1920 to 1930- White to Black- 1741 New Jersey Avenue

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

In this series of looking at the odd numbered side of the 1700 block of New Jersey Ave NW from 1920 to 1930, I decided to look at the other end of the block. The change from 1920 to 1930 for most of the block was from white renters to black home owners. However, in the case of 1741 New Jersey Ave NW, which no longer exists as a house, but part of the parking of a corner gas station, there was no Black resident recorded for the 1930 census.

But then again, the 1930 census had some house number errors, so maybe there was someone there.

The Renters- The Sussans

First we’ll look at the white renters who lived at 1741 NJ Ave NW in 1920. Look back to 1910, see where they were or learn more about them. Then where they were in 1930. The reason why they vacated is simple, their homes were sold to M. Harvey Chiswell, who then sold the row of homes to African American buyers. They didn’t have much of a choice in the matter.

In the 1920 census, the recorded tenants were the Sussan family. It was headed by a 41 year old baker Charles Sussan, and his wife Lillian. They lived with their three children Charles Jr. (18 yo) (1901-1968); Emily (16); Frank (7)(1912-1987) and Charles’ sister Elizabeth (58 y.o.). Ten years prior the family was living at 612 L St with Charles Sr. working as a baker and Lillian as a dressmaker. They lived with their sons and Lillian’s mother Willey Burgess (1858-1933).

After they left New Jersey Ave the family had moved to Arlington, VA by the 1930 census. Charles Sr. had remained a baker, and lived in the home he owned with his wife and their two sons. Daughter Emily Elizabeth had married and was living with her in-laws at 3110 Connecticut Ave NW.  That year Emily would give birth to daughter Hazel Louise Macwilliams (later Brown).

The Owners- The McCalisters

From previous work, we discovered the row of homes on the 1700 odd numbered block of NJ Ave NW were purchased, repaired for sale to African American home owners in Fall and Winter of 1920. 1741 New Jersey Ave NW doesn’t exist, but we can find lot # 30 on a Baist map from the time period.

The first document is a 1923 trust (loan doc) between Mr. and Mrs. James I.(18721952) and Lulu (nee Phifer) McCalister and trustees Jesse H. Mitchell and William H. Cowan for $151.89. A November 1923 release document between the Mitchells and W. Wallace Chiswell and Harry A. Kite points to a September 30, 1920 loan. M. (Mary) Harvey Chiswell and W. Wallace Chiswell were part of the operation to sell specifically to African Americans.

1923 was a very busy year as it was also the year James and Samuel McCalister sold 1741 to James M. Woodward, who a few months later sold it to  A. Lynn McDowell. In 1925, A. Lynn McDowell, his wife Elizabeth C. and a Julian N. McDowell sold the house to John G. Walker. A little less than a month later Walker sold the property to Mary Hummel. Sometime between 1928 and 1932 the ownership changed to where Conners & Fosters Inc took control of it.

So who were these people? The McCalisters were an African American couple who in 1924 lived at 1509 5th St NW. Prior to that for the 1920 census they were renting 345 Elm St NW. I think that was in LeDroit Park. Mr. McCalister was recorded as a laborer working for the Government Printing Office. I was able to confirm his federal employment by searching the 1919 Official Register of the United States (p.811) to find he was paid 35 cents an hour. In 1930 the McCalisters lived separately. Lulu lived at 946 T St NW, supporting herself as a chiropractor. James was not located for that year. But for 1940 he was a resident at the US Soldier’s Home and Lulu can’t be found. They were back together for the 1950 census living on H St with a lodger. James died in 1952 and is buried at Arlington Cemetery.