Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Christina A. Mack

Okay let’s get back to the blog’s usual material, church surveys and a quick look at African American home owners.

There are only a few records for 107 O St NW where Christina A. Mack lived. She was listed as a home owner in the 1920 census. The problem with the address is that it is one of those places in the TC that no longer exists and has been absorbed into another property. It is now part of Armstrong’s campus.

Portion of Sq. 553

So there are three records for 107 O St NW or Sq.553 lot 129. The first is a release, not a deed, from 1924 and it seems to transfer the property from Christina and Thomas W. Mack to Albert F. Fox a trustee. The other two documents were deeds, one for 1930 and the other for 1931 which transferred the property to the District of Columbia.

In the 1920 census Mr. Thomas Mack, her husband is missing. She is listed as married and the head of household. The only other Thomas W. Mack is her 12 year old son. But with the land record we know he exists.

Mrs. Mack seems to only appear in the 1920 census. I could not locate her in the 1930 census nor the 1910 census. There is a reason why I couldn’t find her in the 1930 census, she died June 1925. After going another route, I found her and her son and daughter, living with her brother Eli Brooks and his wife in 1910.

I was able to find out what happened to Christina by looking for her son Thomas W. Mack (Jr?). His World War II draft card showed him living at 801 N St NW with his sister Eunice Viola Rabb. I also noticed on his draft card the words “Deceased” written at the top.

1969 Proposal to make the Co-op, FL Ave Park- Square 551 as we know it

From the history pile. I don’t know if I had posted this particular document, but I think I posted something about the change that happened with Sq. 551, but Can’t find it.

For those of you who don’t know, Sq. 551 is the large block bounded by 3rd St, R St, Florida Ave, 1st St, and Q St NW. Prior to urban renewal and the change it was a collection of alley dwellings, townhomes, commercial buildings and warehouses. Now it is the Northwest Co-operative, the Florida Avenue Park and the Mt. Sinai Baptist Church property. There are no private homes on that block.

The document below, dated October 27, 1969 proposes getting rid Continue reading 1969 Proposal to make the Co-op, FL Ave Park- Square 551 as we know it

Rando Bloomingdale History- List of properties owned by George N. Beale

I don’t feel like writing a big intro. I had this piece of paper in my pile. It isn’t Shaw history. It isn’t Truxton Circle history. It’s a letter and a table list from January 1920 from the estate of George N. Beale.

DcHistory Bloomingdale Prop… by Mm Inshaw

Crank File- Rita Raymond of 1514 5th St NW

I’ve been holding on to this file out of respect for the ‘crank’ in the file. The crank was Rita Raymond, also known as Carolyn Phillips, aka Mary Dorn, aka Carolyn Mullen. I’m going to guess she’s dead by now. In 1948 she was arrested and released to the custody of her father. The next year, 1949 she was charged with petit larceny, so I’ll assume she was an adult. It’s 2021, she should be dead by now.

Rita Raymond’s Rap Sheet

At one point in time Rita lived at 1514 5th St NW and going by the name Mrs. Carolyn Phillips. She wrote a letter in 1963 from this address complaining about other people, including a woman who lived in her building. It seems that in 1963, this house (now worth over a million) was a rooming house.

When I first read this I thought she was a busybody neighbor. But as I read her file and saw her rap sheet (above), I realized she was suffering from mental illness. Continue reading Crank File- Rita Raymond of 1514 5th St NW

The Uniqueness of the 1957 Church Survey

Over the past few years I have been publishing bits and pieces of the 1957 Church Survey [of the] Northwest Urban Renewal Area on this site. This was a very unique survey and it was not repeated again.

The 1957 survey was a look at churches in what was the Northwest Urban Renewal area. This area’s boundaries were roughly, starting at the southern border I and 15th Street to NY Ave to Mt. Vernon Square, to Massachusetts Ave,¬† 2nd St NE, Florida Ave, then 15th St NW to the west.

The quality of the individual church surveys have varied. New Hope Baptist had nothing worth writing home about and churches like Mt. Sinai and First Rising Mount Zion have more information.

There was another survey in 1970. It wasn’t as rich as the 1957 survey. Churches in Shaw: A Report of the Survey of Churches in the Shaw Urban Renewal Area of Washington, D.C., 1970 , seen below, does not look at each and every individual church. The churches are all lopped together in one report.

The 1970 report does have a useful appendix of the churches that still exist as of Continue reading The Uniqueness of the 1957 Church Survey

54 Hanover Street NW- 1923

The address is actually 54-64 Hanover Street NW, which is a warehouse. And I will say was a warehouse in 1923 when the below correspondence was written.

DC History HanoverBus Corr1923 by Mm Inshaw

Not sure what the deal was as I only have the two letters. Both letters are from H. Jeffrey. It looks like he changed his business name, or at least used different letterhead in February and May of 1923 when writing to the Rent Commission of the District of Columbia. In February it was H. Jeffrey And Company, an import, government surplus, chemical, drugs and oils business. In May he was apparently running a paper box company with the Columbia Specialty Paper Box Company.

55 P St NW- bad rental in 1923

photo of property

I’ve been reaching into the pile and today I have a letter from 1923 regarding poor living conditions at 55 P St NW in the TC. The initial letter was from Walter W. Brown who wrote to the Rent Commission. The Rent Commission responded to him about paying rent but did not address the living conditions.

