Some Post DC Conference Notes- Resources and Sources

There was a great turn out for the Neighborhood History and Housing session for the DC History Conference at the MLK Library. I ran into the amazing Scott Roberts. I had a handout, I’m not sure he got a copy. And for those of you who want to know what resources you can tap into to do similar histories take a look below:

DC Public Library–
Under Research & Learn (DCPL library card required)

Ancestry (AncestryLibrary)-

Historical Washington Post (ProQuest)-

Library of Congress–
Chronicling America/ Evening Star –
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for DC (volume 2)-





DC Recorder of Deeds (online land records)-

Find A Grave–

National Archives & Records Administration–
Map No. 2 Neighborhood Convenience Stores; Records Relating to Urban Renewal, 1934–1998, entry A1 13, Records of the National Capital Planning Commission Record Group 328, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.  (NAID 784266)

Washington DC Map 1936Map of the Metropolitan District of Washington DC, 1936; file Housing Market Analysis Washington, D.C. July 1937; Records Relating to Housing Market Analyses, 1940–1942, entry A1-6; Records of the Federal Housing Administration, Record Group 31; National Archives Building, College Park, MD. (NAID 122213881)

..and I managed to leave this one off- also from the National Archives. AND I gave the wrong citation. oops.

General Assessment 1902-1903, Volume I, Squares 459 to 555, Page 320; General Land Assessment Files, 1902–1938; Records of the Government of the District of Columbia Record Group 351; National Archives Building, Washington, DC.  (NAID 145723973)


Slater School 1942

I happened to have found this photograph in the Library of Congress’ collection. It was listed as a Negro elementary school. When I took a closer look I saw the name of the school on the building.

Slater School. Kids playing on P St NW. 1942.

I am amazed seeing children playing on P Street as if it was an extension of the playground. P Street actually doesn’t look that wide in this photo. Things were different in 1942, when this was taken by Marjory Collins the Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information photographer who took the photograph.

I found a similar view from 2008.

Unit block of P Street NW taken January 8, 2008

The school was in poor shape then.

Slater School on the unit block of P St NW ca. 2008

Armstrong and Maybe the Homeopathic Hospital

Military unit in Armstrong Technical High School being trained by an U.S. Army lieutenant. Library of Congress.

This is a 1942 photo of the military unit for Armstrong High School. I think, and I could be wrong, they are on the Dunbar High School’s field. From this view there are two tall buildings in the background. Those buildings do not exist in current day Truxton Circle. I think they are part of the Homeopathic Hospital.

Black Truxton Circle Notables

So Ward 5 Councilman Zachary Parker introduced legislation designating streets in honor of prominent Black figures with ties to Ward 5. The key word is “ties”.

For the Truxton Circle neighborhood, his office picked Rayford Logan. Logan’s tie? He went to Dunbar. sigh. A whole bunch of people went Dunbar, way more famous and notable than Logan.

I get why they didn’t pick Dunbar graduates such as Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, or Councilman Vincent Gray or Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, because they aren’t dead yet.

Portrait of Charles Drew.jpg
Dr. Charles R. Drew, Dunbar alum

But why not Dunbar graduate Dr. Charles Drew? Is it because he has a number of schools and health centers named after him? Is it because he got a postage stamp? Is colorism at play and Dr. Drew is too light skinned?

Okay, then maybe Billy Taylor, jazz pianist. He went to Dunbar.

I see another Dunbar graduate Sterling Allen Brown was designated to Brookland, where he lived. Which seems to be more of a tie than Logan’s “tie” to Truxton Circle.

I believe Rayful Edmond went to Dunbar. He’s the drug kingpin mentioned in TC author, Tony Lewis Jr.’s book, Slugg: A Boy’s Life in the Age of Mass Incarceration. Edmond had a huge impact on the Hanover St section of Truxton Circle, but I wouldn’t rename any streets after him.

You know what is across the street from Dunbar? Armstrong. It was a technical school or high school. Duke Ellington went there. But I understand not wanting to name another thing after the great Duke Ellington. I love Duke Ellington, but you can have too much of a good thing. Another jazz great went to Armstrong, Billy Eckstine, but no body cares about Billy Eckstine.

