Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Frieda Humpries- 215 E Street SE

I’m going to try something new. For a few years I have been looking at the African American home owners of Truxton Circle. As a part of it, I look at land records and then I get confused. I wonder if the borrowing activities are unique to Black home owners. So I am looking at DC white home owners from another part of DC that isn’t a “suburb” like Adams-Morgan.

According to the 1950 census German immigrant Frieda (nee Bohraus) Humphries lived at 215 E Street SE. She worked at a hospital for a number of years as a seamstress and as an office clerk. Looking at the land records she owned 215 E St SE prior to 1923. She took out very few loans. Because a release (cancelling/payment of loan) in 1923 we are aware of a few loans Frieda and then husband George Milton Humphries made in 1913 and 1915. However, according to the 1920 census they were renting 2310 Pennsylvania Ave NW.

George was a carpenter turned auto mechanic. They married in 1905, a month after she arrived in Baltimore from Europe. At some point prior to 1930 the marriage failed. She was listed as a widow in the 1930 and 1950 census but George didn’t die until the 1970s. They had two children, Carl W. and Cara/Cora Humphries.

During the years at 215 E St SE, as head of the household Frieda housed relatives and lodgers. In 1930 she lived with her children, son-in-law James Bristow, sister in law Myrtle Humphries, and two roomers Sidney S. Ball and Erma Brewer. In 1940 it was just her daughter, sister-in-law and a lodger William M. Hobbs.

For the 1950 census the home appears to be 3 units. Frieda, her daughter and new son-in-law Malcolm N. Walters, a house painter, lived in the first unit. Reginald and Gertrude Burns from West Virginia lived in the second unit. Divorced Pentagon telephone operator Alice C. Jennings, her son William F. and her brother George Myers, a mechanic, lived in the 3rd unit.

Mrs. Humphries took out a loan in her name of $2,500 at 6% interest from the Permanent Building Association in 1925. That loan was settled in 1943. The next document came in 1960 when she sold the property to Sharon and Thomas Lias. Frieda was 79 years old at the time of the sale.