People in academia tend to like to tell research adventure stories. The problem with archives and libraries and other places digitizing everything is taking the romance out of these tales. No need to get a grant, rent a crappy motel room during the middle of summer, nah. Tippy-tip tap, an email here, a subscription to a certain website and there’s your document. Of course, not everything has been digitized. And because of that, a person could still have a research adventure.
My research adventure takes place at the National Archives in College Park, MD. Those who know me are probably rolling their eyes, but bear with me. So my goal was to find the lost redlining map of Washington DC. I can call it lost, ’cause it was a b!tch to find. For one, the Mapping Inequality site showing off redlining maps doesn’t have Washington, DC. The DC Policy Center and Mapping Segregation had a map on their sites that approximated or was very similar to a DC version of the redlining map.
The DC Policy Center just said it came from the National Archives. Ok. NARA has a bunch of stuff and it’s catalog can be a PITA when you’re trying to actually find something. Clicking source just brought a person to the Mapping Segregation site. Digging into the resources there would send you back to the DC Policy Center and round and round I went. I eventually found the citation at the end of http://mappingsegregationdc.org/assets/residential-sub-areas-for-website-rev.pdf. It narrowed it down to the record group (RG) and the box, but not the entry. More poking around and it was entry A1-6.
I got the box. I was in the research room scanning area. I was at a desk next to a dear friend who is a professional researcher showing me the ropes and I managed to scrounge up an SD card for the camera. But the monitor was acting funny. And the SD card was ‘corrupt’. I managed to fit just 2 images on the card before giving up. And below was what I was able to capture.
Source: Map 11. Housing Market Analysis Washington DC. Records Relating to Housing Market Analyses, 1940–1942. National Archives, College Park, MD RG 31, entry A1 6, (NAID 122213881)
This is just a bit of information to expose that I know nothing.
I’ve started including information about the lenders in the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle series. The problem is I have no idea sometimes of what I am looking at. I know I am going to have to go back over some of my posts and correct the misstatements about loans of $19K-20K. That was a misreading on my part.
One of the several lenders is the Perpetual Building Association. They loaned funds to Julia Dobbins, the Brungers, John Robinson and others. I tried looking up information about this organization or lender and most of what comes up are sites about the Perpetual Building Association Building in Silver Spring, MD. I did find something that was a little bit more about the entity that was also about the building. I have no opinion about the building. I don’t have even enough information to have an opinion about them as a lender.
I am old enough to remember there was some savings and loan crisis 30 some odd years ago, but I’m not sure if the S&Ls and building associations were the same thing.
If anyone has more info about the Perpetual Building Association as an organization, please comment.
So who was George Basile Basiliko? He was born in Washington, DC to Basil (Basile) Stergin Basiliko a Greek immigrant, and Calliope Papazoglis (Papasoglou) Basiliko a Greek-Turkish immigrant on January 14, 1917.
In 1929 it appears the family lived at 50 Randolph Place NW in Bloomingdale. The father Basil was a contractor with a business address at 600 E St NW. In 1930, Basil was a merchant and owner of a cigar business and the family lived at 54 P St NE in NE Truxton Circle (some times I acknowledge that part of the TC).
He graduated Langley Junior High in 1933. Married Sophia Cokenias, also a child of Greek immigrants, in June 1947.
At the age of 26, he and his brother Nick Basiliko were charged with operating a “disorderly house” in April 1943. The house in question being the Logan Hotel at 912 N St NW. He received his real estate license, using 912 N St NW as an office in July of 1943. The Basiliko brothers were cleared of charges in the disorderly house case in September of that year by a municipal judge and the Evening Star said the hotel was at 13th and Logan Circle. December 1943, the United States Attorney’s Office kept pursuing the case because the house raid involved 100 police officers. The Evening Star restated the location of the hotel at 13th and Logan Circle, and George’s address being on the 6200 block of 8th St NW. In a 1944 Evening Star article, the police raid was reported as being on September 1942 and only 70 police involved.
After that brush with the law, his appearances in the Evening Star were classified ads advertising commercial real estate and trust notes. At some time in the 1950s he moved his office to 1113 Eye (I) Street NW. But staying out of trouble didn’t last long.
The Basiliko name popped up again regarding an investigation and court case regarding Route 240 and the claim of defrauding the Maryland State Roads Commission in 1953. Several Basiliko family members were named, including George, and a man named Ben Du Pre, who was the main target. Looking at Basiliko v State, this thing dragged on through the late 1950s.
