Friday, January 08, 2010

Truxton Circle- People and a lost traffic circle

If you haven't seen it arleady Left for LeDroit has a post on the Truxton Circle and how you can still find it's outline today.
And I think I can say I can now start the writing portion of Truxton Circle 1900. I cleaned up a lot of data, deleted addresses that you'd think were in the study area, but aren't and tracked down people for whom some enumerators were too drunk to write down their addresses. When I started out whites outnumbered black residents by a smidgen. With the data clean-up and address removal, blacks outnumber whites by a smidgen and I still have 4 Chinese guys.
There was this one fellow, Paul Pearson, of 218 N Street. He was a white DC born Druggist, who lived with his Maryland born wife, Emma, and owned his home free and clear. According to the 1899 city directory he worked at 500 New Jersey Avenue NW. The National Association of Realtors building sits where his workplace sat. Considering where his home and work were located he must of had a pretty good commute. And if memory serves me right there was a streetcar nearby that could have taken him straight there.

Labels: , ,

links to this post

Monday, November 30, 2009

SQUEEEE!!!! Census data

Ah, the best use of an unemployed college graduate and a spare room. I hired my cousin to do some data entry on the 1900 census and she has just completed enumeration district 64, which is the northern part of the TC. Enumeration District 64 (ED64)goes from the 1400 block (odd #) of NJ to the 1700 block, Florida and Rhode Island Aves, 1st St, to Q and O Streets. I immediately tossed the Excel worksheet into an Access database and created a query about working women. Now I'm still getting used to the updated MS Access program and can't seem to figure out how to exclude women "at school". Women over the age of 15, 595 of them had some occupation. Of those 595 women, 473 were black. In 1900 the TC north African American women were laundresses, nurses (child and sick), house servants, and cooks. White working women were saleswomen, teachers, house keepers, landladies, office workers, and seamstresses.

To clarify, my census project is sponsored personally by me. I get moral and other minimal support from my employer, as it sort of falls under professional development. Secondly, this is NOT a building or house history project. Things like houses are secondary, people are more interesting. I have no intention of putting the raw data on-line. For one, it's too much. ED 64 is over 2,500 names alone, and there are 3 other EDs to go. I do hope to go on to census years 1910-1930. However the rate we're going I'll probably get through to 1910 or 1920.

Labels: , ,

links to this post

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Ten Days of Truxtun- The End

Day 10. I've been trying to figure out at what point Tom Truxtun went from Captain Truxtun to Commodore Truxtun. Apparently some time between 1800-1801, when he took command of the President and before he quit the US Navy all together because of some ranking spat, that wasn't entirely Truxtun's fault. In 1801 the fake war with France ended and there wasn't much of a need for a wartime naval force. And it appears through some letters sent in 1802 about a meeting with the Secretary of the Navy, because he caught a cold failed to dine with the Secretary, who apparently wasn't that keen on him in the 1st place, who then failed to provide Truxtun with the requested personnel needed. It seems that Truxtun decided if he was going to get no respect he may as well quit. So he did and from 1803-1822 lived life as a gentleman living off of prize money won in earlier years. He had a farm, a couple for a while, but settled at Wood Lawn, a farm not far from Philadelphia. He served as a High Sheriff from 1816-1819. In 1822 he died, his wife a year later.

Ten Days of Truxtun:
Day 1- The Name-The Hood
Day 2- Slavery
Day 3- Commodore's background
Day 4- What I did During the American Revolution
Day 5- Continuing the Revolutionary War
Day 6- Going for broke
Day 7- In the Navy
Day 8- Not the British Navy
Day 9- Fake French War

Resources- Commodore Thomas Truxtun 1755-1822 by Eugene S. Ferguson. The free Library of Philadelphia, 1947.
Truxtun of the Constellation: The Life of Commodor Thomas Truxtun, US Navy, 1755-1822, by Eugene S. Ferguson. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.

Labels: ,

links to this post

Friday, October 02, 2009

Ten Days of Truxtun- What I did During the American Revolution

Day 4 of looking at the man for whom the neighborhood gets its name.
In my last post about Tom Truxtun I mistakenly said he was captain of the Chance, I was wrong. After losing his first ship he captained to the British, he was just a prize lieutenant on the privateering ship the Chance. Not because he lost a ship in the Caribbean but because he got to the investors too late and they had already chosen captains.
So in Spring 1776 he sailed out from Philadelphia on the Chance heading for the Caribbean to stick up British merchant ships. Which by the way was a very profitable enterprise during the Revolutionary War. Investors would get half the spoils, and the rest were divided amongst officers and crew.... once it got through the court system. The Chance did well taking unarmed and out gunned British ships.
In the Summer of 1776 Tom Truxtun teamed up with a New York investor by the name of Issac Sears. Sears made Tom the captain of a 70 ton sloop called the Independence at the age of 21. Apparently the British were holding New York's bay at the time so he had to sneak his ship out by going down the East River.
Somewhere in southern waters he managed to capture a ship that got separated from its convoy. In capturing that ship he got a hold of the signals the convoy was using. So he joined the convoy, showing all the right signals, blending in. At night he came close to a ship he thought was holding the greatest bounty, took it over and separated it from the convoy. His adventure with the Independence led in the capture of 2 brigs and two ships, though one did get recaptured by the British.
I'll continue with Tom Truxtun in 1777 as captain of the Mars.

