Meeting Introducing Community to Prospective Park Morton Developers Scheduled for September 4th.

Posted August 29, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Development, Housing

Tags: , ,

Park MortonThe DC Housing Authority (DCHA) has scheduled a Park Morton community meeting for Thursday, September 4th, at 6:30 p.m. as part of the community engagement process related to the redevelopment of Park Morton. The meeting will be held in the Bruce-Monroe @ Park View Elementary School auditorium (3560 Warder St., N.W.). The purpose of the community meeting is to introduce the residents of Park Morton and the surrounding community to the development companies that are competing to become the Master Planning and Development Team of the Park Morton redevelopment project.

The District of Columbia Housing Authority received four proposals to redevelop Park Morton. In speaking with DCHA directly, the purpose of Thursday’s meeting is for the four development teams to introduce themselves and talk about other projects they have done. The meeting will not include any presentations on their proposals to redevelop Park Morton itself. The proposals for redeveloping Park Morton will be the subject of future community meetings.

Within DCHA’s announcement (below) of the community meeting, the Agency stated that they estimate that “the Park Morton revitalization will cost more than $100 million.” Furthermore, their goal is to have a development team selected by the end of 2014.

Park Morton Meeting sept 4

Kickstarter Campaign Underway for Grant Circle Little Free Library

Posted August 29, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Fundraisers

Tags: , ,

Kickstarter libraryLittle Free Libraries are gaining in popularity around the area, and I personally really like the idea. Recently, one was added to the community garden at the former Bruce-Monroe school site.

I’ve recently learned that there is another one being planned for the Grant Circle area. However, for the Grant Circle library to be constructed and installed, the sponsor needs funds.

The organizer of the Grant Circle Little Free Library has initiated a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to make this library a reality.  They are seeking a total of $500 before Wednesday, September 10th. This seems like a very achievable goal.

If you are interested in supporting this addition to the community, check out Kickstarter for the full details. I’m also including the overview of the project from the site below:

The first time I saw a little free library in Washington, DC I was in love with the idea. I love that the little free library promotes reading books (not a kindle, even though I do read one sometimes) and creates a sense of a shared resource within a community. My family and I moved to Petworth just a few months ago and would love to bring this little free library to our new neighborhood.

The free library will be located on our front lawn at our home near Grant Circle.  I will maintain the free library and hope that it will be filled with books for both adults and children. I think this will be a fun way to introduce books to my 1 year old daughter (and hopefully the same will be true for other kids in the neighborhood as well).

The little free library will look very much like the one shown in the picture above.

Costs:  The funds raised will be used for the purchase and installation of the library itself. Any additional funds raised will go towards keeping the library stocked with books and for any maintenance needed to keep the library in shape.

 

Allen B. Hayward: The Man Who Lived in a Tree

Posted August 28, 2014 by Kent
Categories: History, People

Tags: , ,
Allen B. Hayward, photographed on May 8, 1920, at the age of 81 (Image from Library of Congress).

Allen B. Hayward, photographed on May 8, 1920, at the age of 81 (Image from Library of Congress).

Among the more curious tourist attractions, and Washingtonians, in 19th Century Washington was Airy Castle, the tree-top home of Allen B. Hayward. In actuality, during Hayward’s lifetime he had three tree-top homes. The first Airy Castle was located in today’s Columbia Heights. Hayward constructed it in 1883 and lived there for about a year until the property was sold, necessitating the need to build his second castle in 1885. The first tree-top home was described as being one block west of 14th Street and northwest of the Columbian College property placing in roughly at the northwest corner of 15th and Euclid streets. The structure was between two great oaks about thirteen to fifteen feet from the ground and consisted of a platform among the branches upon which Hayward pitched a good-sized “bell” tent. Access was gained via a ladder which was pulled up each night.

Hayward's Airy Castle in 1885 (Image from collection of Kent C. Boese).

Hayward’s Airy Castle in 1885 (Image from collection of Kent C. Boese).

The third and last Airy Castle was located in Forest Glen, about a half mile north of the streetcar station at the end of the line. He moved to this structure about 1903 by his own account.

But it was Hayward’s castle built in Mount Pleasant that was the most famous, and the one which Washingtonian’s long remembered. Hayward’s second tree-top home was located on the Fourteenth Street Road as it was headed downhill to Piney Branch creek, placing it on the west side of today’s Sixteenth Street and just south of the Piney Branch bridge. This is roughly the location of the Woodner Apartments.

The Mount Pleasant ‘castle’ was constructed on the side of the steep hill amide the arms of three or four great oaks, about 35 feet from the ground. After ascending a ladder, the visitor found themselves on a sturdy platform, below which was located “a big box that seemed to be hung under the platform.” This enclosed room – accessed by a short flight of stairs – served as Hayward’s dining room and kitchen.

