Armstrong High School March 1942

Let’s take a break from the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company houses and look at some old photos of Truxton Circle schools.

Below is Armstrong Technical High School in March 1942.

Armstrong High School March 1942
Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information photograph collection (Library of Congress)

If I were to guess this is probably the P Street side of the school. Free free to argue with me in the comments.

Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington and unknown woman, Howard Theater(?), Washington, D.C., ca. June 1946, Library of Congress

Duke Ellington, for whom a bunch of buildings around DC are named, attended Armstrong to study art and design.

Currently, Armstrong is the location of one of the Friendship Charter Schools for Pre-K and elementary aged children.

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 1509 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 was the odd lucky ones who managed to avoid that fate.

photo of property

Let’s see the ownership history of 1509 3rd St NW:

  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) Evans, Levin and Taube sold one-half of 1509 3rd St NW to widow Mary A. Jackson.
  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) Mrs. Jackson borrowed $3,375 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • January 1951 Evans, Levin, and Taube sold the other half of 1509 3rd St NW to Woodrow W. Jackson. I do not know if he and Mary were related.
  • Jan 1951 Mr. Jackson borrowed $3,525 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • February 1960 Mr. Jackson lost his half to foreclosure. The property returned to Evans, Taube, and new partner Harry A. Badt via an auction.
  • February 1960, as part of a larger property package, Harry Badt & his wife transfer a portion of their interest in this and other properties to Levin’s survivors.
  • November 1961, (recorded 1/5/1962), as part of a larger package the Colonial Investment team (Evans, Badt, their wives, and Levin’s survivors) sell their interest in 1531 3rd St NW to Sophia and George Basiliko.
  • December 1962, Mary Jackson borrowed $950.00 from trustees Charles W. Morgan and Ralph O. Weed.
  • December 1963, Mary Jackson borrowed $2,650 from trustees A.J. Mascetta and Ralph O. Weed.
  • October 1967 Mrs. Jackson borrowed $1,183.68 from Mascetta & Weed for work done by Continental Contracting Co., Inc.
  • November 1967 she was released from her debt with Levin and Weightman.
  • September 1978, George Basiliko, as George Basiliko, Inc, sold his half of 1509 3rd St NW to Lewis L. Washington.
  • March 1983, Mrs. Jackson sold 1509A 3rd St NW to Fannie T. Johnson.
  • November 1984, Fannie T. and her husband Sylvester Johnson sold their half of the property to Lewis L. Washington bringing the property under one owner again.

So let’s see if we check the boxes. Halves sold, check. Foreclosure, check. Sold to Basiliko, check. Sold to the DC Redevelopment Land Agency, nope.

Bad Photocopy- 3rd and Q St NW- Circa 1960something

Corner of 3rd and Q St NW, circa 1960-something

For another post at another time I was scouring my hard drive, my Flickr account, and various other spots because I swore I had a picture of the corner of 3rd and Q before the, um….. Interesting architecture appeared on the corner.

I took this image in 2017.

The developer added a mansard roof/ 3rd floor.

It looks different.

Anyway, I found a bunch of photocopies of photographs from what I think may be the late 1960s maybe the early 1970s of the corner of 3rd and Q Streets NW.

Corner of 3rd and Q St NW in Washington, DC

Bad Photocopy- Maybe 100 blk of Bates Street NW- Maybe 1960-1970s

This is the last of my posts based on a set of photocopies of photos taken around the late 1960s, maybe the early 1970s. The cars on the street hint at maybe the 60s. I don’t know.

The caption says it is the 100 block of Bates Street NW. Take a look and you tell me. Is it?

1957 Church Survey: Redeemer Italian Baptist Church

In 1957 there was as survey of churches in the Northwest Urban Renewal Area, which included Shaw, Downtown, and the area near Union Station. One of the churches was Redeemer Italian Baptist Church . To learn more about the 1957 Church Survey read my previous posts, The Uniqueness of the 1957 Church Survey and Church Survey Northwest Urban Renewal Area October 1957.

photo of propertyRedeemer was a mystery. It was this odd ethnic Italian Baptist church in a largely Black neighborhood. I’d been told, by the owner of Catania Bakery that there was a decent sized Italian population in Truxton Circle. They are no more. I have no idea where they went or how many were here in the first place.

So I will do something new. I will look at the land records.

Redeemer Italian Baptist Church was at 1200 Kirby St NW, sitting on Square 555, lots 62 and 63. In 1923 the trustees of Chiesa Del Redentore Italian Baptist, Leonardo Dell Erba, Olindo Marseglia, and Pasquale Vasco took out a loan of $10,000 from the Perpetual Building Association, a lender that did a lot of business in Truxton Circle. The debit was settled in 1943. In 1964 the church sold the property to New Birth Baptist Church.