Labels: ,

links to this post

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Ten Days of Truxton- Commodore's Background

Okay day 3.
Who was Thomas Truxtun?
He's a boy from Long Island, 20 miles from the "town" of New York. Born in February 17, 1755 son of a barrister who was working on his second family. His father had left the first set in Jamaica, West Indies. Tom Truxtun had about two years of formal schooling before he was sent off to sea at the age of 12. Though this reminds me of a Dicken’s plot, his mother had died and his father was working on family #3 and poor Tom gets apprenticed to the Pitt. The Pitt was a Bristol ship and Tom was to be cabin boy. At the age of 16 he was pressed into His Majesty’s Royal Navy (remember America was still a colony) during some international flap between England and Spain. After England and Spain settled peacefully Tom Truxton, went back to merchant seamanship on the London.
When he was 20 years old he became captain of the Charming Polly and married a 15 year old girl named Mary in 1775. He was captured in that same year, due to hostilities between the British and the American Colonies, lost his ship (of which he’d owned ½) when overtaken by the Brits in the Caribbean. When he got back to America he became a privateer as captain of the Chance exacting his revenge on British ships in the Caribbean.
Next- Ten Days of Truxton- What I did During the American Revolution

Labels: ,

links to this post

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ten Days of Truxton- Slavery

I've heard of an objection to Truxton's name because he was a slaveholder. The whole city is named for a big old slaveholder. Worse yet, we've got a big phallic symbol on the Mall in honor of Washington, not far from that other memorial from another slaveholder, Jefferson, who also owned a number of humans.
The big biography by Eugene S. Furguson has very little to say about Commodore Thomas Truxton and slavery. Just one paragraph speaking of a period of then Captain Truxtun's life when he was a on financially shaky ground and his family was growing with 6 girls and two boys. And the family seemed to split their time between Cranbury, New Jersey and Philadelphia:
Their Negro servant, Hannah, was still with the family; but Captain Truxtun, influenced by his late friend Franklin's stand on slavery, had set her free on condition that he never be called upon to support her, should she leave his employ. Apparently she had chosen to stay on.

The Franklin mentioned is Benjamin Franklin.
Then the question is why did Hannah choose to stay. A couple factors might explain, she's a woman, possibly alone with no family, possibly no supportive Afro-American community in Cranbury, her age may've played a factor, and it's 1794-95.
So Truxtun's sin was owning at least one woman who didn't leave when the opportunity to do so was presented. For some that's unforgivable and puts him in the same league as worse transgressors such as Washington and Jefferson. Others may not count it against him in light of what he has given to fledgling US Navy.

Next Ten Days of Truxton- Commodore's Background

Labels: ,

links to this post

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ten Days of Truxton- The Name- The Hood

Okay, I gotta book that I checked out of the library and I'ma goin' to use it. The book is Truxtun of the Constellation by Eugene S. Furguson.
I am inspired to write for two reasons one is an article from the WP columnist John Kelly, "There is no Washington, DC-- but I'm not renaming my column" and an Examiner article about the TC. In the John Kelly piece, if completely accurate supports my suspicion that people in the last few centuries weren't sticklers when it came to place names. Federal City, Washington City, same diff. When the most accurate official and legal name isn't high on your list of priorities sloppiness may occur. The punishment for sloppiness is that long after the responsible generation is dead later generations get to nit pick.
Seriously, someone find me PROOF, actual f*ing primary resourced proof that the Shaw neighborhood was named DIRECTLY after Robert Gould Shaw, and not the Shaw Junior High School, which was. Because prior to the 1950s I can't find a bit of proof that the neighborhood was even called Shaw, as a neighborhood. Mid City and northwest are the only names that seem to pop up prior to the Shaw School Urban Renewal Project. I am not counting the school districting.
So, 'round the turn of the century there was the Truxton Circle (named for Thomas Truxtun) at Florida and North Capitol. I've heard talk that the actual circle was in Eckington. But since streets act as borders, I'm going to say it was bordering West Eckington and Old City. Eckington is a suburb of the City (of Washington).Using the journal Washington History Volume 14, No. 2 as a guide, there is Eckington(1887), Center Eckington (1891) and West Eckington(1891). These sub-divisions are on the other side of Boundary Street/ Florida Avenue and the City residents have just as much claim to the traffic circle as the Eckington and Bloomingdale(1889) ones.
So the Truxton traffic circle was a traffic hazard and it went away. But then appeared a Truxton Post Office. On Florida Avenue, NE, not helping my argument. And then sometime in the 60s or 70s it closed. Then in the 60s came the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area project of which the TC is a part of, but it appears there was no reason to call our part Truxton Circle. Then came the Ward & ANC system in the 70s where Shaw was divided, having most of Shaw in Ward 2 and the TC in Ward 5. In the late 80s when the District government was selling houses and bringing in cable, they referred to the area as Truxton Circle.
Next Ten Days of Truxton: Slavery.

