Memory Lane: 1200 Block of 4th Street NW- 2007

I looked on Google Street View to see what the difference a decade and a half, plus a lot of development and reinvestment makes.

Taken around December 2007. 1223 4th St NW.
1221 4th St NW, Washington, DC circa 2007.
1221 4th St NW. Taken around December 2007.
1221 4th St NW. Taken around December 2007.
1200 block of 4th St NW.
1200 block of 4th St NW. Taken around December 2007.

Memory Lane: Somewhere in Mt. Vernon Sq.

I don’t know where this is. But it feels like Mt. Vernon Sq. and this is circa 2007.

Taken on December 20, 2007

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 1551 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 1551 3rd St NW:

  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) Evans, Levin and Taube sold one-half of 1551 3rd St NW to John D. and Susie M. Scott.
  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) the Scotts borrowed $4,250 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) Evans, Levin, and Taube sold the other half of 1551 3rd St NW to Mary Annette Brewer and J. Bernard Strawder.
  • December 1950 (recorded Jan 18, 1951) Brewer and Strawder borrowed $4,250 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • March 1958 Brewer and Strawder lost their half to foreclosure. The Colonial Investment Co. partners regained ownership via an auction.
  • May 1961 the Scotts sold their half of 1551 3rd St from Evans, Taube and Nathan Levin’s survivors.
  • November 1961 the Colonial Investor Co. parties sold 1551 3rd St NW to Sophia and George Basiliko.
  • May 1978 George Basiliko sold the property to Ohal, Isaac & Associates, Inc.

So this fit the usual and unfortunate pattern of foreclosure (the Scotts managed to avoid that) then the property being sold to Basiliko.

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 1545 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 1545 3rd St NW:

  • January 1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sold one-half of 1545 3rd NW to Carrie B. and Robert L. Andrews.
  • January 1951 the Andrews borrowed $3,525 from Colonial Investment Co. favorite trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • January 1951 Evans, Levin, and Taube sold the other half of 1545 3rd St NW to Jimmie Batts and Queen E. Coles.
  • Jan 1951 Batts and Coles borrowed $3,525 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • October 1952 the Andrews lost their half to foreclosure. Through an auction the property returned to Evans, Levin and Taube.
  • October 1952 Evans, Levin and Taube sold the foreclosed half to Mrs. Elizabeth W. Banks.
  • October 1952 Mrs. Banks borrowed $4,164.38 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • September 1954 Batts and Coles lost their half to foreclosure. Evans, Levin and Taube got the property back via an auction.
  • October 1955 Banks lost her half to foreclosure. Evans, Levin and Taube got the property back via an auction.
  • November 1961, the Colonial Investment Co. parties, as part of a larger property package, sold 1545 3rd St NW to Sophia and George Basiliko.
  • July 1970, as part of a larger property package (document 1970011877) , George Basiko sold 1545 3rd St NW to the District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency (RLA).

So the sad story and pattern apply here. The next set of documents after the RLA got their hands on it were from 2004 with BSA Limited Partnership. BSA- I will assume are the Bates Street Associates, which were a problematic organization.

Memory Lane: There’s a house there now- 1541 4th St NW

1500 block of 4th St NW or Islamic Way NW. Taken December 15, 2007.

See the photo above. There was a space between the taller yellow house and the shorter white house. That space is 1541 4th St NW. What is there now is a house worth around a million dollars according to Redfin. Infill I think is the word I should use.

WSIC-1950 Sell Off- 1541 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 1541 3rd St NW:

  •  January 1951 Evans, Levin and Taube sold one-half of 1541 3rd St NW to Essie G. and James W. Balthrop.
  • January 1951 the Balthrops 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 1541 3rd St NW to Mrs. Floretta L. Williams and Mrs. Mary M. Woody.
  • Jan 1951 Williams and Woody borrowed $3,375 from trustees Abraham H. Levin and Robert G. Weightman.
  • April 1960, Williams and Woody lost their half of 1541 3rd to foreclosure. Through an auction the property returned to Colonial Investments Co owners, Taube, Evans and Harry A. Badt.
  • April 1960, as part of a larger property package, Badt and his wife transferred their interest in the property to Nathan Levin’s survivors.
  • March 1961, the Balthrops owned their half free and clear.
  • November 1961, as part of  larger property package, Levin’s survivors and the owners of the Colonial Investment Company sold their half of 1541 to George Basiliko.
  • September 1967, widow Essie Balthrop borrowed $1,287.60 from trustees Ralph O. Weed and A. J. Mascetta.

Despite the half of the property being sold to Basiliko it did not wind up in the hands of the city.

Who were the Balthrops? I have no idea where the G. came from but Emma Jane Royal married James Westly Balthrop in 1908 in Richmond, VA. When their first son, William was one years old in 1910, Emma worked as a servant and James a butler. By 1920 the family was in Washington, DC with two more sons. In 1930, they had 6 sons and housed a nephew. According to the census they owned 631 Gresham Pl NW, which has less than 1000 sq. ft.

Looking into 631 Gresham Place NW (Sq. 3056, lot 57) I found one of those weird real estate things. This is not in my area of interest, but when you see weird stuff, you write about it. So you know about racially restricted covenants, how about reverse UNO card covenants?

