WSIC-1950 Sell Off-229 Bates Street NW

The Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) was a late 19th century charitable capitalism experiment that ended in the 1950s. This blog started looking at the homes that were supposed to be sold to African American home buyers, after decades of mainly renting to white tenants.

photo of property

Looking at WSIC properties they tend to have a pattern where the properties were sold to a three business partners, Nathaniel J. Taube, Nathan Levin and James B. Evans as the Colonial Investment Co. for $3 million dollars. Those partners sold to African American buyers. There was usually a foreclosure. Then the property wound up in the hands of George Basiliko and or the DC Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA). Then there was the odd lucky ones who managed to avoid that fate.

Let’s look at the history of 229 Bates St NW:

  • January 1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sold 229 Bates St NW to Samuel and Annie D. Hagins. It doesn’t appear that they sold half, but the whole house.
  • 1/4/1951 the Hagins borrowed $6,050 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • July 1954 the Hagins sold half of 229 Bates St NW back to Evans, Levin and Taube.
  • October 1955 the Hagins lost their half to foreclosure and Evans, Levin and Taube regained the property via an auction.
  • March 1959 Evans, Taube, their wives and Levin’s survivors sell the property as part of a larger package to Sophia and George Basiliko.
  • July 1970 the Basilikos sell the property to the District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency.

This was a new one for me. Typically, Evans, Levin and Taube sold half of the property to families. There were problems with this. The few sales I’ve seen of these half properties to other individuals seems to have failed most of the time. The property either winds up in foreclosure or it gets sold to a party that owns the other half. In this, they started off selling the whole property, but then bought back half.

So who were the Hagins who bought 229 Bates St NW and lost it? In the 1950 census they lived at 1746 18th Ave NW as lodgers of George Green. They were both African Americans from Georgia. He was a 21 year old baggage porter working for the railroad, she was 22.