Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Levi & Francis Wellons- 517 3rd St SE

Normally this blog looks at African American home owners in the Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle series.  But for comparisons’ sake we’ll look at white home owners during the same period, in the same mortgage “redlined” zone F1.

Earlier we looked at Bessie and Matthew Woods who owned 517 Third St SE up until 1943. Then followed the Garbers, and after them, now the Wellons.

photo of property

In may 1949 Levi and Francis Wellons bought 517 3rd St SE. They used a loan from the Metropolis Building Association for about $7,000 and a $5000 loan from trustees William H. Boaze and Bernard Kretsinger. And then they sold it in 1956 to Charles Walker and Walker’s wife and mother. No excitement here, they bought a house, got 2 loans and seven years later, sold it. The end.

Levi Thomas Wellons Jr, was born May 20, 1915 in Southampton, VA to Levi Wellons Sr and Sallie Mary Rose. In 1936 he married Frances Winter and they had several children. In 1940 Levi, Frances, their children Rose and Levi III, lived around the corner at 214 South Carolina Ave SE with his in-laws. In the 1950 census, it appears the house is in 3 units and the Leeds family is in Apt 1. The Wellons were still on S. Carolina Ave SE with a new son, William.

Hum, it appears I’ve made an assumption. I’ve assumed that the Wellons were resident owners. They were, sort of, and I don’t feel like hunting down proof that they lived in the house. They lived on the block. Close enough.

The Wellons had ownership, part or full, of the following lots on Sq. 0765: 21, 22, 75, 77, 801 and 802. A quick look at the land records and it appears they unloaded most of their property on this block in 1959.

They eventually moved to Maryland. I don’t know what happened to Mrs. Wellons but Levi remarried. He died in 2007 in Deale, MD.

Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Clarence Garber- 517 3rd St SE

Normally this blog looks at African American home owners in the Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle series. As a way to see if what was going on for Black mortgagees was normal, or not, I am comparing them with white home owners.  I am looking at blocks that were over 90% white in 1950 but also in the same “red lined” zone, which was F1.

Earlier we looked at Bessie and Matthew Woods who owned 517 Third St SE up until 1943. There was a period when Clarence Garber owned 517 3rd St SE Bessie, after the death of Matthew from 1939-1943.

The co-ownership seemed a little unusual and I tried to find a connection between between Laura Bessie Mae Moffatt-Davis-Woods-O’Donnell (thrice married) and Clarence Anthony Garber or his wife Buelah Mae Armentrout Garber. The connections were scant. Bessie was from Loudon County VA, the Garbers from Stauton, VA. They do not appear to be related. Nor were they neighbors during the 1920 nor the 1930 census.

photo of property

Clarence A. Garber came to own the house in 1939. Let’s recap what happened from the Woods’ post:

In 1939 there were a series a deeds. Documents 1939037405 and 1939037406 transferred the property from Matthew and Bessie Woods to Bessie Woods and Clarence A. Garber, via Edward J. Berdaus. In 1943 the property was transferred to George A. Brennan and there was a note that Bessie’s name changed to Bessie O’Donnell. The next document, #1943027651, transferred the property from Brennan to Clarence A. and his wife Beulah M. Garber.

Upon the removal of Bessie’s name from the property and Clarence and Beulah Garber being the sole owners, they got a loan. The day they both became owners, October 28, 1943, they borrowed $3500 from the Washington Loan and Trust Company. Their ownership ended when they sold the property to Levi Thomas Wellons Jr and his wife Frances on May 6, 1949.

The Garbers show up in the 1940 census. In 1940 Clarence was a 31 year old carpenter living with his wife Beulah, a stay at home mom to their 2 sons, Robert and Fred. They also had two lodgers, Catherine Uhrig and Bessie M Woods, not yet O’Donnell. Bessie was part owner of the house in 1940. The house is large enough to be 2 units with an English basement below.

The Garbers had family in the neighborhood. Clarence’s father, Anthony Garber (also a carpenter) lived over at 122 5th St SE. During the 1930 census, the newlyweds Clarence and Beulah lived there with newborn Robert, along with sisters Ruth & Pauline.

