Posted tagged ‘Adams Morgan’

Admiring the Restored “A People Without Murals is a Demuralized People” Mural

April 7, 2015

If you’ve ever been on Adams Mill Road just north of Columbia Road and looked at the side of the Kogibow Bakery, you’ll have noticed the large mural on the side of the building titled “Un pueblo sin murales es un pueblo desmuralizado” (“A people without murals are a demuralized people.”). It was originally designed and executed in the mid-1970s by brothers Caco and Renato Salazar.  When the 2011 earthquake occurred, the owner of Kogibow Bakery had to repair structural damage externally which resulted in damage to the mural. You can see the extent of the damage before efforts began in April 2014 to restore the mural in an article from the CityPaper that provides more details about the project. There is also a WAMU feature from 2012 that is worth listening to, which also provides some history about the mural.

A People Without Murals is a Demuralized People

The photo above shows the mural as it looks today, after restoration. The plaque below accompanies the mural.

People without murals

Adams Morgan Hotel Project Finally Getting Started

March 9, 2015

For those who may have been following the Adams Morgan hotel development project, I learned at last weeks ANC 1C meeting that everything is now a go and work will likely begin this week. Work will focus on razing the old City Paper building located at 2390 Champlain Street, NW. While there isn’t much posted on the Adams Morgan Historic Hotel Web site at this time, as the project moves forward the site is to include more updates.

Getting from concept to construction has been a long road. The 42 has a good overview on where things were in May 2013 as does the Washington Business Journal from May 2014 for those wanting more background on the development. One aspect that I particularly like is the adaptive reuse of the former First Church of Christ, Scientist building at 1770 Euclid Street, NW. The former church building was placed on the National Register of Historic Placed on January 27, 2015.

AdamsMorganHotelfromeuclid(Rendering of hotel project from 2013.)

Great 1920 Photo of Playground Tree Planting

December 18, 2014

Happy Hollow

Here’s a great photo that dates to April 15, 1920, showing a tree planting at the Happy Hollow playground. Today the playground is known as Marie Reed. The tree planting was part of “Be Kind to Animals” week and planted in memory of the horses and carrier pigeons which gave their lives in World War I. As you can see in the photo, many of the children dressed in costumes with animal themes.

The following day, April 16, 1920, the District of Columbia celebrated Arbor Day by planting sixty-one American linden trees in the city. Excluding the trees in Rock Creek Park, the District estimated it had a total of 104,061 trees growing in Washington’s parks after the Arbor Day tree plantings.

Views of the Area from Columbia Heights’ Highland Park

August 15, 2013

Last night I had my first opportunity to experience the views from the roof of the Highland Park Apartments at 1400 Irving Street, NW. I have to say, the views were stunning … especially the views of downtown Washington which were much better than what I remembered from Petworth’s Park Place Apartments. The interior finishes of both buildings were very similar, as one would expect since Donatelli Development built both of them.

Below are a few photos giving an idea of what you can see from Highland Park.

View to toward Howard University.

View toward Howard University.

View east toward Park View.

View east toward Park View.

View to the south.

View to the south.

View to the southwest, toward Adams Morgan.

View to the southwest, toward Adams Morgan.

Transportation History: The Washington Rapid Transit Company

February 17, 2012

Herdic carriage, circa 1881.

As most residents of Washington know, streetcars once provided the lion’s share of public transportation needs in the city, with horse-drawn streetcar service beginning along some routes as early as 1852.

Even with the city’s fairly good streetcar, some residents of Washington found they were not served as well as other sections of the city. A good example of this was Sixteenth Street. While Seventh Street/Georgia Avenue, Eleventh Street (eventually north to Monroe), and Fourteenth Street all had good streetcar coverage, moving west the next trolly line was Connecticut Avenue. This created a gap in service that gave rise to alternative forms of transportation — leading directly to public bus service.

In response to the need for transportation on Sixteenth Street, the Herdic Phaeton Company began serving the corridor in 1884.  The service remained in operation until the company failed in 1896. This was followed in 1897 by the Metropolitan Coach Company, again operating herdics from Sixteenth and U Street to 22nd and G Streets NW. The Metropolitan changed from horsepower to gasoline motors in 1909, but the operation was not successful and the company ceased operation in 1915.