I hadn’t even touched on the people who ACTUALLY LIVED IN TRUXTON CIRCLE!

Peter Murray PortraitWe have Dr. Peter Marshall Murray who was president of the National Medical Association and who lived at 1645 New Jersey Ave NW.

Next is female filmmaker, Eloyce Gist. Not only does she have a Wikipedia page, she has an IMDB page. She was married several times so she has a few different names, but she lived at 134 R St NW, which no longer exists.

Before this gets too long, I did decide to take a look at the other neighborhoods and the names Councilman Parker’s office ( don’t believe Mr. Parker came up with this list) came up with.

Edna Brown Coleman was a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. She was one of the 22 founding members. Delta Sigma Theta planned and constructed the Delta Towers in Ward 5 in the 1970s, so therefore Coleman who died in 1919, gets a street. I mena her brother Sterling A. Brown gets Brookland, why not? Trinidad neighborhood, you have my sympathies. The link Logan has to the TC is kinda dumb, but not this level of dumb.

Moving on…

Ivy City gets Alexander Crummell. His tie? A school in the neighborhood was named after him.

The Carver-Langston area will get John Mercer Langston. Sure the whole neighborhood is kinda named after him. A street? Sure why not?

Bates Street- Get to Poppin’

I’m thinking about doing a history of the set of houses that have a unique style in the Truxton Circle area. These would be the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company houses that are mostly on Bates St NW. I want to do the same level of depth of research as I do the Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle series.

But I know a negative side of doing such research and sharing it. I did not intend to provide information for the Wardman Flats to become a historic landmark. So there is the slight chance that what I put out there could be used by someone to attempt to make a historic district or landmark.

It’s not like there aren’t other bits of history about the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company and Bates Street about. The House History Man authored a post about 9 years ago on this subject. And there is a book The History and Development of the Housing Movement in the City of Washington, D.C. published by the Washington Sanitary Improvement Company, available at the Smithsonian site, Google Books, and other sites on the web.

So with a few years warning, I say to you owners of former Washington Sanitary Improvement Company homes, get to poppin’. Throw on your pop ups, your pop backs. Install ye vinyl windows while ye may. Change the friggin fronts.

Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Arthur B. McKinney

Parts of this are from a previous post I published some time ago. I’m revisiting this African American home owner, to add more information.

I had given up on Mrs. Annie Newsome (or Annie Newsone in the 1940 census) who was listed as the head of household and married. She appears in the 1930 census with a different possible birth year. So I gave up on her and decided to look at a professional man who might have more information about him.

Dr. Arthur B. McKinney abducted from Freedmen's HospitalDr. Arthur B. McKinney abducted from Freedmen’s Hospital Sat, May 15, 1926 – Page 2 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comSo I chose Dr. Arthur B. McKinney of 1519 1st St NW from the 1940 census. From the little clip above, Dr. McKinney was involved in some odd little caper in 1926 where his brothers abducted him from Freedmen’s Hospital and took him to his mother’s house at 1515 1st St NW. A Della A. McKinney, widow, is listed as a home owner in the 1930 census at that address.

In the 1920 Census, Arthur B. McKinney was a 31 year old doctor living with his mother Della at 1515 1st St. NW. Looking at Ancestry’s family tree, his full name was Arthur Bancroft McKinney. He married Ethel J. Thornton in December of 1920. They apparently had no children. But the family tree fails to note his siblings as Samuel A. and Della McKinney had 5 sons, 2 daughters, a daughter-in-law, and a grandson living with them in 1900 at 63 P St NW. Continue reading Black Home Owners of Truxton Circle: Arthur B. McKinney

There’s a hole in my Truxton Circle data

Image of hole in brick wallThere’s a hole in my Truxton Circle data. I discovered it with my Property Owners of Truxton Circle series. I was writing an article that I had hoped to publish based on the old data. But discovering this missing data means I have to take a break from that writing project.

It also means all the previous posts based on the data is a little off. It means the imagery based on the data is off.  The website will still have incorrect data until I am sure I got everything.

I guess this means I will be doing a bunch of QC. On the plus side, I’ll blog my discoveries.

Property Owners of Truxton Circle- The Brungers

I’ve jumped around and I think I have all the multi-lot owners and the surnames that appear several times. Now we come to William C. and Annie C. Brunger, owners of lot 844 on Square 551, 210 R Street NW.

