New Mural Coming to Park View

Posted September 2, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Art

Tags: , ,

Last Friday, I noticed that a new mural is now in progress on the Warder Street side of the Rock Creek Market (corner of Warder and Rock Creek Church Road). The mural is the work of Juan Pineda (Website here) and is in collaboration with Murals DC. Murals DC had originally come before ANC 1A at their May 14th meeting to discuss the possibility of a mural coming to Rock Creek Market, but no design or artist had been selected at that time.

The mural’s design is a series of multicolored doors of various shapes and sizes. In speaking with the artist, I learned that the concept behind this is that these are doors of opportunity.

According to the Murals DC Website, the initiative “aims to help replace illegal graffiti with artistic works, to revitalize sites within the community, and to teach young people the art of aerosol painting. The goal of this initiative is to positively impact the District’s youth by providing them with the resources they need to engage in this project.”

The wall at Rock Creek Market where the mural is being painted has been tagged twice in as many years.

Below are photos of the mural in progress.

mural rock creek market(Entire mural in progress showing scale of work)

close up mural(Detail of section of mural)

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.



“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)


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