Feb 19 1923 Letter RE 55 P St NW by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

The Brown family appears in the 1920 census. We find Mr. Walter W. Brown, a 49 year old African American driver, living with his wife Lizzie, and their minor sons and daughter, adult daughters and one son-in-law. They are renters.

In the letter Brown writes that he lives a 55 Pea St NW. People did cute things like that, calling Q St, Que St, I St, Eye St, and the like. I hadn’t seen anyone call P St Pea St before. Anyway, at 55 P St, the plaster was falling down in various parts of the house, there was no septic and the stove was broken.

Mr. Brown mentions a Mr. Schwartz at 724 15th St NW. I checked the 1923 city directory and the inhabitants of that address was Schwartzell Rheem & Hensey Co. a real estate company. Were the realtors or property managers letting the house go to pot so they could get rid of the renters, rehab it and rent it at a higher price? I don’t know.

According to the Tax Assessment office, what is currently at 55 P St NW, was built in 1924. I could only find one permit for that lot pre- 1958. The earliest record I can find for Sq 615 lot 163 is from 1944. That was when Fred D. Geisler purchased the property. So it could be a completely different house.

I checked the Library of Congress to see if the lot number changed. The 1919 map shows lot 163. where lot 163 should be, with a brick house on it.

So that’s that.



Property Owners of TC- Harry L. Black

This was an earlier post, but I noticed it didn’t have an address.

So today’s owner from the 1933-1934 General Assessment snippet for Sq. 551, the block the NW Co-op and Mt. Sinai sit, is Harry Black (1884-1945). According to the snippet he owned lot 859. But a search of the Recorder of Deed records show he owned lots, 144-148, 154 and 155, which he bought from Dennis Lawrence of NYC in 1931. He also bought lot 218 from Warren F. and Maud G. Brenizer in 1922. Then other lots, 156-157 from two separate people in 1926. Lot 182 from Allen C. Clark in 1927. Lots 149-153 from William and Adelaide E. Muehleisen.

Lots 144-157, 191, 218-219 were alley facing properties, so I have no street for it.

Image not found

Lots 182, 224, 226 and 227. I can’t find them on the 1919 Baist map.

Lot 221 was on 1st St NW, but the number was somewhere between 1618 and 1630 1st St NW.

So what do we know about this real estate mogul? Harry Leslie Black was born in MoCo, married to Nora Elliot (1881-1955), and as far as I can tell had no children. In the 1930 Census he’s a Dairyman, working for a dairy. So when he sells many parcels (more than listed above) of land to Fairfax Farms Dairy, Inc. it makes sense. He was listed as a proprietor in one census, so was he bought out? Was he planning on retiring from the dairy biz anyway? Was he an investor in Fairfax Farms Inc?

In an earlier version of this post I wrote that the Blacks lived near Truxton Circle, in Bloomingdale, at 52 Adams Street NW. On this go around I found him at 108 Florida Avenue NW when he was registered for the World War I draft. Sometime after Harry retired they were living way up near Friendship Heights at 3640 Fessenden St. NW, when he registered for the Second World War draft.

We’re getting close to the end of this series. Well maybe a season. I will get back to Black Homeowners of the TC and focus on 1930 and 1940 home owners.


Black Home Owners of TC- George W. Turner

In the 1920 census George W. Turner lived at and owned  218 P St NW (Sq. 553, lot 0089). He was (Culpeper) Virginia born carpenter who lived with his wife Lizzie B.(nee Wallace), his nephew William T. Turner and brother in law Moses J. Woods.
photo of property
The land records have him purchasing 218 P St NW in 1922 from the survivors of Herbert A. Gill. Then not a whole lot happens. It appears that Turner did not borrow against the house. There is a document in 1922, then the next record is from 1954, when he sells the house to pool hall owner Harvey Washington Banks and his wife Nettie Lee Jackson Banks.

Prior to 218 P St NW he lived at 1026 New Jersey Avenue NW with his wife and nephew William T. Turner in 1910. Before that, according to the 1900 census, he and Lizzie lived in Culpeper, VA with their 11 year old daughter Rosa and brother in laws Major J. and Russell Wood. In May 1898 he married Lizzie in Alexandria, VA.

He was living with his wife and other relatives in the 1920 census. In 1930 he was listed as a widower and was just him and his brother in law, Moses. In 1930 he was 60 years old and like Jesus went from carpentry into ministry. The next census, the 1940 census, he did not list any occupation. His brother in law was replaced by a family of lodgers, the Hensens of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and New York.


1957 Church Survey: Mt. Airy Baptist Church- Rando Church Not in Shaw

This is part of a series where I look at churches that were surveyed in the 1957 Northwest Urban Renewal Area Church Survey. No other survey has been done since.

Today’s entry is Mt. Airy Baptist Church currently at 1100 North Capitol Street NW, was in 1957 at 17 L St NW… which is kinda where the building sits. It’s not in Shaw, it’s over in the NoMa area.

It still is, and was then, an African American church. It was a large church with about 1,300 members. They had a large under 18 population and the majority of the members were white collar workers. About 40% of the members lived in the Northwest survey area, whereas the 60% majority lived in other parts of the District.

CS 5 Mt Airy Baptist by Mm Inshaw