Since the Ancestry search (available via the awesome DC Public Library) gave me the right info straight out of the gate, I’ll start there first. Ancestry has these family tree things and the Brungers show up in the Reynolds-Smith family tree. The English born carpenter (later foreman), William Charles Brunger (1865- 1928) was married to Annie Caroline Wright (1865-1926), and they had 3 children (Berton William Brunger was born 1889 in DC – died in 1970 in FL; Lillian R Brunger – Leonberger 1893–1967 – also in FL; and Charles A Brunger 1894–1921). In his will he left his daughter Lillian (aka Mrs. F.J. Leonberger) 11 Kennedy Street NE. Berton was bequeathed 210 R St NW, in Truxton Circle. His son Charles was already dead and apparently childless, so nothing for him.

The 1900 Census has the Brunger family living on Sq. 551, but not at 210 R St NW. They are at 1637 3rd St NW in 1910 and 1920. I have discovered they are not on the Excel sheet for 1900. According to a city directory he lived at 11 Kennedy Street NE in 1926.

Image not found Continue reading Property Owners of Truxton Circle- The Brungers

Buy this house: The InShaw house going on the market this week

Photo on the day I bought 1618 in 2001.

It’s been a 19 year adventure but now it’s time to start a new chapter. I will leave to the new owner a dehumidifier, all the Ikea window treatments (maybe a 202 land line), and an awesome block in a great neighborhood if they can keep it up. I took this circa 1874 house from a semi-neglected pile of bricks to a well renovated, updated, much loved home.

I’m curious about how our Realtor will sum up the house in a paragraph. The house has been through 4 renovations, this latest $11K update (a list of minor things, painting, and fixing things that didn’t bother us) and a few major repairs and updates we’ve made over the past 2 years. All those renovations, were done with my comfort and happiness in mind, not to make a buck. I’ve gutted this thing down to the joists and brick and had it rebuilt with updated plumbing, wiring, and insulation. Only a few other houses on this block can boast the same thing. I’ll probably do a separate series of posts just recapping those updates.

Red ornament with snow on tree

It’s the people who make a neighborhood, the housing, the structures just do the sheltering. This block has some great neighbors and I know I’m bragging when I say we will be missed. Hopefully, the new people will pitch in for the annual decorating of the trees for Christmas, shoving the sidewalks with neighbors after a big snow, or help Brian keep the street and sidewalks clean. That’s what we did. And the only way to keep the block awesome is for the people who live here to be awesome. The 1600 block of 4th St has it’s own email list, with none of the crazy of Nextdoor. See Brian’s wife or the guy with the Dalmatian to join.

When I moved here nearly 2 decades ago the main things this place had going for it was being in walking distance to the Ghetto Giant and the Shaw metro. Now the Giant is a bit more gentrified, you can still walk to the metro and despite the pandemic there are a bunch of places to walk to that are open and operating. Today, I ran errands with Destructo-kid. We went to the post office to drop some mail in the box at NJ and FL Avenues. Then walked over to the UPS store on 7th to turn in the router for the FIOS (yes, the house is set up for FIOS). After that we walked over to Nicecream but the person had stepped away so we went to a small playground. Then we returned to Nicecream and had a melty cup of carbs at the corner of 8th and Florida. After that we ran into friends from Immaculate at Union Kitchen on 8th. A couple of days ago I went to the Bloomingdale Farmers Market and picked up some Dan Dan noodles (oh, so good) and later the Help got groceries from the new Whole Foods on Florida Avenue.

After a 2-3 week delay the contractors finally finished painting and fixing and replacing stuff. The cleaner has come in and worked a miracle cleaning the kitchen sink (something we really didn’t care about living here). And now that every vestige of our personality has been stripped from the premises, the stager has staged the house, and that place sure as heck doesn’t look like we ever lived there. Maybe Thursday or Friday the house will show up on the MLS and we’ll see what the world thinks it’s really worth.

So you may be wondering will I be keeping up the InShaw blog after this? Yes, but not as a resident. As far as I know I’m the world’s expert on Truxton Circle history, so there’s that. I’ll be keeping up this and at some point in the future updating