In the Home and Real Estate section (B section) of the October 3, 1959 issue of the Evening Star, there is an article about rehabilitating properties in Truxton Circle, particularly Bates Street, in an article, “Some Plain Words About City Decay” by Robert J. Lewis. The article noted how George Basiliko “bought a lot of rundown properties” and was in the process of rehabbing them with assistance of the Perpetual Building Association, another familiar name to the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle series.
I want to dig into this article a bit more so I will do that in part 2, as it deals with so many TC homes.
I’ve been reaching into the pile and today I have a letter from 1923 regarding poor living conditions at 55 P St NW in the TC. The initial letter was from Walter W. Brown who wrote to the Rent Commission. The Rent Commission responded to him about paying rent but did not address the living conditions.
The Brown family appears in the 1920 census. We find Mr. Walter W. Brown, a 49 year old African American driver, living with his wife Lizzie, and their minor sons and daughter, adult daughters and one son-in-law. They are renters.
In the letter Brown writes that he lives a 55 Pea St NW. People did cute things like that, calling Q St, Que St, I St, Eye St, and the like. I hadn’t seen anyone call P St Pea St before. Anyway, at 55 P St, the plaster was falling down in various parts of the house, there was no septic and the stove was broken.
Mr. Brown mentions a Mr. Schwartz at 724 15th St NW. I checked the 1923 city directory and the inhabitants of that address was Schwartzell Rheem & Hensey Co. a real estate company. Were the realtors or property managers letting the house go to pot so they could get rid of the renters, rehab it and rent it at a higher price? I don’t know.
According to the Tax Assessment office, what is currently at 55 P St NW, was built in 1924. I could only find one permit for that lot pre- 1958. The earliest record I can find for Sq 615 lot 163 is from 1944. That was when Fred D. Geisler purchased the property. So it could be a completely different house.
I checked the Library of Congress to see if the lot number changed. The 1919 map shows lot 163. where lot 163 should be, with a brick house on it.
My last post ran long and I felt I buried the lede. I’m just going to rehash it with a clique beatty title.
In 1905 the Miller ladies owned several lots on a city block in Washington DC. The square being Sq. 520, which sits between 3rd and 4th, R and Q Streets NW. The Miller ladies being Katharine Miller and her daughters Catherine, Agnes, and Anna. They were white women. According to the 1905-1906 General Assessment they owned under the names Katharine/ Katharina Miller, Catherine A. Miller, Anna B. Gaegler, and Agnes C. Sullivan lots 57-62, 65, 68, 74, 76-78, 86-88, 90-95, 102-106. Using the Library of Congress’ Baist map and Property Quest and trying to match addresses to lots with numbers that may or may not line up with current lot numbers, I think they owned 1603-1611 and 1629 4th, 1635 4th, 1641 4th, 1646 3rd, 1638-1642 3rd (empty lots), 1618-1622 3rd, 1602/4?? 3rd (empty lot 95), 1604-1614 3rd, and 304-312 R St NW.
A lot of houses in DC say they were built in 1900. They weren’t. Several of these were. The map to the right is a Hopkins map from 1892. There are structures at the corner of 4th and Q and 3rd and R Streets that pre-date 1900. When looking at the 1900 census for residents in these Miller owned properties, they are all African American renters. Those older homes, 1603-1611 4th St NW, were owned by Millers but rented by the Turners, the Smallwoods, Motens, Dotts and others. They were Black laborers and domestics. But they also owned newer housing that did not exist in 1892 but did in 1900. These newer homes were 1629, 1635, and 1641 4th St NW.
Thomas Jenkins, a porter born in 1850, lived at 1629 4th St NW with his wife, 4 sons and three daughters. He and his wife Rachael were both born in Maryland. Their children were born in the District. His adult son William was a porter like his father. The second son Charles was a teacher. The third, Harry, was a bellman. The youngest, Thomas, was 10. His daughters appear to have been at home, unemployed.
There were 3 households at 1635 4th St NW. The first was a widow woman Cornelia E Madden. She is listed with a 2 year old daughter and a 17 year old son. The second is Sandford Madden, a 23 year old waiter. I don’t know if he was related to Mrs. Cornelia Madden. He is listed with his wife and their infant son, They also had two ‘boarders’ ages 3 and 4 in their home. Lastly there was William Washington, another young waiter in his early 20s. He lived at 1635 with his wife and their two year old son. Today the house boasts of having about 1500 sq feet.