According to a website regarding corporations, Redeemer Italian Baptist Church of Washington, DC dissolved in 1967. As I have learned from Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s History of the Negro Church (yes, this is an Italian church), individual Baptist churches can be rather independent entities. As you will see below from the survey, most of the church’s parishioners lived in the Maryland and Virginia suburbs. So it would be a fair guess the enthusiasm and spirit that supported the church in the 1920s, was long gone in 1967.

CS-10-Redeemer Italian Baptist Church by Mm Inshaw on Scribd

So let’s look at the state of the church in 1957.

It was a small church with only 125 people, ethnic Italians, most of whom did not live in the city, and none in the area, which included what is now known as Downtown, Swampoodle, Mt. Vernon Sq/Triangle, and Shaw. With 40% of the congregation being under the age of 18, I’d say this was a commuter church of sizable Italian families…. who were not Catholic…. because this is a Baptist church and there is a  difference. A normal Sunday would have 60-65 people in attendance. Those families were mostly middle/blue-collar as 30% were white collar and 55% were skilled manual labor, think carpenters, plumbers and machinists.

From the 10/11/1920 Evening Star page 28

The church was founded in 1915 on 48th Avenue NE as a storefront church. From 1919-1923 it met at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. Looking around in the Evening Star, they were at 3rd and E Streets NW in 1922. In 1920 they started building the church that sits at 1200 Kirby NW.

In the 1957 has the pastor as the Rev. Olindo Marsaglia (Olindo Marseglia is on the loan docs) and the founding of the 1200 Kirby St NW church was Rev. MC Marseglia. This, and this is just me guessing, smells like a family business.  Let’s wander back to our Woodson, remember Baptist churches are independent of each other with little to no hierarchical body over them. So Rev. Olindo Marseglia died in 1966,  and the church dissolved in 1967. So it makes sense, when looking at it as a Marseglia family venture it went away when the last interested Marseglia died.

Rev. MC Marseglia from the 1920 article appears to have been the Rev. Domenico Costantino “Mimi” Marseglia. According to his Find a Grave write up, “Rev Domenico ‘Mimi’ was pastor at the Federal Hill Italian Baptist Mission in Providence, RI. The Euclid Ave Baptist Church in Cleveland, OH. As well as the Church of the Redeemer in Washington, D.C.” Also poking around I found an obit for the daughter of one of the trustees, Angelina Vasco Sepe, that mentions the Redeemer Italian Baptist Church.

Anywho, this was an interesting slice of Truxton Circle Italian-American history.

Bad Photocopy- Odd 200 Blk of Bates St NW circa 1960-1970s

This was a bit of a mystery. This image is a photocopy of a black and white photograph. My notes say 100 block of Bates St NW looking west. I see the house at the end of the street, which makes it either 3rd or 1st St NW. Then there are those decorative balls on the top of the houses.

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

Using Google Street View I attempted to find those decorative items on the roof line.

No dice on the first look.

I am guessing the photographs were taken in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  The Google Street View is from 2019, well after a fair amount of renovation work. But on the other hand this area experienced a fair amount of disinvestment after the original builder and owner, the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company (WSIC) sold its rentals. Many of those rentals wound up in the hands of George Basiliko who had many a housing violation.

Something that hints of those decorative balls appear on the tops of 225-229 Bates St NW. The tops of a curve remain. The balls are long gone. It is hard to tell with the tree cover looking at Google Street View. Even if I still lived in Truxton Circle, it’s currently cold, so I probably wouldn’t venture out to look with my own eyes.

Bad Photocopy- Unit Block of Bates St NW circa 1960something

Let’s break up some of these Washington Sanitary Improvement Co. (WSIC) posts with photos from the 1960s(?) or early 1970s (who knows) of former WSIC housing.

This image is from a photocopy of a photo. From the looks of it, it appears to be the unit block of Bates Street NW. My notes say it is Bates St NW facing west.

Bates St NW facing west. Southside of street to northside. Unit block.

I’ll try to compare it with today.

Bad Photocopy-Maybe 200 block of Bates Street NW circa 1960-1970s

The image below is a scan of a photocopy of a photograph of a row of Bates Street NW homes. The notation says it is the 100 block of Bates but that set of three 2nd floor bay windows in a row between two bay-less houses looks like 204 to 208 Bates Street NW. But I’m not 100% sure.

204-208 Bates Street NW, Washington DC looking south

If I have the right block, it appears the original stairs were done away with.

Bad Photocopy-Bates St NW Alley 1960s-1970s maybe

So I made a photocopy of a photo and now I share it with you. There is nothing special about this alley, besides the fact that it is awfully trashy. There are other photographs and from the cars I’m guessing it is from the 1960s. But there was an image of a gentleman in a suit, which made me wonder if this could be from later. Dunno.

Alley view