Drawing of Airy Castle showing later addition of dance floor.

Drawing of Airy Castle showing later addition of dance floor.

The ‘castle’ was described as octagonal in form and longer one way than the other – the overall dimensions being 13 by 9 feet. The walls were constructed of wood to a height of four or five feet, above which rose a double roof of canvas, securely fastened and firmly supported by poles.

Hayward opened his tree-top home to visitors upon completion in 1885, and eventually entered into an agreement with his neighbor, Joseph R. Hertford, to combine their properties and create Airy Castle Park which included the castle and a pavilion for dancing, making the property an enjoyable city getaway. Hayward even marketed his house to visitors to the March 1889 inauguration of Benjamin Harrison by publishing a 32-page souvenir booklet on Airy Castle Park.

Allen B. Hayward

Hayward was a Union Army veteran who served three years in the 2d New Hampshire regiment, rising from the grade of private to that of First Sergeant. His term of enlistment expired in the latter part of May, 1864. While awaiting his formal muster-out his regiment went into the Battle of Cold Harbor on June 3. Although Hayward’s official service was over, he took up arms and joined his company in the battle. This decision cost him his right arm. A rebel bullet found him, shattered his right arm, and the surgeons sawed it off nearly at the shoulder. After the war, Hayward settled in Washington and became a clerk in the Pension Bureau.

His decision to live among the trees was rooted in his personal opinion that city life was unhealthy and his belief that he was threatened with tuberculosis. As Hayward put it in 1907:

“I was not advised by any doctor to take up this outdoor life, as you may think; it was voluntary on my part. But it is healthy. I have never felt so well in my life as I have since I left the city. Why, the city is no place to live. … it is unhealthy in every way. You eat adulterated food and you breathe foul air. Do you know, I believe nine-tenths of the food that city people eat is impure. And that makes them weak and sickly.”

By all accounts, Hayward lived well into his 80s, passing away sometime between 1920 and 1922.

 

REFERENCES

“A. B. Hayward Lived in House Atop Tree.” The Washington Post, December 6, 1927. P. 30.

“The ‘Birdman’.” The Evening Star, November 19, 1944. P. C-4.

“A House in the Tree-tops.” The Washington Post, May 28, 1884. P. 1.

“Life in the Treetops.” The National Tribune, May 28, 1885. P. 2.

Proctor, John Clagett. “Mount Pleasant Inspires Recollections of Pastoral Condition.” The Evening Star, June 10, 1927. Part 7, p. 2.

Proctor, John Clagett. “The Story of ‘Airy Castle’.” The Evening Star, July 10, 1949. P. C-2.

Proctor, John Clagett. “Unusual Citizens.” The Evening Star, November 14, 1937. P. F-2.

Proctor, John Clagett. “The Village of Mount Pleasant.” The Evening Star, October 26, 1947. P. C-2.

Spears, Edith B. “The Flowery 80’s Were Gay in Old Mount Pleasant.” The Washington Post, March 31, 1935. P. F3.

Swerdloff, David. “Airy Castle Park,” in Crestwood: 300 Acres, 300 Years. (c2013). Pp. 57-8.

“The Tree Man.” Democratic Northwest (Napoleon, Ohio), June 20, 1889. P. 9.

“Washington Man Lives in a Tree to Escape World’s Contamination.” The Washington Times Magazine, February 17, 1907. P. 2.

New Book on Meridian Hill History Worth Checking Out

Posted August 27, 2014 by Kent
Categories: History

Tags: , , ,

Meridian Hill bookI’ve recently learned that there is a new book out this year on the history of Meridian Hill by Ward 1 resident Stephen R. McKevitt … titled appropriately: Meridian Hill: A History.

Unlike the Arcadia books that are primarily image based, this one, by the History Press, is text based (while it has some good images) which means it has a lot more detail. I’ve recently begun to read it and already appreciate how its organized and the historical overview of this part of Washington.

I decided to mention it here because it also has some interesting historical information for those who want to learn more about Columbia Heights. While that isn’t the focus of the book, it contains a historical sketch of James Holmead and a good history of Rock Creek Church Road (including the various names its had over the years).

Below is the publishers description to help you decide if this is something you’d like reading as well.

In the nineteenth century, Commodore David Porter built his mansion on a prominent hill sitting directly north of the White House, and the rest of Meridian Hill’s history is indelibly tied to the fabric of Washington. John Quincy Adams once resided in Porter’s mansion. Union troops used the estate and its lands during the Civil War. Later, part of the old estate was famously developed by Mary Henderson into a noted group of embassy mansions, and the extraordinary Meridian Hill Park was created. The rest of the land became a diverse, thriving residential neighborhood. Join local author Stephen McKevitt as he chronicles the fascinating story of this interesting urban locale in the nation’s capital.

