Ancient Landmarks
Remnants of Old Buildings in the Heart of the City
Erected a Century Ago
Early Settlers of Section North of Franklin Statue
The Real Estate Conditions
Land Which Now Commands High Figures
Then Sold for Almost a Nominal Sum

By James Croggon, The Evening Star, July 29, 1906 [pt. 4, p. 1]

North of the statue of Franklin, otherwise of Pennsylvania avenue and D street, between 10th and 11th streets, is not without interest even to those not to the manor born. Though few and far between were the habitations of man in the capital city until the last century was well advanced, that portion of the strip south of G street long since took on the dignity of a business and residential section. What with department clerks, tradesmen, mechanics, etc., a popular auction corner, yet such, and congenial residents, though there were a few taverns, it is easy to realize that the neighborhood near the avenue was a favorite stamping ground.

It need not be said that for the first quarter of the last century so much grass and weeds were to be seen in the streets that few could realize that such a city as the Washington of today was being evolved. With the stream which zigzagged down 11th street from north of F street, that from Franklin square coursing south of H street, and little of the building ground on the grade, progress in city building was somewhat retarded.

North of K street nature had kindly deposited much red gravel in a hill, by which foot walks came dirt cheap, digging, hauling and dumping only being required, and much of the paving north of G street prior to 1810 was thus made. It is stated by an old citizen that while the corporation value of ground was expressed in cents, the prices paid were based on the mill, and that at times land owners unloaded far below the corporation value.

Increase of Values
The valuation of improvements in the square between 10th, 11th, D and E streets was but $100 in 1802, of which R.B. Brashears, on the 10th street corner, was assessed on $250; Thomas Given, on the east side of 11th street, $200 on a carpenter shop, and H. Thompson, $250. By 1820 the land value had increased from 8 to 12 cents to 60 and 70 cents on the avenue, and the improvements to over $15,000. On the 10th street corner Col. Joseph Wheaton had an interest in 1811 and C.W. Pairo in 1815. The buildings in 1820 were assessed to Mr. Pairo at $500 and R. Almond at $250. Ten years later Hobert Easton was assessed $1,500 and Mr. Pairo $3,000 here. Capt. Peter Lenox owned the adjoining lot west, which, passing to John Knoblock in 1802, went to Col. Wm. Benning and R. Stinger in 1825. Col. Benning’s improvements were valued at $4,000 and Mr. Stinger’s residence at $900. John King bought the adjoining lot in 1813 and leased it to N.P. Thomas in 1810, on which ground were improvements valued at $500. Ten years later Clement Woodward erected the building known by his name and the firm of Woodward & King, in the stove and tinning business, was established. P.D. Moore became the owner of the southwest corner of the square lot four in 1808, long known as Robert Farnham’s book store, now Brentano’s, and later R.B. Washington owned the corner house. This in 1820 he sold to Francis Coyle, ,and the same year he was assessed for $3,500 improvements and Mr. Pairo $2,500 on the adjoining house eastward. Here was the printing office of Mr. Coyle, who was succeeded by the firm of Gorman & McDuell and the turner shop of James Drury. About 1840 the southeast corner of the square passed into the hands of James C. McGuire, who established a bookbindery in the upper part of the building, while the lower portion was given to the auction and commission business of R.W. Dyer, with whom Mr. McGuire entered a partnership. This firm was a success from the start, its motto, “To sell cheap for those who buy and dear for those who sell,” taking with the public.

About the center of the square in the early part of the century was probably Washington’s first lace and trimming store, then conducted by Bragdon & Twombly, afterward by J.B. King & Bro. and Captain Joseph B. Tate & Bro. In the twenties there were on D street the properties of Thomas Booth, umbrella maker; John Tucker, bellhanger; James Newall, shoemaker, and in the forties J.K. Boyd, upholsterer, and P. McArdle, watchmaker; Pusley W. Simpson followed the grocery business near the corner of 11th street, where he was succeeded by Wm. Orme.

In 1817 Thomas Given, a carpenter and builder, long in charge of woodworking at the arsenal, had a shop valued at $200 on 11th street, and later a dwelling which was assessed at $1,000. In 1820 the house long occupied by the Hauptman family was in the name of Walter Smith, assessed at $2,200. Daniel Hauptman, who prior lived on the post office site, bought part of lot 5 and resided here long enough to see his sons old men following him in the tinning business. W. Fadermehle, Martin Guista and Mrs. Ann McGonigle owned parts of the same lot, the latter being assessed $400 for improvements. In 1800 Charles Glover owned the lot at the southeast corner of 11th and E streets, which in 1804 passed to George Downs and George Moore, and T.J. Mudd leased part, which in 1820 was taxed for a $400 improvement. T.J. Southerland, a treasury messenger, in 1813 bought part of this lot fronting E street, and was taxed on a $300 house. Stephen Pleasanton and Daniel Brent owned property, which before 1820 was in the name of ----- Willis assessed for a $100 building. In 1828 W.M. Cripps bought the property to which his name has been given and an $800 house was taxed in the thirties. Charles Lyons owned adjoining ground. J.B. White in 1816 and Nicholas Tastet in 1821 bought property on E street assessed at $400 and $900, respectively. On 10th street between D and E streets B.M. Belt, cabinetmaker; George Moore and A.J. Villard owned property, the house of Moore being assessed at $800 and the latter $1,800. South was a lot owned by G. Carusi in 1816 and by Francis Masi in 1826. Next south was a fine three-story house owned by Mrs. Ann McGonigle, assessed in 1820 at $4,350, and thus as Mrs. McG.’s tavern was a popular resort. In 1815 F.A. Wagler, a well-known musician, bought a lot north of D street, and five years later H. Thomas had a $700 house on it, and Mrs. McGonigle a building assessed at $150.