Labels: ,

links to this post

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Truxton Circle in Shaw

Shaw and Truxton as a concept
Maps from the mid 19th century do show some settlement in the area presently known as Shaw[1]. But the structures are clustered along a few main roads while other areas, like modern day Truxton Circle, are empty with a few isolated lonely structures.
As time progressed the population of the area grew. However, there is little to no evidence of any particular neighborhood name such as Shaw existing prior to the urban renewal project in the mid 20th century. Despite a circle there is no evidence of Truxton Circle as a neighborhood name, rather it was a landmark that things were "near" [2].
Prior to the Federal government's National Capital Planning Commission, along with the RLA (Redevelopment Land Agency), creation of the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area, the name Shaw was associated with the Jr. High. It's application to any particular area could be stretched with the application of that school's borders which was established in the 50's [3]. As part of the Redevelopment Act (of 1961?) the National Capitol Planning Commission defined the borders of what is modern Shaw as the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area. See this map from 1970 to see what was and what wasn't Shaw [4].
Truxton in Shaw
In 1969, a grad student working with MICCO, Model Inner City Community Organization, in Shaw, noticed, "Concentrations and/or differences in land uses, physical conditions and building types, income property ownership and race coupled with identifiable places of community activity, all combine to suggest several communities within the Shaw area (see map 3)." One of the communities Mr. Reginald Wilbert Griffith mapped out in his MIT dissertation, fits the outline of Truxton Circle [5]. Also another smaller community within Shaw acknowledged it was in Shaw. In 1973 in a report submitted to RLA in the introduction, the first sentence reads, " The Logan Circle Historic District is a unique assemblage of 154 Victorian buildings located in the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area"[6].
Unfortunately Truxton is separated from the rest of Shaw by Ward boundaries. The majority of Shaw is in Ward 2, while Truxton is in Ward 5. These political boundaries also reflect police districts, most of Shaw being in the 3rd district and Truxton in the 5th. So with these political boundaries, determined by census data, like congressional districts, it may give the false appearance that Truxton is it's own separated neighborhood.

Okay, I'm not really interested in adding anymore footnotes, so I'm stopping. Disagreeing commenters can talk about their feelings and opinions which are neither evidence nor proof. In the arguments about borders and such it seems no one bothers doing research. Claims with out anything to back it up is just bull.

Messy Footnotes-
1. Map of Washington City, District of Columbia, seat of the federal government : respectfully dedicated to the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of North America / surveyed and published by A. Boschke C.E. from the Library of Congress. Circa 1857.
2. SALE OF SIX HOMES SHOW PRICES HIGH The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Apr 27, 1919. p. R6 (1 page) and $110,500 IN SALES OF HOMES IN CITY; Houses Fetch $17,500 Disposed by Hartung & Gibbons. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Nov 7, 1920. p. 34 (1 page).
3. "Corning Sets Integrated School Zone Boundaries," by Marie Smith, Washington Post, July 2, 1954 p. 1, 25-26.
4. NCPC File No. UR-07 "Resolution Modifying the Boundaries and Urban Renewal Plan for the Shaw School Urban Renewal Area"; File UR 07 Modification #6 NDP 2; Records Relating to Urban Renewal; National Capital Planning Commission (1952-), Record Group 328; National Archives Building Washington, DC: and SHAW SCHOOL URBAN RENEWAL AREA District of Columbia. As adopted by the National Capitol Planning commission and approved by the District of Columbia Council through March 29, 1973. N.C.P.C Map File 31 20
5. "The influence of meaningful citizen participation on the urban renewal process and the renewal of the inner-city's black community: a case study - Washington, D.C.'s Shaw School urban renewal area - MICCO, a unique experiment." by Reginald Wilbert Griffith 1969. MIT, Cambridge, MA
6. "The Logan Circle Historic Preservation Area: Summary if a Report Submitted to the RLA" by Turner Associates, P.C. and Nicholas Satterlee & Associates. Summary prepared October 1973. (Possibly from the National Archives RG 328, National Capital Planning Commission, unknown series, box 92, no file.)

Labels: , ,

links to this post

Crap Today Must Be Truxton Circle Day

Prince of Petworth has "Reader Finds Remnants of Truxton Circle."

and though posted yesterday, but the comments are from today...
BACA Blog asks What's in a Name? particularly the name Truxton Circle.

And during my lunch hour I created this bibliography thing about the TC and the WP. Click comment to see it all.
History of the term “Truxton Circle” in the Washington Post
[Method search “Truxton Circle” in ProQuest looking for articles only prior to 01/01/1940 in the Washington Post, which includes the Washington Star. Not all articles are cited.]

THE DISTRICT SURVEYOR.; Recommendations About the Preservation of Plats and Records. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Aug 1, 1891. p. 5 (1 page)- regarding surveys for proposed circles. This is the earliest mention of the TC found.

ASKS DISTRICT TO PAY; Dog Catchers Caused Injury to a Bicycle. CHASED BULLDOG, BROKE A WHEEL Animal in Attempting to Escape the Net Ran Into the Bicycle of P.J. Nee, Who Claims Damages -- District Auditor Approved Application and Recommends Payment -- Plants from Mount Vernon Square to Decorate Other Reservations. The Washington Post. Mar 15, 1900. p. 12 (1 page) – Shrubbery for the circle. No mention of the Knights who say shrubbery.