1641 4th St NW also had three households listed as residents. First, there was 65 year old widow Ann Bowie with her 40 year old daughter Ella. Then there was 50 year old widow Louisa Brooks, a servant, with her 16 year old son Adolphus, a porter. Balancing out the widow women was Benjamin Stiles, a day laborer, He lived with his wife, Sarah, a washer woman and their 3 year old daughter. They had a male boarder, Richard Neale, a hod carrier.
I would examine their White renters from 1910 to see if they were crammed in as much as their Black neighbors, but this post is long enough.
The Recorder of Deeds website was being unhelpful. So this is mostly from Ancestry and the Historic Washington Post. Genealogy is hard. I refuse to do my dad’s side of the family because most of it could be summed up in the phrase, “Grandpa James shoulda kept it in his pants.” There are two James, two Roberts and two Johns. Families seem to like to recycle names, which makes things confusing and I was, and probably still am, confused by the Kat Millers of Sq. 520.
I mentioned Kat Miller, as I will call them, in an earlier post, Rando thoughts ending in a music video. For 1905-1906, on Square 520, which is bounded by R St, 3rd and 4th Sts, and Q Street NW, I saw a lot of Kat Millers as the owner of many lots. Katharine Miller owned lots 57-59, 62, 76-78, 88-86, and 90-91. Katharina Miller owned lot 92. Catherine A. Miller owned lots 60, 93-94, and 102-106. There was another lady Miller, Agnes R. Miller who owned lots 61, 65 and 95.
Like my family, they reused the names. Katharina/ Katrina Elizabeth Nau Miller (1839-1916) was the mother. She was married to a John Miller and they used to live at 452 H St NW. They were members of St. Mary’s Catholic Church. They had three daughters, Catherine Appollonia (1871-1944), Agnes Rose (1878-1930), and Anna Barbara (1876-1950).
The Recorder of Deeds site (when working) helped with something that is very hard when looking up women, married names. Apparently Katharina had a will. I haven’t seen it but I’ve seen evidence of it. But according to land records there was a will and Catherine Appollonia Miller became Catherine Ruppert. She and her husband John Anton Ruppert (1861-1939) were the executors of Katharina’s will. In her will she left property to the surviving children of Agnes Rose Sullivan (lots 57, 78, 88, and 90) along with lots on Sq. 509 (maybe 509E?). In the September 16, 1916 Washington Post (p. 3) she left property and money to Catherine Ruppert, Agnes’ kids, and Anna Barbara Gaegler. Mrs. Gaegler owned lots 68 and 74 in 1905.
I’m not sure who John F. Shea is, but he was the surviving trustee of Catherine Ruppert’s estate.
Okay. Let’s see who these ladies were landladies for. I’m ignoring all the lots owned by Sullivans, who could be relatives of Agnes Rose. So let’s look at lots 57-62, 65, 68, 74, 76-78, 86-88, 90-95, 102-106. Not all the old lot numbers line up with the current lot numbers, and the Baist addresses can be wrong, so bear with me. 1603-1611 and 1629 4th, 1635 4th, 1641 4th, 1646 3rd, 1638-1642 3rd (empty lots), 1618-1622 3rd, 1602/4?? 3rd (empty lot 95), 1604-1614 3rd, and 304-312 R St NW.
In 1900 the residents of 1603-1611 and 1629 4th St NW were all African American. Basically everyone on Square 520 in 1900 was Black and renting and on 4th St NW. Unless I have another hole in my data (and I probably do), these white ladies had black tenants in fairly, newish houses. I live on the even side of the 1600 block of 4th St NW and the houses on the odd side are way bigger than the even side. They have room for parking. We don’t, for most of us.
Moving to 1910, I see I probably have a hole in my 1900 data because, I see White people. In 1910 the Miller ladies rented to African American and White families. Fourth St remains African American, but the R Street and 3rd Street houses are rented to White families. I have one odd-ball I need to check. A White man named Anthony A. Ryles of 1646 3rd St NW claimed to own the property in the census. 1646 is currently Mt. Sinai’s education center and the original lot 74, Anna Barbara’s lot, no longer exists. People lie, he could have bought it, or there is another logical explanation.
Okay. That’s enough researching for now.
Redlining vs Urban Renewal
I’m seeing the term redlining popping up more and more. Some of my relatives mentioned it during our Christmas Zoom gathering. It seemed new to the Festivus-like list of grievances that get trotted out by particular relatives, and it seemed to be short-hand for something else. I’m going to go with the simple definition of redlining being the denial of government backed mortgages to non-whites based on geography. Yes, redlining was bad, but urban renewal was much worse.