After selling 517 to the Wellons, who will be covered in another post, the Garbers bought 3025 24th St NE a few days later on May 10, 1949. They owned it until 1956. Clarence died in 1988 in Huntingtown, MD. Beulah died in 2000 and is buried in Prince George’s County Maryland.

Comparative White DC Home Owner- Capitol Hill- Bessie and Matthew Woods- 517 3rd St SE

This blog has been exploring Black Homeowners of Truxton Circle. As a way to see if what was going on for Black mortgagees was normal, or not, I am comparing them with white home owners.  I am looking at blocks that were over 90% white in 1950 but also in the same “red lined” zone, which was F1.

This post is looking at the Woods’ ownership of 517 Third St SE. According to Redfin, it is currently a 3 bdrm, 3.5 bath 2,295 square foot home. There were several sets of resident home owners, but going with the records of the Recorder of Deeds, starting around 1920, we encounter Bessie and Matthew Woods.

photo of property

The first document that appears on the database is document #192608090147, an August 1926 trust, between Bessie and Matthew Woods and trustees George M. Emmerich and Raymond J. Vierbuchen with the American Building Association for $4,200. The next month in September 1926 the Woods paid off a loan with trustees Harry E. Gladman and Alfred H. Lawson. The 1926 loan was cleared in 1943.

In 1939 there were a series a deeds. Documents 1939037405 and 1939037406 transferred the property from Matthew and Bessie Woods to Bessie Woods and Clarence A. Garber, via Edward J. Berdaus. In 1943 the property was transferred to George A. Brennan and there was a note that Bessie’s name changed to Bessie O’Donnell. The next document, #1943027651, transferred the property from Brennan to Clarence A. and his wife Beulah M. Garber. We’ll look at the Garbers in a different post.

The Woods show up in the 1930 census at 517 Third Street SE. Matthew was the 43 year old head who worked as a machinist for the US Government. He lived with his 51 year old wife Bessie and  two roomers, David and Catherine Boyer. On August 1, 1939, Matthew died. That explains the deeds transferring the property that year.

Laura Bessie May Maffett, was born April 2, 1879 in Cameron, VA to Peter F. Maffett and Ellen Virginia Davis. She was married three times, no children, Matthew Woods was her second husband. She married Edward O’Donnell around 1942. She died May 1961 in Capital Hill.

When Historic Districts Attack- The 4th Amendment

This is a reposting of an old post from 2007. For some odd reason I was thinking about when historic districting goes south and remembered this case.

Long story short, artist Laura Elkins and John Robbins were getting on the Historic Preservation Office’s (HPO) and DCRA’s bad side and it resulted in a search warrant of their home, where they were living. The incident got some press. It attracted my attention. And it worked its way through the courts. Leagle has a pretty good summary of the case.

See also- Memorandum Opinion- 2007
Memorandum Opinion- 2008
United States Court of Appeals 2012 Decision


File under WTF?

Thanks Ray for pointing out an article in the Washington Times [dead link] (as I hardly ever read that paper) of a couple who won a lawsuit against the DC government for a raid on their home, unlawful seizure of papers from said home, regarding perceived Historic Preservation violations.
A little Google search regarding the saga reveals differing opinions on if the couple actually did the HPRB dance correctly, which is not the matter that makes me fearful, it was the police raid of their home that concerns my little libertarian heart. The portion of the 4th amendment the violation in this is “no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
According to the lawsuit [pdf] a March 26, 2003 warrant was issued to search the home of Ms. Elkins and Mr. Robbins, but the warrant didn’t say anything about seizing papers or the like. The next day DC’s finest and DCRA “officials went throughout the home (including the
bedrooms of sick children home from school), opening drawers, observing, and taking photos.”
Seriously, this is just supposed to be about exterior crap, not worthy of a f*ing raid. One of the few things I agree with the pro-Historic District people on is that HDs are about the outside aesthetics of house, and what can be observed from the street, etc, etc. However, this, is something else. Investigate the case for yourself, decide if DC went too far a violated a family’s privacy and order.
On the bright side, Ms. Elkins, an artist, has turned her experience into art.

no Twitter with current id

Rando Bloomingdale History- List of properties owned by George N. Beale

I don’t feel like writing a big intro. I had this piece of paper in my pile. It isn’t Shaw history. It isn’t Truxton Circle history. It’s a letter and a table list from January 1920 from the estate of George N. Beale.

