Are You Familiar with the Bitter Dose Combo?

Posted May 5, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Art, Music


Bitter Dose ComboWhile walking down the 700 block of Park Road, you may have heard the sounds of the Bitter Dose Combo jamming out in front of one of the rowhouses. Recently, I had the opportunity to learn more about this ensemble when I encountered Matt Henry who is a member of the group, plays guitar, and performs the vocals. Henry also resides locally on Park Road.

According to the Bitter Dose Combo’s Web site, they describe themselves as “DC’s premiere gypsy jazz band, playing gypsy jazz and swing standards at social dances, bistros, supper clubs, weddings, and special events in and around the District. The BDC’s sound combines the improvisation and swinging guitar made famous by Django Reinhardt with spirited jazz vocals, Paris musette accordion, and upright bass.”

I find their music reminds me a lot of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, but you can decide for yourself. You can listen to two of their recordings below (and a few more here):

Park Road in 1907

Posted May 4, 2015 by Kent
Categories: History

Tags: ,

400 block of park Road 1907

The 400 block of Park Road has been active on the real estate market lately. In conducting research on the block, I discovered a real estate add published in The Evening Star on May 29 1907, highlighting the block with the above image at the head of it (full add below). The image shows Park Road, with Warder Street to the right and the left. What I can tell you is that the houses on the 400 block of Park Road were constructed in 1906 by Middaugh and Shannon, who eventually built 142 houses in Park View. Due to the dates of construction and the scale of the development, these houses can truly be considered the formal birth of the Park View neighborhood we know today.

1907 ad

Washington’s May Day Celebration, 1924

Posted May 1, 2015 by Kent
Categories: History, Parks and Green spaces

Tags: , ,

May Day maypole dance 1924(Maypole dance at unidentified D.C. playground, May 1, 1924. Photo from the Library of Congress.)

“Fairies, flowers, and queens, personified in several hundred children,” were once a common site at District playgrounds in celebration of May Day, particularly during the early part of the Twentieth Century. Early on, Mrs. Susie Root Rhodes, supervisor of District playgrounds, made May Day celebrations an annual event.

First Lady Grace Coolidge receiving May Basket

First Lady Grace Coolidge receiving May Basket from James Owens, Maurice Towney, and Virginia Yingling (Photo from Library of Congress).

The celebrations in 1924 were particularly notable as May Day coincided with the American Child Health Association’s Health week (April 28 to May 3), and thus received citywide attention. For her part, Mrs. Rhodes began planning for the annual celebration two months in advance. May Day festivities were organized at 26 playgrounds across the city with locations including Park View, Bloomingdale, McKinley, and Rosedale, to name but a few.

The day began at 9:00 a.m. when three little children from the Child Welfare Society visited the White House and hung a May basket for Mrs. Coolidge on the north door of the White House. After placing the basket, the children were beginning to run down the steps of the portico when Mrs. Coolidge saw them and called them back to thank them. According to local newspapers, Mrs. Coolidge hugged and kissed the youngest of them – James Owens – remarking: “I once had a little boy like you.”

Midday featured Miss Grace Abbott, of the children’s bureau, who was schedule to speak for an hour at the health meeting at Keith’s at which Corcoran Thom presided. Later in the day, the focus shifted to the city’s playgrounds where May queens – by the acclaim of their subjects – presided over the May Day festivals beginning at 4:00 p.m.

The May queens were elected by the votes of their playmates at the playgrounds where they presided. During their fleeting reigns, they watched over athletic contests, folk dances, the dances of the flowers and fairies, and the maypole, with the events scheduled to end at 6:00 p.m.

May Day Park View 1924(May Queen Margaret Appleby (center) on the Park View playground, May 1, 1924. Photo from the Library of Congress.)


“Children of District Revel Tomorrow in May Festival.” The Washington Post, April 30, 1924, p. 10.

“Children to Hang May Day Gifts on White House Door.” The Washington Post, May 1, 1924, p. 2.

“Children’s Pageant Charmingly Given.” The Evening Star, May 2, 1924, p. 17.

“Many Child Health Activities Planned.” The Evening Star, April 30, 1924, p. 2.

“May Day Festivities at 26 Playgrounds.” The Evening Star, April 30, 1924, p. 17.

“May Day Joyously Observed in D.C. At Playgrounds and Social Centers.” The Evening Star, May 1, 1924, p. 17.

“Mrs. Coolidge Kisses Boy In Reward for May Basket.” The Washington Post, May 2, 1924, p. 11.

“White House Lady Kisses Little Boy Who Hung Basket.” The Evening Star, May 1, 1924, p. 2.

Soldiers’ Home 3rd Annual Spring Fling is this Saturday, May 2nd

Posted April 30, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Armed Forces Retirement Home, Sports leisure and entertainment

Tags: , ,

The third annual Spring Fling on the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home is this Saturday. The annual event has become a popular local way of enjoying the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home, meeting neighbors, and welcoming in spring. Last years event was attended by over 800 residents. You can read more about last year’s event on the Friends of the Soldiers Home Website.

Spring Fling Flier-2015-1

Park View Field House Project Progressing

Posted April 29, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Historic Landmarks, Parks and Green spaces, Restoration repair and maintenance

Tags: , , ,

The restoration of the old field house at Park View Recreation Center is coming along nicely. Among the many changes people will notice is that the porch is being opened up as it originally was and the areas that had been cut out of the original brick wall are being reconfigured to their original door and window openings. I was surprised to see the original supporting posts for the porch roof were buried withing the wall when the porch was enclosed. The entire project is aiming for a completion date of July 31st, 2015.

Park View field house

Park View field house

Intersection of Warder and Princeton Place Gets New Stop Sign

Posted April 28, 2015 by Kent
Categories: Streets and Trees, traffic

Tags: ,
New stop sign on Warder.

New stop sign on Warder.

Yesterday, a new stop sign was installed for northbound traffic on Warder Street at the intersection of Princeton Place, NW. This makes the intersection an all-way stop.

Traffic safety at the intersection of Warder and Princeton has been a concern for a while. Initial requests from residents seeking better traffic calming resulted in DDOT installing new crosswalk signs in May 2011. After the November 5, 2014, accident at the intersection, DDOT agreed to further study the safety of the intersection.

DDOT’s field review and crash analysis of the intersection ultimately resulted in their installing the new stop sign.

Wrap Up from Saturday’s MPD Meet and Greet

Posted April 27, 2015 by Kent
Categories: MPD

Tags: , , , , ,
4D Commander

4D Commander Wilfredo Manlapaz and Councilmember Anita Bonds

Saturday’s MPD Meet and Greet, organized by Councilmember Anita Bonds, was well attended. In addition to a room full of residents, many ANC Commissioners from 1A and 4C were there, and Councilmember Elissa Silverman showed up during the latter half of the meeting.

Representing the police were 4D Commander Wilfredo Manlapaz and Captain Vendette Parker. The event was originally organized as a meet and greet so that residents could better know the officers patrolling their communities. However, with only two representatives from MPD there, the format changed into a question and answer session.

Drew Schneider posted a fairly detailed overview of the meeting at this Petworth News page which is worth a read as well.

Commander Manlapaz(A packed room engaged with Commander Manlapaz.)


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