

I’ve been playing with the relationship calculator to figure that whole 5th cousin twice removed thing. Anyway, not specifically Shaw related, but helpful in pinning down what portions of the US Census to look for former Shaw residents by street.
The One-Step Webpages by Stephen Morse are more helpful when you have a subscription to Ancestry. Yes, the same Ancestry.Com that maybe one day will digitize the material in the DC Archives. Maybe. Without the subscription it points you in the right direction.
There are other tools on the site that are useful if you’re looking into 19th and early 20th Century immigrants going through New York. It would be a great resource for people doing New York history. Unfortunately, I’m not doing New York history.

Milk, not the movie

I love Ebay, mainly because it is where I get a lot of clothes. It also has some other things relating to local history. Friends of mine who were involved with Save Our Seminary mentioned that they got some seminary related items off Ebay, which at times would put them in contact with people who had some sort of connection with the long closed girl’s school.
Looking on line for information for Embassy Dairy, a milk distributor that was at 1620 First Street NW, I found milk bottle collectors selling milk bottles from the dairy. It seems the place went by a couple of names. Fairfax Dairy was one name associated with that address, Green Meadows Dairy, was another.
Looking through Pro-Quest the dairy’s drivers had a bad habit of hitting local residents with their trucks. So that is one thing that makes me think that this workplace and industrial property wasn’t the greatest neighbor.
Currently, the Northwest Co-op sits on the block where the dairy existed.


I was going to write about the power outage in the eastern part of Shaw this morning, but I got an email through my local professional organization about a supposed deal between The Generations Network, Inc.(TGN), the company behind Ancestry.Com and the DC Archives.
Jonetta Rose Barras reports and is critical of the proposed deal. In short TGN wants to digitize DC Archive material and make it available for a fee on its website. Considering the poor access to materials at the DC Archives now, I think it is a good thing. Compared to the Library of Congress, National Archives, Washingtonia Room at the MLK library, and the Washington Historical Society’s archive/library, places that have posted hours, available staff and are set up to deal with researchers, the access is poor. Paid access is a step up from nearly no access. Better would be free access.
And Ancestry does provide some free access. There is the Social Security Death Index, which is helpful in finding dead DC tax payers. The Jewish Burial Index (DC) is free and the 1880 Census is free, with registration. Then again, one could just go to an institution where they have a subscription to the service and access all the databases there.
But the claim that the “‘physical and intellectual control’ of the city’s vast repository of historical records would be relinquished to an outside entity.'” as some elements of wrong in it. At worst DC would be loaning records for the purpose of digitizing. At best the digitization would be on-site or local. But once the digitization is done, the records go back on the shelves. The District of Columbia isn’t the first, and won’t be the last local goverment to have their records digitized by TGN.
I use Ancestry for work and research and the database has been very helpful, making quick work of some time consuming searches. And to make even my work easier by adding more D.C. items would make me so happy.

Armstrong, New York Ave, and neighborhood charity

Those two have nothing to do with each other except they are the emails I have flagged in my inbox.
First Armstrong. I guess I’m on the mailing list for this subject because I attended the BACA meeting that covered it and I guess this is the ‘getting back with the community’ part of that discussion. Anyway here was the notice that was sent out:

Dear Community,
On Thursday, February 19, 2009 at 7:00 pm at Armstrong School, Kent Amos, founder of the CAPCS education campus, will met with community for follow up discussion on his recent decision permitting Metropolitan Baptist Church use of the school for Sunday services. Senior Pastor Beecher Hicks also plans to attend. Please make every effort to come out and bring your questions and alternative ideas for addressing this community dilemma.
Light refreshments will be available. For further information, please contact me at 55O-O619* or by e-mail at adbonds g mail com*.
I’m looking forward to seeing you,
Anita Bonds

There have been a couple of ‘reply all’ emails concerning the upcoming meeting. One, going on the separation of church and state thread is a fruitless one. The relationship between the charter school and the church is that of landlord and tenant and not unusual. My best friend’s church rents out a PG County high school gym while they wait for their building to be done. Difference? High schools have way more parking than middle and elementary schools. And it is the parking that has raised the immediate resident’s ire. Second, sticking to the point of the matter, parking, and using the threat of strong parking enforcement may prove fruitful.
This weekend being so nice I rode my bike to church, taking my old route by the old location of Metropolitan Baptist. I could see the difference. When Metropolitan was on R Street, the streets were congested and there was almost ALWAYS someone blocking the bike lane. And the Washington Post newspaper vendor dude used to be on the corner. But no more. The streets around 13th and R were ‘normal’, no more crowded than 9th and R.
New York Avenue. It is websites like Stimulus Watch that make me think that the net was made for democracy. Apparently, the intersection at Florida and New York Avenue is to take up 8 millllllllyon dallahs. There is another New York Ave project also included but no detail of what NY Ave bridge. Anyway, I need someone to define ‘shovel ready.’ Seriously there must be a treeful of paper of studies on New York Avenue NE and NW and it’s various intersections that have never gotten past ‘oh look we have a study.’ After looking at the guts of some road studies (not New York Ave but other DC roads), the info in them goes bad quicker than a gallon of milk, which means after a few years…… you do another study (and the contractors who do studies say yay!). Seriously define ‘shovel ready’ because if it involves a study and community buy in and the other things that take up time and effort, it’s only shovelin’ manure.
Lastly, something good from the Eckington listserv:

Hi Neighbors,

Thank You!!! When members of our community were in need of support their neighbors stepped up to help out. The Stancil family has found an apartment to live in until repairs to their home are completed. Our efforts to raise funds and provide clothing was a great success. The community members, area churches and strangers that happened to read about the Stancil family at the Big Bear Cafe contributed $2,000 in cash, checks and gift cards. I had to make daily trips from the Big Bear to Emery with my Outback stuffed full of clothing donations. The Stancils were overwhelmed by the out pouring of support when they needed it the most. Any clothing the family can’t use will go to area clothing banks. We all face uncertainties with the economic crisis yet this community opened their hearts to help. Thank You!

we all work together, ted

*I made changes here.

Mural- Or more paint on houses

Multi-mural 2This mural is at the corner of 12th and W. Though interesting it does not come close to the great Watermelon mural of Q and 11th Sts NW.
I’m trying to talk one of my neighbors into slapping a mural on the side of his house. He’s an artist and has done murals before, so if the desire is there it can be done. However, his wife, who’ve I haven’t spoken to about a mural, might not be too keen on the idea.