Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Alley housing on the 100 block of C Street SE

This is one block from Pennsylvania Avenue SE, behind the Library of Congress and around the corner from the Capitol South Metrorail station.

I don't think I've ever walked in that alley where remnant houses abut newer apartment buildings, but as I was walking from the Metro station, I looked down the alley and saw a mural painted on the garage door of a carriage house, which caused me to explore.

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At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my father told me that he used to play tocuh football with th ekids of families that once lived in this alley- as a boy- so this would have been in the mid to late 1920's. He told me that many of the families that lived in the alley - the parents had jobs either as railroad workers or they were itinerant Navy Yard workers. They were white- and of course- what seems to be little known is that DC once had a very large Appalachian population especially in SE and in Anacostia- they were drawn here by the Navy Yard gun factory jobs and work at the many printing factories in DC- which at one time was a world class printing city . Little has been acknowledged or written abou tthese aspects of life in DC because so much of it happened in SE and was out of the eyes of the big time nationally oriented journalists and so- called "historians" of DC.

At 12:52 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

... bluegrass, country music was big in the city for a long time becasue of that demographic. e.g., Chick's Surf Club, Patsy Cline, boat rides to that amusement park on the Potomac River...

At 1:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes indeed- much of that culture left for the suburbs when the city became African American dominated and this culture has been completely ignored- a byproduct of this was the native Washingtonian master guitarist Danny Gatton- who came from and old navy Yard family dating back 200 years or so. Other famous musicains came from DC or got their starts here .

At 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

little is made or mentioned of master musicians like this guy- who grew up in the navy Yard area- although born in Virginia- his parents came here to find work and DC's cultural life no doubt impacted his music- the famous Roy Clark

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a kid we lived at #132 D street SE on this very block

At 8:54 AM, Anonymous charlie said...

Until we stop using alleys for trash collection and verizon wiring we don't have a chance to move forward on this.

Lighting is also an issue -- standard issue street lighting is too bright for alleys.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

it really depends on the alley in terms of usage/noise, etc.

On my alley, there is one asshole user who speeds (he's friends with someone who lives on the block), otherwise only a handful of households regularly use alley access for parking, and trash pickup is once/week.

Same with lighting.

Alleys in the L'Enfant City have different conditions.

In any case, you're right, there isn't a blanket solution.

At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

emergency access is also critical for alley areas-als- proper naming and location- most residential alleys are - for some weird reason- impossible or hard at best to locate- these new eb based maps are awful and often do not show us or show us wrong. Trying to fix this is a nightmare-if you can do it at all-we gave up for Gessford trying to get google to fix it


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