AFFAIRS OF ECKINGTON.; Mr. Macfarland Opposed to Citizens' Associations' Candidate for School Board. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Jun 26, 1900. p. 2 (1 page)- Mentions moving a fountain at Pennsylvania, M and 26th to “Truxton Circle in Eckington.” Citizens associations tended to be white, and the Eckington Citizen Association I’ve noticed stuck their noses in the affairs of things south of Florida Avenue to about New York Avenue. Prior to 1900 the TC wasn’t heavily populated, in 1880 there were less than 1,000 persons living in the area.

MR. MACFARLAND THEIR GUEST.; Commends Interest of Citizens' Association in Public Affairs. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: May 28, 1901. p. 8 (1 page)- Mentions the Eckington and North Capitol Citizen Associations, and them thanking the city for the fountain at Truxton Circle.

SALE OF SIX HOMES SHOW PRICES HIGH The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Apr 27, 1919. p. R6 (1 page)- 51 Q Street NE (modern Eckington) being described as near Truxton Circle. In same article Dupont Circle is described as a neighborhood. TC not described as such.

$110,500 IN SALES OF HOMES IN CITY; Houses Fetch $17,500 Disposed by Hartung & Gibbons. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Nov 7, 1920. p. 34 (1 page). 149 Bates Street sold and described as being near North Capitol and Truxton Circle. In same article, Bloomingdale described as ‘an attractive area’.

RYAN QUITS CENTRAL CITIZENS' PRESIDENCY; Will Head Movement to Form Another Association in Same Territory. SECTION CALLED TOO BIG The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Apr 26, 1925. p. 2 (1 page)- Mr. Francis J. Ryan proposes a new citizens association that would have borders from NY Ave, Truxton Circle, and New Jersey Avenue……

AUTO SIGNAL LIGHTS TO BE READY DEC. 15; Sixteenth Street Crossings and Truxton Circle to Be Equipped. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Nov 14, 1925. p. 20 (1 page)- Truxton Circle gets a traffic light.

Girl Drives with Arm Around Poodle; Fined. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Jul 9, 1926. p. 22 (1 page)- In sub article, people are skinny-dipping in the Truxton Circle fountain.

$15,000 Asked in Suit For Alleged Injury. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Aug 13, 1926. p. 20 (1 page)- Woman Sues streetcar company because of injury in a car at the TC.

The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Jun 19, 1927. p. S10 (2 pages)- Mention of Truxton Circle Station Post Office. The post office will out live the circle.

400 CARRIERS NAMED FOR CHRISTMAS MAIL; Postmaster to Appoint Equal Number of Clerks for the Holiday Rush. BARGAIN DAYS ANNOUNCED
The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Dec 11, 1927. p. 2 (1 page)- Post office. Other post offices mentioned are U Street and Petworth.

$25,000 Asked for Injuries. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Jul 11, 1928. p. 8 (1 page)- Did they have a phone and if so, did they have a lawyer? Lawsuit regarding traffic accident at Truxton Circle.

Washington's Fountains Temper Summer's Heat; Increased Supply of Water Due to the New Filtration Plant on Conduit Road Enables the City to Keep Fountains Going More Regularly Than in the Past -- Boon to Children and Other Stay-at-Homes. Washington's Fountains Temper Summer Heat, by Victoria Faber Stevenson.. The Washington Post (1877. Jul 29, 1928. p. SM3 (2 pages)- Mentions how the Truxton fountain in Truxton Circle was becoming a landmark.

MAN DIES TWO HURT IN MOTOR MISHAPS; Driver of Truck Is Instantly Killed When Crushed Against Radiator. LAD PAINFULLY INJURED. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Dec 17, 1929. p. 5 (1 page)- First noted traffic death at the circle. The problem was truck was overloaded with granite and crushed driver.

Bandit Pair Robs 2 Filling Stations; First and H and Wisconsin and Q Gasoline Depots Are Victimized. The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Dec 27, 1932. p. 14 (1 page)- First noted robbery of Truxton Circle post office at 17 Florida Ave NE.

[article search 1940-1999]
Post Office Bandits Get $500 Here, The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973). Washington, D.C.: Jul 24, 1965. p. A3 (1 page)- Last mention of Truxton Circle post office getting robbed.

Subsidy Program's Nuts and Bolts, The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.: Aug 2, 1984. p. A15 (1 page)- Truxton Circle first mentioned as a neighborhood as a target area for mortgage subsidies.

D.C. Cable Firm Unveils Wiring Schedule, Seeks More Concessions; D.C. Cable Firm Tells 5-Year Plan, Seeks Concessions , by Marcia Slacum Greene Washington Post Staff Writer. The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.: Sep 4, 1985. p. C1 (2 pages)- Another article mention of Truxton Circle in listing of neighborhoods to get cable.