The next company to take up this route was the Washington Rapid Transit Company six years later. In response to developments in gasoline engines, improvements in pavement design, and the use of concrete for paving, the company incorporated in January 1921 and began operation on March 1 with ten buses of 21-passenger capacity and two routes covering about 5 1/2 miles of street.

The company's original ten buses photographed in 1921. Image from the Library of Congress

The new bus service was immediately successful. They ordered four additional buses and placed them in service on April 20. The increased fleet operated on three routes — Eighth and Pennsylvania Avenue, Potomac Park and Haines Point. Within the first six months the Washington Rapid Transit Company carried over 750,000 passengers and claimed public support existed for more routes.

By September 1921 the company decided to purchase an additional 16 buses, and received the permission of the Federal Utilities Commission for two new franchises.

This 1927 map of the Washington Rapid Transit Company's routes provides a good outline of the Petworth Division route. It shows points of interest, such as Park View's York Theater.

The first new route started at Eighth and Pennsylvania and traveled to Twelfth Street, to Massachusetts Avenue, to Sixteenth Street, to Harvard Street, to Thirteenth Street, to Park Road, to New Hampshire Avenue, to Grant Circle and return. This was known as the Petworth Division.

The second new route started at Eighth and Pennsylvania and traveled to  Twelfth, to Rhode Island Avenue, to North Capitol Street and return. This line was abandoned in 1923.

By August 1922, the Washington Rapid Transit Company’s interest in extending their Sixteenth Street line north to the intersection of Alaska and Georgia Avenues drew the attention, and opposition, of the Washington Railway and Electric Company. Residents of Sixteenth Street sided with the bus company, declaring it was needed since it was nearly impossible to get a seat on the streetcar line.

Washington Railway and Electric Company responded directly by expanding its operations to include buses. Washington Rapid Transit appealed directly to the District Commissioners that it was their belief that it was illegal for Washington Railway and Electric Company, or any street railway company, to operate motor buses.

An early accident on Sixteenth Street at V ca. 1921. The Washington Rapid Transit Company was able to boast in June 1929 that its buses had covered over 12,800,000 miles without a fatal accident to any of its passengers

The Washington Rapid Transit Company introduced its first four double-deck buses on February 1, 1925, along Sixteenth Street. The double-deck coaches had awnings to protect top-deck passengers from the sun and rain and were a unique feature in Washington at the time. Washington Rapid Transit added six more double-deck buses to the fleet in 1926 owing to their popularity with customers.

During this time, the Capital Traction Company and the Washington Railway and Electric Company also began to develop and expand their own bus operations leading to friction as the companies began to compete with each other. The areas where competition was the most fierce were in Chevy Chase (with Capital Traction Company) and Petworth (with Washington Railway and Electric Company). In both cases, the streetcar companies requested approval of new routes that would hem in and prevent further expansion by Washington Rapid Transit. These attempts were not completely successful.

Ultimately, the Washington Rapid Transit Company merged with the Capital Transit Company in June 1936. Capital Transit was itself created as a result of merger legislation hammered out in the Senate in December 1932, which united the Capital Traction Company and the Washington Railway and Electric Company and instructed them to purchase Washington Rapid Transit. For the fifteen years that the Washington Rapid Transit Company operated, it continued to update its service, modernize its equipment, and improve its routes.

Washington Rapid Transit Company

One of eight new buses added to the Washington Rapid Transit Company fleet in February 1929


Blizzard of 1922: Knickerbocker Theater Disaster

February 6, 2010

While we are still getting snow in the current Blizzard, I thought folks might find this footage from YouTube showing the 1922 Knickerbocker Theater Disaster of interest.

You can read more about the Knickerbocker Theater, and the 28 inches of snow that lead to the disaster, here>>

What may be of interest to Park View residents, the Knickerbocker Theater was design by architect Reginald W. Geare and became one of Harry Crandall’s theaters. Geare also designed Park View’s York Theater for Crandall. In the case of the York the builders were Kennedy Brothers.


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