Archive for the ‘alleys’ category

Looking at Historic Garages in Park View

June 17, 2015
1911 real estate ad from the Evening Star identifying a garage at 636 Rock Creek Church Road, NW.

1911 real estate ad from the Evening Star identifying a garage at 636 Rock Creek Church Road, NW.

One of the things that is interesting about Park View’s original development is how automobiles impacted it. The neighborhood south of Otis Place was largely constructed before personal automobile ownership became common place. In fact, in that section of the neighborhood one is more likely to find the occasional stable — a rather fine example being the horse stable that served the Tenth Police Precinct.

The area north of Otis Place was developed by Kennedy Brothers beginning in 1909. Their development (named Princeton Heights) was developed from 1909 to 1917 and coincides with the growth of personal car ownership.

In the District, there were 4,833 residents with registered vehicles in 1914. This rose to 8,009 in 1915. From 1916 to 1919, ownership continued to rise, from 13,118 to 35,400, respectively. By 1920, Washington had one vehicle for every 10.73 residents, ahead of the national average of 14.14 persons per car.

What one learns when looking at how Princeton Heights was built out is that the original houses on the south side of the 600 and 700 blocks of Rock Creek Church Road and the 700 block of Quebec Place were all built with no accommodation for personal vehicles. This began to change as soon as new residents moved into the community. The earliest evidence of a private garage building in the Princeton Heights development is a real estate add from 1911 that features a “garage on rear” for 636 Rock Creek Church Road. Slowly, other homeowners began to construct garages in the rear of their properties too.

In response, Kennedy Brothers began to incorporate attached garages into some of their house designs, with the first being 3640 Warder Street constructed in 1914 (the southwest corner of Warder and Quebec Place). Moving forward, Kennedy Brothers began to include attached garages in their semi-detached corner houses with one notable exception. When building the row of houses from 3664 Park Place north to 608 Rock Creek Church Road, every house in that row contained an attached garage.

For those who purchased houses prior to this change in construction, or who later decided that they wanted a garage afterall, the private detached garage was still an option. Of the four oldest garages in the area, three of them were built by Kennedy Brothers in 1914 and 1915. These were constructed of brick and can be found behind 633, 634, and 624 Quebec Place.

A quick survey of the alleys in the four Princeton Heights blocks between Princeton, Georgia, Rock Creek Church, and Park Place — both in person and on old maps — indicates that there were once about 46 private detached garages in the neighborhood. Of these 18, or roughly 39%, still remain today. Considering that many garages were more modest and not constructed of more durable materials, it is not surprising that many of these are now gone.

Below is a sample of some of the garages that remain.

633 Quebec Place(633 (Rear) Quebec Place, NW. Built by Kennedy Bros. in 1914.)

636 Rock Creek Church Road(This garage is located behind 636 Rock Creek Church Road. Dating to ca. 1911, it has the distinction of being the oldest surviving private garage in the northern part of the neighborhood.)

754 Quebec Place(A more modest garage at 754 Quebec Place, this metal sided garage was built in 1918.)

3639 Warder(Perhaps the nicest brick garage in the neighborhood is this 1917 example behind 3639 Warder Street. This may be the only area garage of Flemish bond construction.)

3637 Warder(Little is known about this metal sided garage at 3637 Warder Street yet, though the search goes on.)

Alley Behind DC Reynolds, Looking Glass Lounge Renovated

September 25, 2014
Re-bricked alley viewed south from Princeton Place.

Re-bricked alley viewed south from Princeton Place.

I’m very happy to see the alley between the 3600 blocks of Georgia and New Hampshire avenues has been renovated — and with new brick like the original alley.

Over the past several years we’ve seen an increasing number of alleys redone in the neighborhood. Considering the poor state of many alleys in Ward 1, overall we’ve been doing really good in Park View.

Another Neighborhood Alley Getting Rebuilt

September 8, 2014
Map showing location of alley being renovated.

Map showing location of alley being renovated.

The alley between the 3600 block of Georgia and the 3600 block of New Hampshire is in the process of being rebuilt (also between Otis Place and Princeton Place). I’ve provided a map to identify the area in question better.

This is the alley behind Looking Glass Lounge and DC Reynolds. I’d brought it to the attention of DDOT some time ago as it was in serious need of repair. The alley is fairly long and quirky, and is also shared by the residents on New Hampshire, so its great that this one is being added to the list of alleys renovated in the past several years.

What I’m particularly pleased by is that it appears that DDOT is replacing the old brick alley with a new brick alley.

The photos below should give an idea of the work being done.

IMG_7235(Looking down the alley from Princeton Place)

IMG_7236(Alley as seen from Otis Place)

IMG_7312[1](Construction detail showing how the brick layer sits on an under-layer of concrete)

Nice to See Some Alley Maintenance Underway

August 14, 2013
New sand

New sand

Over the weekend, I noticed that the alley between the 700 block of Quebec and Princeton places was in the midst of a clean up and new sand. The alley, along with the other three between Georgia and Park Place, Rock Creek Church and Princeton, were renovated with new brick back in 2005 and 2009. While other alleys in the area have also been renovated since 2009, I know that others are still in need of attention. DDOT’s process is a methodical process that takes into account the condition of the alley as compared to other alleys in need and weighs their capacity for infrastructure repair in any given year.