Community Outcry Wins Reprieve for Lenny's; Bank Delays Evicting Popular Neighborhood Store Until Buyer for Building Is Found by Elizabeth Wiener Special to The Washington Post. The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Oct 31, 1991. p. DC2 (1 page)- Quote” I understand the position Riggs [National Bank] is in – they just want to download the property, and they’re within their rights, “ said Kathy Glynn, chairman of the Truxton Circle Coalition, an umbrella group for civic associations in the area. “But we’re really getting tired of the constant destabilization of businesses moving out because of crime and real estate turnovers. This is a store people rely on.”

Labels: , ,

links to this post

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

NoMa Claiming TC space

Noma Trash Can
Originally uploaded by In Shaw
Saturday when I was out and about I noticed NoMa work crews cleaning up the sidewalks around the NY Ave metro station. Not just there though, they also were in the TC cleaning. There are 4 blocks of NE Truxton (between FL, NY NE and N. Cap) that I tend not to care about as they are a parking lot, DDOT, the Wendy's, and the block with issues. I've seen the NoMa uniformed people, and the NoMa tagged trash cans, like the one in the photo, in NE TC.
However, this Saturday I spotted them in NW TC, along the western side of North Capitol. They were sweeping and pulling up weeds.
Is this how neighborhood take overs start? With small troops of older men armed with brooms and scoops. Is territory marked with fancy trash cans? I like the trash cans.
Little matter, North Cap needs cleaning and since there is no North Cap BID (well not one that I know of) we welcome our Capitol Hill North NoMa overlords. May they bring us convienent shopping and quirky small regional chains or at least cleaner streets.

Map of NoMa territory
NoMa Website


links to this post

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

We are the TC 'cause DC sez so

IMGoph reported on the Bloomingdale (for now) blog a new service that one can see what houses are private, tax exempt, etc on a nice little map. Well I went to look at the DC Citizen Atlas, saw a tax exempt (I think, as I can't tell brown from red) property in that hood, and clicked on it I saw listed as the city neighborhood, TRUXTON CIRCLE.
Hopefully, that settles it. But then again it might have been settled prior to this, as I haven't heard much against the name since Spring.


links to this post

Sunday, September 23, 2007

1889 B/W

Squaresof TCmap
Originally uploaded by In Shaw
I'm finally getting to figuring out where am I with the census research. But it is going to take second place to getting around to writing an article for work. Anyway, cleaning out some of the files I found something I labeled "'State Censuses' District of Columbia'" and the title page reads "Index to the EXECUTIVE DOCUMENTS of the House of Representatives for the ..." 2nd session of the 15th congress, 1888-'89.
On page 206-207 lists the different blocks and their White/Colored make-up. Just doing the Northern TC and NJ Ave TC Adjacent portions, this is how it breaks down:
Block White Colored
507 157/ 111
508 81/ 0
509 216/ 41
509E 103/ 253
510 306/ 337
511 323/ 173
512 232/ 711
519 11/ 2
520 23/ 124
521 43/ 155
550 98/ 22
551 218(248)/ 417
553 129/ 488
553W 51/ 93
614 47/ 1
615 105/ 104
616 171/ 239

Labels: ,

links to this post

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

North Capitol, Catania Bakery

For news about the TC it seems I have to keep up with the Eckington listserv. How wacky is that? Anyway, as some of you know Saturday Catania Bakery was robbed, as sadly one of the many summer crimes that has occured in the area in the past month or so (I'll be so happy when school starts up). Discussion on the listserv about the robbery brought up this from ANC leader Kris Hammond:
There is some good news. Nicole the owner is currently renovating one of the buildings. Pat Mitchell, myself, Jessica (Nicole's granddaughter), and Paul of Warehouse on 9th Street recently viewed the property for artist studio potential. We all want the buildings filled and it has been very slow, but I recently learned that there have been some personal extenuating circumstances that are part of the reason. Hopefully it will all change soon. Nicole/Catania just recently successfully rented out office space on the second floor of another building.


Well good thing that office got leased out.

Labels: , ,

links to this post

Monday, July 16, 2007

Truxton Circle RE location

Between painting (if you haven't seen me, it's because I've been painting) I stopped to read the Sunday Post. Curious I wanted to see what houses were advertised for sale in the area, and how far Logan East is these days. Well to my surprise I spied a house advertized as "Truxton Circle/ Shaw /Eckington". Two out of three isn't bad. But it isn't in Eckington. Eckington is the other side of Florida Avenue. This house is at 26 Hanover Pl. NW. Nope, Eckington several blocks over. And you can be in Shaw & Truxton Circle at the same time.


links to this post

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Drink up, it's for the kids

Truxton Circle Happy Hour is tonight at Vegetate. I guess we are going gather upstairs near the bar. The webdudes of are going to pass the hat around to help fund this Saturday's Fun Fair at 1st and Florida. The Fun Fair will have a moon bounce, hot dogs/ burgers, fire safety for the kids, and some health stuff.

Also my lousy notes from the BACA meeting is up at the supersecret site. And once again the user name is "thismeeting" and psw is "neverhappened".

