Appreciation to those who came before

The Bladgen Alley blog Baanc Blog has posted a picture of 1258 10th Street NW back in the late 80s. It’s so depressing looking. Gawd, would you want to live across the street from that? Next door?
There were parts of the eastern parts and mid parts of Shaw that looked like that when I was house hunting in 2000. Somewhere off U Street was a place I called the house of the ugly people. The block of the ugly people was kinda run down too. Now. As 1258 10th Street is now, it has come a long way, being a bit beyond my economic level. But then again my own house is beyond my economic level, good thing I bought it when I did.
Looking at the roughly 20 year difference in the pictures just makes me thankful for all those who stuck it out, those who tried and held back the decay as long as they could before retreating to save their sanity, and especially those who tried to make the neighborhood better but lost their sanity/ patience/ money/ life in the process. I’m on my block because of my neighbors L&D and Miss B who came 15-20 years before me, who fought against the drug dealing, pleaded with the city for services, and on their own tried to make their and their neighbors’ home a little oasis. I’m thankful to the neighbors, no longer on the block, like Pam & John, who did their part, said ‘I’m done’ and retreated to the suburbs or other parts of the city to recover.

2 thoughts on “Appreciation to those who came before”

  1. I hear you on “those who tried and held back the decay” — I am a newcomer who has benefitted from that long evolutionary period of returning a fragmented set of houses to being a neighborhood. Unfortunately, the person who bought 1258 did not appear to be working with the good of the neighborhood at heart: He/she has had two stop work orders posted, the first because they were working without any exterior permits — and still they raised the roof four feet, changed the window sizes, put in new exterior doorways and put on framing for porches/decks. Those of us who watched this too-fast, unpermitted work thought with pity of the person who might ultimately buy this house. A slip-shod development job can be just as detrimental — and disrespectful — to the neighborhood as a falling-down house. The speedy stop-work response of DCRA and the Historic Preservation Office is another heartening testament to how things have changed for the good of the neighborhood.

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