DcHistory Bloomingdale Prop… by Mm Inshaw

1957 Church Survey: Third Church of God

Okay I had to look at the old Shaw map to figure out if this was in Mount Vernon Square or Shaw or both. The answer is both. The Mount Vernon Square historical district overlaps with parts of Shaw.

Commercial Building Map
Map of Shaw for 1970 Commercial Buildings

The the other question was, “Is this the church on New Jersey Ave?”  Yup, 3rd Street, New Jersey Ave, same diff apparently. That little section between Morgan and New York Avenue, has northbound traffic going on New Jersey and southbound traffic on 3rd Street.

The Third Church of God appears to continue on as the Third Street Church of God. In the 1957 survey their address is listed as 1204 3rd Street NW. Looking at their history listed on their website they wrote: Continue reading 1957 Church Survey: Third Church of God

Segregation Map


Segregation Map
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

I got excited when I discovered this map from 1938. It is a hand drawn map of Southwest DC, much of which really doesn’t exist anymore. What it shows are negro and white commerical and residential areas as well as black occupied alley dwellings.
Demographic info is so cool.
I find it facinating because it further chips away at the ideas I had about Southern segregation. I always imagined it as very distinct, blacks on one side of town, whites on another and you won’t find one in the other’s neighborhood. My own (on again/ off again) study of Truxton Circle and this map shows a little mixture. The brown represents Afro-American street facing residences, black for black alley dwellings, and the yellow for white street facing residents. There are a few all yellow blocks, but there are plenty of yellow and black blocks, and yellow/ black/ brown blocks. The blue os commerical space.

Grass ‘looks’ greener on the Georgetown side

I wanted to quickly mention it before it went stale in my head. Georgetown Metropolitan has some stats on Georgetown crime. I found it interesting because everyso often people compare Shaw (or where ever they are in DC) to Georgetown, making it out to be some crime-free wonderland. It ain’t. If you want low crime get your butt to Palisades. Which I forget where exactly that is, and I bet some of you never heard of it.
The most interesting thing is Georgetown has more theft from autos and more burglaries per 1,000 residents than Dupont and Columbia Heights. What Georgetown is low in, are those crimes where one encounters the criminal.

Historic house in LeDroit


1900blk 3rd St NW
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

Yesterday I wandered over to 3rd Street NW to admire the history. Please note this house, the chain link fence, the history! Some folks know the significance of this house, which currently is a private home from all indications. So please do not harass the occupants. Up until a few days ago I had passed the house on a few occasions without noting its importance. Then one day I was cleaning off my desk at work and there was this brochure for the National Archives’ Regional Archives- Southeast Region in Morrow, GA. As objects of interest they had on the brochure national registration cards for notables who at the time probably weren’t that notable when they filled out the card. Of the five cards there are the names and then current addresses for Huey Long, Jr., George Herman Ruth, James E. Carter, and Harry Houdini. And also some guy named Ed who lived on 3rd Street.
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The house was one of several homes occupied by Edward Kennedy Ellington, also known as Duke Ellington. He was 19 when living at the house pictured.

When tranny hookers attack

From the Shaw Neighborhood Yahoo Group via the GLLU Newsletter (gllunewsletter@ gllu.org):

On 5/25/09, at approximately 2:30 a.m., members of the First District responded to a call for an assault in the area of the 600 block of K Street, N.W. According to the victim, he walked in the area confront the prostitutes in his neighborhood. As he was admonishing them, one of the women, who the victim described as a male-to-female Transgender individual, grabbed him between his legs and made sexual advances towards him. The suspect fled the scene prior to the officer’s arrival, however her identity is known. The victim was not injured.

I had thought the development round there had removed some of the gals from the area, I guessed wrong. But then again I’m not over there at 2AM. The lesson here is keep a safe distance from the working girls, they fight back.