Labels: ,

links to this post

Friday, May 18, 2007

Renovation 2007: Inspections & Miss. Cel Lany

Well my contractor called and said that the electrical inspection passed. Yay. And because they can't do anything until the plumbing inspection there has been a lull in the amount of work they are doing at the house. Meaning, no one is around when say the plumbing inspector drops by. So there was a big red sticker (not orange but red) on the door saying that the plumbing inspector was by and there was no one to let him in. So that holds back the work until sometime next week when the contractor will wait around the house for the city inspector to come by and look at the plumbing.
The plumbing looks, interesting. He's using plastic or pvc or whatever the heck that is, instead of copper in some spots. I guess that saves me money, considering the price of copper. The radiator lines do have copper.
Once the plumbing inspection goes through then they will begin the dizzying fast paced work of insulating and sticking up drywall. That's when the walls will seem more real and I get closer to moving back into my house.
On the TC front it looks like the grant for the Hanover Civic people and their Truxton Circle confirming beautification project will go through. I say, looks like. Given that the city already calls the area Truxton Circle and the Hanover people need the money and a few of us sent letters in support of the Hanover grant, I think we should be good.
In the Shaw history research area I went to look for Shaw, Washington's premier Black neighborhood : an examination of the origins and development of a Black business movement, 1880-1920 by Michael Fitzpatrick at the MLK and it is lost. It might be misfiled but it wasn't behind the desk, like it was supposed to be. Nor was it on the shelf in the Washingtonia room. Confronted with this problem, I decided to leave the MLK, hop on the yellow line and go to VA to buy shoes. Cloth flats totally make up for a disappointing research outing.

Labels: , ,

links to this post

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Rose by any other name can stink when it hits the fan

While I was away this weekend, mourning the death of my grandma, the whole what's the friggin name of the neighborhood blew up. As far as I've been able to grasp it, a vocal party in the Bates Area that is opposed to the name Truxton Circle penned a few letters to various city officials expressing their opposition to the name. However, one of those letters was to DDOT requesting "an immediate stay on the grant application for a Truxton Circle Banner pending further review." Considering that city grant money may be harder to come by in the future, and that it is easier to get grants once you've gotten one, our little disagreement about the name of the neighborhood has gone too far.
I had not seen the letter that started it when I had seen the Truxton Circle dot org's Daily (somewhat weekly-ish) dispatch in my inbox on my cell phone. I read the dispatcher's letter, which expressed anger and irritation, leaving me to wonder WTF? It wasn't until Sunday night when I read the offending letter and got a fuller account from the co-founder of TruxtonCircle.Org. Dang.
I respect the right of my fellow neighbors to disagree and go into the public sphere to express said disagreement. Regarding the name and history of the neighborhood, I welcome any research that others bring forth. The problems in the offending letter were a few statements and one poor citation. Let's review:
Specifically, the Hanover project grant states that the Hanover neighborhood is "bounded by P Street NW, North Capitol Street, New York Avenue NW and 1st Street NW". This is inaccurate. According to the Shaw School Urban Renewal Plan, the historic borders of the Hanover Street are limited to Hanover Street.
I haven't seen anything in the SSURP defining smaller areas, but then again, I haven't seen the SSURP in its fullness. But the borders cited by the Hanover people are the same borders they've been citing for the last 5-6 years as their section of the TC, as opposed to the Bates Area. I'd hope that if we went hunting for grant money for just BACA it would not be limited to Bates Street and denied to Q, R, 4th, 3rd, 1st and North Cap.
Therefore, the grant applicant's request for a Truxton Circle banner on 1st NW is inaccurate. According to the text "Washington DC, Past and Future " the former Truxton Circle was located at the 1600 block of North Capitol Street NE, not in Old City, Bates Shaw East community. Additionally, there was not and is not a neighborhood called Truxton Circle. It was a landmark, not a neighborhood.
I already did the when the TC was a neighborhood and not a landmark or a post office in another post. And I can't find Washington DC, Past and Future in Amazon or Half, nor is an author cited. I did a Google search and came up with nothing, which leads me to think this might be an article, and if that is so citing the journal would be nice.
There was some other stuff, but to go over them would be nitpicky. We're all human and prone to error. One of the undersigned in the counter grant letter had nicely pointed out a typographical error on my main site. I am thankful for that correction and in the same spirit of neighborliness, while having differing opinions, I suggest that in this public sphere argument, stronger citations and proof be brought forth. Meaning, if you are going to cite a source if it is a book or article cite the title and author and journal if applicable. If it is an oral history, interviewee, interviewer, date and repository where the interview is housed. And if anyone has a question about any of the sources I cite or use when asserting a statement as fact contact me if you feel that my bibliography or citations are incomplete. The idea is to let you the reader and member of the public review the research for yourself (should you decide to drag yourself to the MLK or the historical society's library) and decide.

Labels: , ,

links to this post

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


There was some good natured conversation at last night's BACA meeting about where the hell are we. Apparently at a meeting I missed, there was more of a continuous meeting regarding the name of the neighborhood.
Just to restate: I am in the Bates Area, which is in Truxton Circle, which is in Shaw, which is in Old City II, which is in Washington, which is in the District of Columbia, which is in the United States of America. You might be in Westminster, which maybe in (I'm not sure) Logan Circle, which is in (though some might not want to admit it) in Shaw, which is in Old City II, etc.
Anyway, the discussion goes back to Truxton Circle. Several people with a gist of what the argument is, are aware that once upon a time, long, long ago there was a circle at FL and North Cap and it went away in the 40s. What I've become aware of lately is that in 1984, solid proof that the powers that be, the local and federal government called my little section of the Shaw School Renewal Area (aka Shaw) Truxton Circle. As an area, and not as a landmark or a post office, TC is called Truxton Circle in the Washington Post's August 2, 1984 article Subsidy Program's Nuts and Bolts . Then I found maps from a federal agency* from 1984 with the name Truxton Circle boldly printed on top of the area. After 1984 the city continues to call the area Truxton Circle as it sells underpriced and moderately priced housing to DC residents.