My question to residents is: Which alleys in the area are in the worst shape? Are there any that are particularly bad when compared to the others in the neighborhood?

Reminder — Call 311 for Bulk Trash Collection

June 14, 2012

I’ve been receiving a number of requests from residents to assist them with getting bulk trash out of their alleys lately.  This usually includes old mattresses, but can include anything that doesn’t fit in the trash can put out for regular trash collection.

The easy answer to this problem is the Citywide call center at 311. By dialing 311 you can report illegal dumping if you notice some in your alley. You can also dial 311 to schedule a bulk trash collection. I suspect that some of the problems I’ve been alerted to are nothing more than residents putting bulk trash out for their regular trash pick up and not realizing that they need to make a special call … so … I am including the information from DPW’s Website on the issue below.

DPW collects large, bulky items by appointment from residential households that receive DPW trash collection service. These households include single-family homes and residential buildings with three or fewer living units. Call the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311 to make an appointment, which is usually available within seven to 10 days of your call. Up to seven items may be collected at one time. Customers with more than seven items may request additional appointments.

Bulk items are picked up at the same place you set out your regular trash.

Acceptable Bulk Items

  • Air conditioners (drain water and fluids)
  • Hot water heaters
  • Household furniture
  • Large toys (kiddie pools, playhouses, disassembled swing sets)
  • Major appliances, e.g., refrigerators (doors removed)
  • Mattresses and bed frames (MUST be wrapped in plastic)
  • Rugs (MUST be rolled and tied)

Unacceptable Bulk Items

  • Books
  • Bricks
  • Ceiling tile
  • Construction Materials
  • Demolition materials
  • Dirt
  • Drywall
  • Hazardous and/or liquid waste
  • Household trash or garbage
  • Small tree limbs (should be tied and placed with regular trash)
  • Tree stumps
  • Tires

Residents also may drop off a small number of bulk items at the Ft. Totten Transfer Station at 4900 John F. McCormack Road, NE, weekdays from 1 pm to 5 pm and Saturdays from 8 am to 3 pm. The transfer station is closed on holidays. Up to four tires may be brought to Ft. Totten only for disposal. Apartment buildings with four or more units, condominiums, co-ops and other commercial properties must have their bulk items removed by a private, licensed hauler. Find a list of registered recycling haulers in the Commercial Recycling Guide.

Renovation material as bricks, concrete, construction and demolition materials, and dirt are not accepted at Ft. Totten. Please visit for a list of construction and demolition companies who may haul these items.

How You Can Help

  • Call 311 to set up an appointment before putting your bulk items out for collection.
  • Put your bulk items out no earlier than 6:30 pm the day before and no later than 6 am on the day they are to be collected. Place them where your trash and recycling are collected. You could receive a sanitation violation ticket if these items are in the public space at any time other than your collection appointment.
  • Remember, no more than seven items will be collected per appointment.


Another Area Alley Gets Renovated

June 2, 2011

The configuration of the alley between the 400 b/o Otis and Newton Places

Another alley in the neighborhood is in the final stages of getting replaced. This one is in the middle of the block bordered by Park Place, Newton Place, Warder Street, and Otis Place. Unlike the earlier alley renovations, this one is a straight forward concrete alley as that is the type of alley it is replacing.

The rebuilding of this alley came as a bit of a surprise to me. The last time I checked with DDOT, this alley wasn’t scheduled for replacement until FY2014. Then again, perhaps DDOT and I were talking about different sides of Newton. Whatever the reason, its nice to have an alley that desperately needed attention being redone.

Alley work from the entrance off of Otis Place

A view from the Warder Street entrance showing a completed section of alley


Area Alleys Continue to Get Restored

March 29, 2011

Map showing location of alley currently being renovated

The areas alleys are continuing to be renovated following a trend that began back in 2008. The alley getting renovated this time is bordered by Quincy Street (north), 7th Street (east), Rock Creek Church Road (south), and 8th Street (west).

Like the alley that was done in April 2010 one block to the south, the two that were done in the Summer and Fall of 2009 between Park Place (east), Warder (west), Rock Creek Church Road (north), and Princeton Place (south), and the alley between the Park View Rec Center and Quebec Place in 2008,  this alley will also be done in brick.

I know that there are many other alleys in the area that are in desperate need to repair. The ones serving residents on Newton Place come to mind. According to DDOT,  the alley located on the 400 block of  Newton Place is on the FY2014 schedule for repaving/reconstruction. Ahead of that is the alley located on the 600 block of Newton Place, which is on the FY2012 schedule for repaving/reconstruction.

Below are some images of the current alley project.


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