Memory Lane: December 26, 2005 1600 Blk of 4th St NW

Taken December 26, 2005. View of 300 Block of Q St NW from 1600 blk of 4th.

Happy Boxing Day.

A quick look at this photo taken in 2005 shows the block before the Fourth St Friendship Seventh Day Adventist church built their modern wing. It appears ground had been broken and fencing was up.

Taken December 15, 2007. Modern wing.

Black Homeowners of TC Sq 509E 1920-1950

The period between 1920 and 1950 seems so short, but those are the years where the DC Recorder of Deeds records and the US Census overlap so I can find the Black people who owned their homes. After 1950 it gets a little hard to get in depth info on people. Prior to 1920, I don’t get the same level of accurate information about home owners.

I mapped out which of the homes on Square E. 509 which were at one time owned by an African American resident:

Blue denotes which houses were once owned by Black home owners between 1920-1950.

This table has the addresses with links to the blog post about that home owner.

House # Street Head Surname Head 1st name
1628 4th St Brooks Lucinda
1616 4th St Darden Herman
1612 4th St Richardson Chester
1636 4th St McLean Daisie Mae
1632 4th St Penny Louise
1630 4th St Jackson Edna
1616 4th St Lee Lula
1612 4th St Richardson Chester
1606 4th St Logan Mary
1604 4th St Branham Clementine
1600 4th St Walker Johnnie
1602 4th St Evans Bennie L
1605 New Jersey Ave Bellows Nannie
1607 New Jersey Ave Broadus Wallace
1613 New Jersey Ave Harrison William
1627 New Jersey Ave Lomax Ernest
1629 New Jersey Ave Thomas Carrie H
1605 New Jersey Ave Bellows Nannie
1601 New Jersey Ave Broadus Wallace
1613 New Jersey Ave Jones Rufus
1607 New Jersey Ave Broadus Bessie
1611 New Jersey Ave Hollaway Olinian
1613 New Jersey Ave Jones Lucy E W
1627 New Jersey Ave Downing Virginia
1645 New Jersey Ave Dyson Sidney
1643 New Jersey Ave Freeman Frank
1605 New Jersey Ave Bellows Pauline
408 R St Wheeler James H
410 R St Broadus James R
410 R St Broaddus James R
406 R St Strother Maggie Taylor
402 R St Wilson Virginia
408 R St Wheeler Mayme
408 R St Wheeler James H

Sq. 507- What a difference a decade makes 1920 vs 1930

One of the things I noticed with the change in Truxton Circle from 1920 to 1930, was that the neighborhood went from being a racially mixed neighborhood to being a predominately African American neighborhood. One of the places where this change was obvious was on square 507, along the 1700 block of New Jersey Avenue NW.

A stretch of the block that was 100% white in 1920:

1700 blk New Jersey Ave NW, 1920. Orange= White residents; White= No data

…became 100% African American in 1930:

1700 Block NJ Ave NW, 1930. Brown= AfAm residents; White= No data

I wondered why and looked for a reason. The reason may be buried among some of my old posts that I have yet to uncover and repost. I have some gaps between April 2010 and December 2013, and somewhere in there is a post, I swear, about a woman who lived on the block with her sons and I traced them to 1930. By that time Rosalie Flynn (maybe her name, maybe not) had either moved to Virginia or died and one of her sons had moved to the Atlanta area, married and was a lawyer.

So the reason for why one white household left the neighborhood was that people move on.

Many of you are not in the same place you were 10 years ago. A census is every 10 years. People grow up. They get married. Their career takes them to another city or town or even country. Some die. In urban areas, like Washington, DC, people are always moving around.



Memory Lane: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Taken December 20, 2013. 1600 blk of 4th St NW

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

Memory Lane: Billboards on New Jersey Ave


Taken 11/15/2008. Looking north on the 1400 Block of New Jersey Ave NW

If you look where the condos at P and 4th/New Jersey NW are, there are two highway billboards. I believe one is advertising the movie Tinker Bell.

When I look back at the post Oh what could have been- a plan to destroy the TC and the map of the plan to have a multilane highway through Truxton Circle. I wonder if the billboards were placed there to take advantage of commuter traffic?

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- Taking a Break

I have written up 100+ histories of former Washington Sanitary Improvement Company houses. I’m sure this is getting boring for the few of you who are reading these histories. It’s getting very repetitive for me.

Looks like Bates St NW looking towards 3rd St NW.

I don’t plan on stopping, just taking a break to look at other Truxton Circle stories and maybe related WSIC players. I’m all about tedious research, and getting into the details most gloss over, but I need to shake it up a little.

Doing this work has improved some of my research skills. I’d like to revisit some stories I’ve told before.

I’ll return with more WSIC-1950 Sell Off- TC Address posts after Black History month.

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 1539 3rd 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.

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 were the odd lucky ones who managed to avoid that fate.

photo of property

Let’s see what happens with 1539 Third St NW:

  •  January 1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sold one-half of 1539 3rd St NW to Florence and John H. Green Jr.
  •  January 1951 the Greens borrowed $3,525 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • December 1950 (recorded January 18, 1951) Evans, Levin, and Taube sold the other half of 1539 3rd St NW to Virginia M. Lewis.
  • Dec 1950 Ms. Lewis borrowed $3,375 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • November 1954 the Greens lost their half to foreclosure and the property returned to Evans, Levin, and Taube via an auction.
  • November 1961, Harry Badt (new member of Colonial Investment Co.), Evans, Taube, Levin’s survivors, and their spouses sold the foreclosed half to Sophia and George Basiliko.
  • February 1965, Virginia M. Lewis was released from her mortgage.
  • May 1976 Virginia and William Green sell their half of 1539 3rd St NW to George Basiliko, Inc., having the whole property is under one owner.
  • Sometime between 1978 and 1981, Basiliko sold the property to Bates Street Associates Limited. Possibly it was sold to the DC RLA who then transferred it to Bates Street Assoc. Limited.

Okay now I’m curious. What are the odds that a woman who owns half of the property winds up marrying someone with the same surname as the other owners?

So looking on Ancestry, there were several Virginia M. Lewises living in Washington, DC in 1950. But only one was Black. The Afro-American Virginia M. Lewis was a 40 year old divorced woman who lived at 1108 Florida Ave NE for the 1950 census. She was listed as the head of household, working as a nurse for the District government. She lived there with her three adult daughters, Dorothy L., Juanita M. and Mary V. Lewis. A 63 year old waiter named William C. Thomas was listed as her “partner”, Hazel R. Foster and the Mitchells (all between the ages of 22-37) were listed as lodgers.

photo of property
1108 FL Ave NE

From what little I can find on Ms. Lewis she was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1910.

I’m not sure about the Greens. I can find a John A. Green married to a Florence Green, but not John H. Those Greens lived at 118 S St NW in 1917-1918. I’ll leave it there since there is not much to go on.