*I'm sorry I'm going to have to be vague about the source until the end of the Summer. Ask me in person why.


links to this post

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fun with ProQuest: Truxton Circle pt 2

Find part 1 here
The name Truxton Circle is somewhat controversial. There are residents of the TC who loathe the name and will on occasion mention how offensive the name is. Personally, I have no problem with the name, and it was the name on the map at the Washingtonia room at the MLK Library. It is a decent description of this eastern side of Shaw
The circle that Truxton Circle is named after is long gone. The man the former circle was named after, Revolutionary war vet Thomas Truxtun, is long dead, and we couldn't bother spelling his name right and nobody 'round here really cares who was anyway. Regardless of all that, the name has stuck. Fun with ProQuest is simply tracking the name and its use in the Washington Post.
So up until the 1940s Truxton Circle was a traffic circle. Then circle go bye-bye. The next time Truxton Circle appears in the paper is in the 60s when it is a Post Office area. In 1964 the Truxton Circle postal annex at 17 Florida Avenue NE was robbed at gunpoint. Most of what I found in the 60s was in relation to the post office. The closest in this period of it being a neighborhood name or an area name is a classified ad in 1963 listing an address as "Box 26001, Truxton Circle, Wash, D.C."
Nothing in the 70s. Nada.
Then in 1984, the city somehow christened the area as Truxton Circle when it was launching a subsidy program to encourage home buying in the District. Truxton Circle was one of the target areas, which also included "Columbia Heights; Shaw-Westminister, Carollsburg, Capitol Hill South...." Yeah, now I'm wondering what was so wrong about the area that it had to be a target area. The other funny thing about the 1984 article was the description of the program:
What the loan terms are: Fixed interest rate of 11.39 percent for 30 years. Buyer pays 1 point and seller pays 2 points.
Eligible candidates were to be first time District home buyers making less than $42,960. I was making less than that in 2000. Anyway, from 1984 on Truxton Circle was a neighborhood as far as the city was concerned.
I'm open to researching (light researching) the other possible alternate names the area may have held.

All Articles from the Washington Post
"Classified Ad 343" Sept 22, 1963 p. G6
"2 Gunmen Rob DC Postal Annex of $2000, Shut 8 in Rest Room" by Alfred E. Lewis. Sept 3, 1964 p. A1
"Postal Machines, Men Move Mountain of Christmas Mail" by William Clairborne. Dec 7, 1972. p.A36
"Subsidy Program's Nuts and Bolts" August 2, 1984. p. A15.

Labels: ,

links to this post

Monday Miscellany

Well the dinner honoring Our Great Leader Jim James Jimmy Berry, former ANC for the TC, this weekend was successful. A fair number of mucky-mucks, like David Catania, showed up to honor Jim. Some of us learned a lot about Jim that we didn't know. Like, hey he got married 4 months ago and she's quite pretty. But the main thing was Jim's leadership, not just with the ANC but in his professional and personal life. He is a humble man who serves, and his leadership was for all, newbies, old timers, all races, everyone. He was what was right with the ANC system.
Mentioning the ANC system, I'm a little fuzzy on aspects of the history of ANCs in the District, but I gather they came in with Home Rule (I dunno) and did what the various civic and citizens associations were trying to do. I will post a "Fun with ProQuest: Truxton Circle pt II", but while trying to figure out what was going on with the citizen's association covering the area that can be now described as the TC, I learned a little (just enough to be dangerous) about the neighborhood associations. I knew, because of B.'s research on DC stadiums, that citizen's associations were the white groups and the civic associations were the African-American groups. Whatever citizen or civic association held sway over the area, so far what I've found are really dull names, North Capitol Citizens(?), Northwest Civic, Central Civic, and Central Northwest Civic Associations. So, I'm going back to searching just Truxton Circle.
If you are just dying for me to mention something about the house, well Sunday we taped out the layout of the upper floor. It appears that I might have an extra foot that I didn't think I had. When I was measuring I had to employ my poor math skills. So the plans I drew up were more of a guide, because I'm using that extra foot for the small bedroom. Looking at the 2nd floor with no walls made me realize how friggin small these houses are and every inch is valuable. Which is why I nixed (along with financial concerns) the contractor's idea to make the stairs normal sized. The stairwell is less than 3 feet wide, and probably is a little over 2.5 feet. He mentioned widening the stairwell would make it easier to get furniture and other bulky things upstairs. Um, bulky stuff don't belong upstairs, because that whole not having a whole lot of space to begin with thing.