I’m tacking this on the end of the Kat Miller post because, I see that the landladies were interested in green, as they rented to both Black and White. Poking around the property and census records I see loans get made and a lot of people rent. In cities, you’re more apt to rent than own.
Urban renewal impacts both homeowners and renters, more so renters. It it easier to level a quadrant like Southwest when the majority of landowners don’t live there. The Northwest and later the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area plans were to knock out whole blocks, which would have displaced thousands of residents. In the plan, I-395 was supposed to continue up and meet up with U St, destroying what was to become my house in the process. The homes destroyed to make the freeways, the public parks and the low-income housing aren’t coming back. The scars of urban renewal are forever on the landscape.
Sources: Must login to DC Library's various database accounts-
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So….. nevermind. There is an open house 3/14 from 1-3PM. Redemption may be at hand.
Below is the old post.
At the corner of 4th and R is 319 R St NW and it is a large landmark of a house. I noticed the “For Sale” sign was gone. So it looks like it did not sell. Which is sad because I had hoped someone could redeem the mess that had happened. But maybe $1.6 million was too much to ask in addition to redemption.
So for those of you just joining us and unfamiliar with the saga that was 319 R St NW, here’s a very quick story. When I arrived to Shaw 20 years ago, 319 was mission house for a Virginia Korean church where they fed homeless people and let them hang out. But after many years and the neighborhood got gentrified they sold the house to a developer. That developer wanted to throw on a 3rd story and lop off the corner turret. After some push back, they agreed to throw a dunce hat of a turret on. The house, and almost all the other houses on the block, was an actual Harry Wardman house. The developers’ desire to go the ugly route triggered a nuclear option of making the whole block a historic landmark. Which totally sucked for everyone else on the block. The developers sold the mess they made and someone else finished the renovations and dug out the basement. Then the house went on the market. And it sat on the market. Now it’s off the market.
Once again, I really like the Recorder of Deed Records. In 1933-1934 Charles M. Nash owned lot 853 on Square 551. But Charles Nash is a common enough name so I am thankful in a 1947 Deed his wife Doris H. Nash (1905-1975) is named when they sold the property to a Ms. Rosi H. Scott.
I also discovered he owned another lot on Square 551, lot 848 (144 R St NW).
Charles Matthews Nash Sr (1896-1967) was a native Washingtonian, He received a law degree from Georgetown Law School in 1917. The family lived in the Chevy Chase/ Bethesda/ Silver Spring area from 1930 onward. So never a resident of Truxton Circle.
In 1938 it appears that his mother Lucy Belle Matthews Nash (1860-1938) granted the lot to him. But there was some question and a year later there is a judgement where Pauline Needle was the plaintiff and Nash was the defendant. In the final judgement various people, including Nash’s wife, his brother Raymond Nash and Lillard B. Fields (from the Edward Coleman post) were ordered to quitclaim various DC properties to Charles M. Nash. Apparently Ms. Needle had a judgement lien. Anyway, there were a lot of lawyers involved. Charles had a lawyer. Lillard Fields had a lawyer. A bunch of other people had lawyers, and of course, Pauline Needles had a lawyer. Lawyers for everybody! Continue reading Property Owners of Truxton Circle- Charles M. Nash
The lots C-E appear to be what is now Mt. Sinai’s rear parking lot. On the Baist map shown here, the addresses appear to be 233-237 Q Street NW.
The deed has helpful information. The first person mentioned is William E. Hauser (aka William Hauser) and we are told he’s single. After Ernest F. Hauser (who is married to Lottie E. Hauser) we get another single guy Harry Louis Hauser. Then we learn Ernest Hauser is dead. And Sophia E. Hauser, a life tenant, died March 26, 1935.
I have admitted several times that I have trouble interpreting the property land records that I get from the Recorder of Deed’s database. It dawned on me to look at my own property records to get a sense of what is what.
For reasons, I’m going to change up some names but I will keep the dates. In 2001 I bought my house with a mortgage. In 2003 I took out a HELOC, or 2nd mortgage with Bank B. That was recorded in 2004. In 2006 the Bank B HELOC was paid off and it looks like I took on another HELOC for 100K for the major renovation with Bank A. In 2009, I refinanced, replacing Countrywide with Bank A and absorbing the HELOC I had with them into the new 30 year mortgage. When 2014 rolled around, we (now married to The Help) refinanced to a 7 yr ARM with some cash to pay for the 4th renovation. What I don’t see is the HELOC I took out that year in my name. Which might explain why the title company couldn’t find it either when we sold the house. Continue reading Figuring out the Recorder of Deeds Docs