Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Herman Hoffman- 505 3rd St SE

So just to get an idea to see if what I am seeing with the Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle is normal, or not, I am comparing them with white home owners.  I am looking at blocks that were over 90% white in 1950 but also in the same “red lined” zone, which was F1.

photo of property

Well, looking at the DC Recorder of Deeds site there really isn’t much going on with 505 E St SE. The first document is from 1933 where owner Herman R. Hoffman and wife Rose E. Hoffman transferred their property to Norman E. Daly, who immediately (w/ wife Nelly Daly) transferred it back to Herman, Rose and daughter Ione/Irene Hoffman. Aaaaaaaand nothing else happens until 1980 when the conservator of Rose Eva Hoffman’s estate, William L. Fallon, sells the property to George L. and Goldie L. Mamakos.

There are no mortgages, but there is a racial covenant in the two 1933 documents. It reads as:

“Subject to the covenants that hereafter no building or structure other than bay windows or porches shall be erected or constructed within a line drawn 12.85 feet from and parallel with the front or street line of said lot and that said property shall never be rented, leased, sold, transferred or conveyed unto any negro or colored person under a penalty of $2000.00 which shall be a lien against said property.”

It’s  unclear to me who the $2,000 ($46,671.23 in 2023’s money) would be paid to if the property was rented or sold to an African American. If there was a mortgage I’d assume it would have been the lender, but there is no lender here. The Hoffmans own it free and clear.You can wander over to Mapping Segregation DC’s site to learn more about DC racial covenants.

So who were the Hoffmans?

So let’s start with the 1920 census where then 37 year old, California born musician Herman Roy Hoffman lived with his wife Rose E. B. Herrler Hoffman, their 6 year old daughter Ione, and German mother-in-law Wilhemina Herrler at 505 3rd St SE.  He appeared again in the 1920 Census stationed at the Marine Barracks as a 1st Class Musician. So he was counted twice. He appears on several Marine Corp muster rolls as a 1st Class musician. He enlisted in 1907, starting off as a Private. Sometime around 1910 he became Musician Second Class and then 1st Class around 1915.

He married Rose Herrler May 1910 in Washington, DC. They had one daughter Ione, named after Herman’s sister, Ione R. Hoffman Symmes.

Music was a part of the family’s life. Herman taught and played the violin for children at the Friendship House and the YMCA. Ione was a mezzo soprano, contralto, and piano teacher. The pair appeared often in the local papers for performances around town.

Herman Hoffman died February 13, 1949 after a short illness at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery.

6 thoughts on “Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Herman Hoffman- 505 3rd St SE”

  1. The lack of constant refinancing is interesting.

    There is an exit/voice problem here to an extent. A white homeowner in a “red-lined” area would be equally disadvantaged in a sale. Lack of ability to finance a new property would mean lower sales value. That said, they did have options (exit) that an equalivent black homeowner would not have until the 1970s. So turning to ways to extract equity are understandable.

    Also shows why banks were actually eager to lend in “red-lined” areas as they make money off interest and fees; these were some of the best customers.

    Again we all need to go back to the original idea of red-lining, which was when the federal government stepped in with a 30 year mortgage guarantee, they also wanted to make sure they were lending to an asset that would not lose money.

    We are in the same boat today; the “affordable” i.e income limited condo for sale have the same set of issues. Terrible deal for most buyers as they can’t get any equity appreciation. If you don’t have steady equity appreciation, the taxes and condo fees will quickly eat away at your equity sooner than renting.

  2. Yeah, when there isn’t a bunch of refinancing it is an easier post, sometimes. It happens occasionally among the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle. There is a WSIC post in the hopper where someone buys a WSIC house, pays off the mortgage and it stays in the family for many decades. I comes crashing down when a inheriting family member mistakes the house for an ATM and loses it to foreclosure.
    Thanks for commenting.

    1. and thank you for all the WSIC posts — if there is a way to put them up on a map I think it would be easier to visualize. Just two cents from a reader, but I understand you’ve already done a ton of work on this.

      1. That might require a skill set I do not possess. I have a spreadsheet where I check off some addresses, but some addresses I pick from if I see I hadn’t done it. Maybe when I get ALL of the WSIC properties, I can see if there are some tools to use to add links to a map.
        Do you know of any such tools?

  3. no — not a graphics expert!

    But what would be very cool is too see how WSIC got transferred to owners, then foreclosed, bought by slumlords and then by DC.

    I am also thinking of the often told story by title agents in DC of people living in houses in Shaw where the last owner died in 1948 and it’s been tied up since then. Again starting to think that is more of an urban myth — although I’ve seen it happen in the land records. Think churches where nobody can find a title. But it also sounds like title agents would blanch in fear of the various small transfers that you have been documenting; too much work to figure out who owns what for the title fees.

    Again maybe the WSIC houses are an exception because there isa clear break when they got transferred.

    1. Somewhere there is a document where Basiliko sold several WSIC properties to RLA but I can’t find it in the records. It goes from Basiliko transferring it from he and his wife to Basiliko Inc or whatever and then nothing and then RLA is selling it off to some private entity.

      There are way more foreclosures with the WSIC houses when compared to the regular Black Home Owners of WSIC and the odd white homeowners in Capitol Hill and G’town I look at for comparison.

      Thanks for being a reader.

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