Labels: , , ,

links to this post

Friday, April 20, 2007

Fun with ProQuest: Truxton Circle pt I

I 'heart' ProQuest. It allows me to post on things historic without having to do to much work. Anyway, another part of my lazy posting because I have no pictures of the renovation right now..... Fun with ProQuest: Truxton Circle.
Using the all articles prior to 1968 in the Washington Post and all other papers it ate (like the Washington Star), the first mention of Truxton Circle is August 1891 regarding the District Surveyor. Then the name appears again in 1900 regarding shrubbery, which then just makes me think of the Holy Grail. A cursory look at the rest of the articles bringing up the TC in the 1900s refer to the circle as just the circle or a park, not so much a neighborhood, unless you count "near Truxton Circle".
That "near Truxton Circle" thing appears in an April 27, 1919 article regarding house sales where it is written:
For Robert M. Harper, 51 Q Street northeast, an attractive six room and bath house near Truxton circle, at consideration of $3,500. Mrs. Henry Price has purchased this property and will occupy it as her home.
The same article does mention "1766 Church street an attractive residence in the neighborhood of Dupont circle...." So Dupont is a neighborhood, the TC, not so much. And we see it again more as a landmark than as a neighborhood designation in another house sales article from November 20, 1920, where a house on the 100 block of Bates street is "located near North Capitol and Truxton Circle" and 1842 North Capitol Street was "located in Bloomingdale."
However I do see something very interesting in an April 26, 1925 article "Ryan Quits Central Citizens': Will Head Movement to Form Another Association in Same Territory. Section called too big" The section Francis J. Ryan decides to chop up for himself was to "have as its approximate boundaries New York avenue to Truxton circle, and New Jersey Avenue to North Capitol street." My, that sounds awfully familiar.
Well I need to pursue this further, doing another search, so maybe part II.

THE DISTRICT SURVEYOR.; Recommendations About the Preservation of Plats and Records.
The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Aug 1, 1891. p. 5

ASKS DISTRICT TO PAY; Dog Catchers Caused Injury to a Bicycle. CHASED BULLDOG, BROKE A WHEEL Animal in Attempting to Escape the Net Ran Into the Bicycle of P.J. Nee, Who Claims Damages -- District Auditor Approved Application and Recommends Payment -- Plants from Mount Vernon Square to Decorate Other Reservations.
The Washington Post. Mar 15, 1900. p. 12 (1 page)

The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Apr 27, 1919. p. R6

$110,500 IN SALES OF HOMES IN CITY; Houses Fetch $17,500 Disposed by Hartung & Gibbons.
The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Nov 7, 1920. p. 34

RYAN QUITS CENTRAL CITIZENS' PRESIDENCY; Will Head Movement to Form Another Association in Same Territory. SECTION CALLED TOO BIG
The Washington Post (1877-1954). Washington, D.C.: Apr 26, 1925. p. 2

Labels: ,

links to this post

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Neighborhood Research

It all began with my house. My house. The one they told me was built in 1900. Liars. I went to the MLK Library's Washingtoniana section up on the 3rd floor looking at building permits. I could not find a permit for my house. I guess no one bothered, or if they did it was lost to time. So I had to find another way of figuring out the age of my house.
The library has a resource guide (PDF file). Now I had already looked at the permits so I looked at the Baist, Sanborn and Hopkins real estate maps. Maps helped(see above). However they only go back to 1887. My house was on it so, well at least a brick house shaped like my house. So, my house existed in 1887, being 13 years older than I thought.
At some point, and now I have forgotten the true inspiration, I decided I'd try my hand at a neighborhood history. I'd look at the demographic changes of Truxton Circle from 1930 to as far back as I can go and see what happened. I bit off more than I could chew. I never got a real feel for how F'ing big the project would be. At some point it dawned on me that Truxton Circle had over 1000 houses, for each census year, with lots of people in each of the houses. That's a lot of work. So now I'm just doing 1880, when (I believe) the census started recording the street addresses and I am going block by block to make sure I have done everything.
If you wanna know about your Truxton Circle house you can e-mail me or comment in this post and give me the property square number and I'll try to give you the enumeration district. In the above photo you can see that the property square number for P, O, North Cap & 1st street is Square 616. With the enumeration district number you can look for your house on microfilm at the MLK. Or you can all wait till I'm done collecting my research.

Labels: , ,

links to this post

Friday, January 14, 2005

History research

I'm back to the on again off again neighborhood research. In the past week I have done 2 blocks for 1880 discovering some odd little quirks about the 1400 block of 1st St & North Capitol, Unit blocks of 0 & P Street. Now I won't have a fuller picture until I do the whole of Truxton Circle (which may be a while) but I found some lines of segregation on the blocks.
The 1400 block (even numbers)of North Capitol was the German-American street.
The 1400 block of 1st Street (odd) was the African American street.
The Unit block of O (odd) was German and Irish on the lower numbered end and Mullatoo (Black) with a few unskilled Irish on the other end.
The Unit block of P (even) from 10 to 64 P Street was mostly German with a few Irish and native whites. Then from 66 to 78 the families are African American.
I'll be doing one more block this week then I think I'll take another long extended break again.

Labels: ,

links to this post

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Morgan Street

Notice the stairs

Labels: ,

links to this post