See close up here- 3056-57

It appears the Balthrops and their neighbors signed an agreement to be able to sell their properties to African Americans. Okay moving on.

In 1940 the family, sans James, was renting a house at 611 Morton St. NW. At that point, Essie was the head and she had 5 sons, 1 daughter and one renter living in the home.

When James W. Balthrope died October 8, 1962, he died at home on Third Street. He was survived by many relatives. He had 14 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren. His funeral was at the Vermont Baptist Church.

Memory Lane: 403 R St NW

I’m going through old photos, walking down memory lane I spot this bunch of 403 R St NW.

Taken December 23, 2007. 400 block of R St NW.

I’ve researched the history with Black Home Owner- Lewis Griffin. And I’ve looked at it as a long vacant house on the 400 block of R Street with cinder block windows.

Those permits in the window seemed just for show. Nothing happened to this house for years and years.

Fast forward to today, and Redfin claims the renovated house is worth well over a million dollars. The key word here is “renovated”.

I’m going to resist going on a tangent about the worth of housing. I’m very sorry that housing has gotten so ‘flippin’ expensive. But that’s the cost of all the things we want out of housing. The cheapest housing in the world is a tent or a crappy hut with some random materials thrown together on land you can’t claim. We want walls that are strong and will keep out the bad weather. We want A/C and heat. We want to keep out rodents (good luck). We want plumbing and electrical systems that work. And we want the local municipality to approve it. All this adds costs. It doesn’t explain all of the costs.

Anyway, this went from being an abandoned vacant house to a home.

1920 to 1930- White to Black- 1727 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. My post The sell off of the 1700 block of New Jersey Ave NW pretty much explains the why.

So let’s look at the residents of 1727 New Jersey from 1920 to 1930.photo of property

The White Renters

In the 1920 census there was one family occupying 1727 New Jersey Ave NW. It was headed by a 59 year old “widow” Mary A. Moore. She was a Massachusetts born Irish American. She lived in the house with her adult children and 45 year old roomer. Her son John J. Moore was a 30 year old self-employed artist with is own studio. Her 26 year old daughter Margarite worked as a clerk for War Risk in the Treasury Department.

The 1930 census shows that Mary wasn’t widowed. Her husband Richard F. Moore was alive and well and living with his family at 913 Jackson St NE. Son John J. was a commercial artist and owner of the home. Daughter Marguerite was 38 year old lawyer for the Federal government. The children were still single.

Moving forward to the 1950 census, Marguerite C. Moore was an attorney for the VA. She lived with her brother, who also did not marry, still worked as a commercial artist making about $30K which was very good money in 1950.

The Black Owners

The DC Recorder of Deeds records aren’t helpful. The buyer Addie E. Webb purchased the home February 1921, and paid off the loan in February of 1924. And that’s the last that is heard from Webb. In 1935 there is a judgement where William Dodson had to relinquish 1727 NJ Ave NW to Mamie Smith. The judgement doesn’t say why.

Addie E. Webb was an African American hairdresser. In 1920 she was 50 years old and lived at 1514 S St NW. It appears she shared an apartment or something with a 40 year old woman named Ida Smith who was also a hairdresser that census year. Ida (nee Roane) had been Addie’s landlady back in the 1900 census, when Addie lived with Arthur S. Smith, Ida and Ida’s mother and brother, and Arthur’s cousin James Watkins.

I’ll take a guess Addie did not make it to the 1930 census.

I have no idea who William Dodson was and how he came into possession of the property. In the 1910 census Addie lived with Ida Smith and Addie’s daughter, public school teacher Helen (Ellen?) F. Webb. She doesn’t show up in the long list of people who signed off in selling the property in 1939 along with Mamie Smith. Could Mamie Smith be related to Ida Smith? A C. William Webb is mentioned in the legal notice about the 1936 judgement. In an 1935 article in the Afro-American, it appears C. William Webb, son of Addie, disappeared and had been missing for 30 years. Mamie Smith was one of his heirs. One of many. So they went to court to get a hold of the property to sell it and split the estate.

The Black Renters

So if Addie Webb did not make it to the 1930 census, then who was there in 1930? Wade Shields a 31 year old barber who was renting the property with five female lodgers. In 1928, he was living or operating out of 17 Fenton NE. In 1922 Wade married Gladys Rodgers. They were not living together in this census.

As for the lodgers with Mr. Shields, one was a woman, and the remaining females were minor children. Rose Johnson was the adult, a 28 year old hair dresser. The eldest child was Thelma Pryor a 16 year old who worked in a laundry. Pryor’s mother was Lucille Johnson and it appears Rose and Thelma were related, as they share a headstone. I don’t see any relationship with Mr. Shields or his missing wife, except for the profession of working with Black hair. This is something they shared with the previous owner Addie Webb. The other girls were 11, 10 and three years old and listed as lodgers. I wonder if they were foster children?

Memory Lane: 219 P St NW

219 A P St NW. Taken December 15, 2007

I’ve featured this address before as a former Washington Sanitary Improvement home that was sold to African American buyers in the 1950s. All did not end well as you could gather in 2007 when this photo was taken. There were some questions about ownership that weren’t clear.

Well somebody, or somebodies own it now. I looked on Redfin and it looks like it has been split into 3 units, with 3 separate entries, up from the original 2.