Life: Street Art From 14th & Florida

Posted August 26, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Art

Tags: , ,

It has been a very long while since I’ve seen any decent street art in the area. Back around 2007 it seemed like it was everywhere … but today, not so much. That made the installation on the southeast corner of 14th Street and Florida all the more fun to take in when I encountered it about a week ago.

street art 14th florida

I especially enjoyed the message.

street art life

Development at 2920 Georgia Nearing Completion

Posted August 25, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Development, Housing

Tags: , , , ,

Having not posted an update on the development at 2920 Georgia Avenue since July 2013, I thought it was long overdue. As you see from the photos below, the building is quickly nearing completion. As reported by UrbanTurf in June 2012, this project, like 2910 Georgia Across the street, is by developer Art Linde and was designed to have 26 living units. I have been unable to find any information thus far on how the units will be marketed.

2920 Georgia(2920 Georgia from the southeast)

2920 Georgia(View of 2920 Georgia from the north east)

New School Boundaries Adopted by Mayor Gray

Posted August 22, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Schools

Tags: , , , ,

On August 21st, the Washington Post reported that Mayor Gray adopted the final recommendations on the new school boundaries and that they will go into effect for the 2015-2016 school year. It was announced before the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year complying with a law that families should have at least a year’s notice before any boundary changes go into effect.

The Post also reported that “[e]ach D.C. home now will be assigned to one elementary, middle and high school, a departure from the current patchwork system, in which more than a fifth of all public school students have rights to attend multiple schools, a result of school closings and consolidations.”

The easiest way to see what this means for the immediate Park View area is to look at the new boundaries of the Bruce-Monroe at Park View, Raymond, and Harriet Tubman Elementary Schools. It’s also important to know that both Bruce-Monroe @ Park View and Raymond will feed into MacFarland Middle School and Roosevelt High School, whereas Tubman will feed into Columbia Heights Middle School and Cardozo High School.

The following are excerpts from the map created by the Washington Post showing the new boundaries for each of those schools:

1) Bruce-Monroe at Park View (3560 Warder Street, NW)

Park View Elementary boundaries mapThe Bruce-Monroe at Park View attendance zone expands north to take in part of the old Clark zone and to relieve Barnard; it shrinks southwest and south, losing most of the former Bruce-Monroe zone. (Editors note: with the exception of the expanded zone in the north, the boundaries largely conform to the original boundaries of Park View Elementary).

Feeder information: Anyone living in the new attendance zone for Bruce-Monroe ES is zoned for and has a right to attend MacFarland MS and Roosevelt HS. MacFarland MS is slated to re-open no earlier than SY15-16. Until MacFarland MS re-opens, Bruce-Monroe will continue to feed into Columbia Heights Middle School and families will maintain the right to attend the middle school they are currently assigned to. Any student attending Bruce-Monroe out-of-attendance zone has the right to continue in the designated feeder pathway. Feeder pathway changes were made to better align school building capacity with population and with boundary participation rates, and to support racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, where possible.

Program feeder: Bruce-Monroe ES is a dual-language school. Bruce-Monroe’s 5th grade class will have a right to attend the dual-language program at MacFarland MS. MacFarland MS is slated to re-open no earlier than SY15-16.

2) Raymond Elementary School (915 Spring Road, NW)

Raymond Elementary School BoundariesRaymond’s attendance zone expands slightly north and south to increase walkability and relieve overcrowding at Tubman and Powell.

Feeder information: Anyone living in the new attendance zone for Raymond EC is zoned for and has rights to attend MacFarland MS and Roosevelt HS. MacFarland MS is slated to re-open no earlier than SY15-16. Until MacFarland MS re-opens, Raymond will remain an education campus serving middle grades and will continue to feed into Cardozo HS. Families will also maintain their right to attend the middle school they are currently assigned to, until MacFarlans opens. Any student attending Raymond out-of-attendance zone has the right to continue in the designated feeder pathway. Feeder pathway changes were made to better align school building capacity with population and with boundary participation rates, and to support racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, where possible.

3) Tubman Elementary School (3101 13th Street, NW)

Tubman Elementary boundariesRaymond’s attendance zone absorbs a part of the Tubman zone on the north. The Tubman zone expands east to absorb a part of the former Bruce-Monroe zone. It also expands south to absorb part of the former Meyer zone.

Feeder information: Anyone living in the new attendance zone for Tubman ES is zoned for and has a right to attend Columbia Heights MS and Cardozo HS. Any student attending the school out-of-attendance zone has the right to continue in the feeder pathway to Columbia Heights MS. Feeder pathway changes were made to better align school building capacity with population and with boundary participation rates, and to support racial/ethnic and socioeconomic diversity, where possible.


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