WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 134 Q 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 134 Q St NW:

  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) Evans, Levin and Taube sold 134 Q St NW to Fern W. and Malachi H. Taylor.
  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) the Taylors borrowed $6,500 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • March 1962 the Taylors were released from their 1950 loan.
  • December 1988, Malachi H. Taylor sold the property to Selamawite Makonnen and Assegid Tessema. The deed noted that Fern died May 29, 1965.

This was a successful story. Most Black buyers of these homes wind up getting foreclosed upon. Also many who buy the whole property tend to get into a situation where they have to sell half. Not so here with the Taylors.

Who were the Taylors?

Malachi Henry Taylor Jr. was born September 30, 1909 in Washington, DC to Ida Gibson and Malachi Taylor. He married Fern Waddy March 13, 1934 in Leesburg, VA. Fern was born August 18, 1905 in DC to Elizabeth Baker and John Waddy. In 1935, Malachi Sr. died. It appears Malachi Jr. was involved in a numbers running venture and was arrested in 1959 and was living on the 1900 block of 9th St NW.

I could not locate either Fern nor Malachi in the 1940 census. Malachi served in the Navy from 1943-1946. However we were not inolved in WW2 in 1940, so I don’t know why they don’t show up. In the 1950 census they were living at 2202 13th St and it appears Malachi was not working. Fern seemed to have a job as an elevator operator for a government building. Their niece, Fannie Waddy was living with them and she was a 27 year old clerk typist for the Veterans department. From what I could tell, the two had no children.

The Taylors seemed to own a few properties in DC and elsewhere. In addition to 134 Q St NW, they owned 1201-1203 Euclid Street NW in Columbia Heights, and another that no longer exists in the U St area between W, 13th and 14th Streets NW and Florida Avenue. I located a September 1993 (after both had died) tax lien sale for property in Atlantic City, NJ.

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