Early Settlement
In the square north between E street and F, 10th and 11th streets, there were early purchases, building and settlement, though the first valuation was reduced from 8 to 6 cents. In 1820 it was from 10 to 20 cents. In 1800 the lot at the northwest corner of 10th and E streets was owned by Michael Shanks and J.J. Dermott, while those adjoining on the west belonged to Capt. Peter Lenox, a builder. In 1802 the buildings bore $200 and $600 on the two lots which were in his name, but in 1820 the same ground had passed to J.W. Gray, and $3,000 was assessed on each of the buildings. Peter Lenox owned a lot on H street in 1798, S.N. Smallwood and A. Jones owned one on 11th street in 1799, as did T.M. Kirk one on 10th street. In 1802 a $600 improvement was charged to Mr. Lenox and one at $3,000 to Mr. Kirk. Mrs. Mary Nevitt was on the Smallwood lot in 1813 paying on a $1,500 improvement. Lot 3 on E street was in the name of P.D. Moore in 1802 taxed for a $300 improvement, and in 1813 John King appeared as the owner, and in 1816 N.P. Thomas as the lessee. In 1820 King was charged on $150 and Moore’s heirs on $500 for improvements. Cruikshank & Thompson owned part of a lot on 11th street in 1800, and a tax on an $800 building was recorded in 1802. In 1820 Moore’s heirs were charged $150, G. Moore having bought in 1811, and G.A. Smoot $2,000. D. Bussard, T. Hughes, David Appler, L. Clephane and William Arme were connected with this lot. Mr. Applier in 1824 and Mr. Orme in 1826. Mr. Appler paid on $1,700 on that property previously assessed to Mr. Smoot. In 1800 the name of Joseph Dove attached to the lot at the southeast corner of 11th and F streets, as also the name of William Brown, who was assessed for $800. Phineas Bradley, J. Barnes and the Washington Building Company, the latter assessed $1,000 and Barnes’ heirs $800. Henry Smith, a leading builder, who erected the city hall, bought in this lot in 1812. Mr. Smith by 1820 owned the corner half of lot 9 and two lots south, on which he erected a row of three-storey and basement brick dwellings, long known as “Henry Smith’s row.” Here the Proctor, McGonigle and Smith families lived for half a century or more. East of Mr. Boyle’s house, on F street, was the house built by Jacob Hines, a baker and patriarch of the numerous family of that name. This building was valued at $400. Mr. Hines moved to the western part of the city, and about 1805 it was purchased by Col. Joseph Nourse, in whose name it was assessed at $1,200. Subsequently Col. Nourse bought from G. Andrews the ground east to 10th street. The late W.D. Crampsey, a hatter, long employed in the treasury, lived most of his eighty-four years on the Hines site. The southwest corner of 10th and F streets was improved in the late thirties by the residence of Darius Clagett, a leading dry goods merchant, first of Georgetown, then and for many years after at the northeast corner of Pennsylvania avenue and 9th street.

Walls Still Standing
Thomas M. Kirk became the owner of a lot next that on the corner of 10th and F streets south of the latter street in 1799, and his house, valued at $3,000 in 1802, was appraised at $2,000 in 1807, and at but $1,500 twenty years later. It was during the cholera epidemic seventy-five years ago used as a hospital, and some of the original walls stand today. Nathaniel Carusi owned the lot adjoining in 1830, and Mrs. Mary A. Randolph bought that lot south in 1825, and was assessed $600 for the property.

The square north of F street bore a valuation of 6 to 8 cents per foot one hundred years ago, and had but one improvement, that belonging to Peter Lenox, whose valuation was raised from $150 to $400. To show that it has improved it is only necessary to say that the Boston House now covers the larger portion of the square. By 1820 the ground valuation had reached 10 to 20 cents per foot, and there were over $1,000 worth of improvements. The corner of 10th and F streets was then vacant, but adjoining on the west was the residence of Thomas H. Gillis, valued at $3,000. On 11th street Gen. Van Ness had a $400 building, and John McLeod had two buildings north, each valued at $2,500. The southwestern corner of 10th and G streets was in the name of Rev. Wm. Matthews of St. Patrick’s Church, and the lot contained a building valued at $1,800. In 1827, with a leasehold from Mr. McLeod, Father Mathews had half the square on which was another improvement valued at $3,000. In 1820 Berry & Forbes were taxed on a $3,000 building on 10th street, and Joseph Bryan was taxed $600. The property held by Father Mathews was for St. Vincent’s Orphan Asylum, and it was so deeded in 1835. In the ‘40’s Dr. Flodoardo Howard, long a west-end druggist, located at the northeast corner of 11th and F streets, and practiced medicine for years. Dr. Howard was a local Methodist minister, a zealous temperance advocate, who erected a small hall for lectures and meetings to aid the cause. Equal Division Sons of Temperance long met here.

Land at 2 Cents Per Foot
The square between G and H streets through which Sluice run coursed from Franklin Square springs belonged to Robert Morris prior to 1800, when some four lots were sold. The original valuation of the ground was 4 cents per foot, but it was reduced to 2 cents, to be raised in twenty years to 14 cents. By 1826 G. Crandall had taken a lease on a 11th street lot and Mary Barrow had bought an adjoining one, on which a $700 house was built. Christopher Andrews in 1815 bought ground at the corner of 10th and G streets and erected a residence of $2,600 valuation, and the lots at 10th and G streets had passed to Chauncey Bestor, Drake & Barron, carpenters, and others on which property $2,400 worth of improvements were placed. By 1830 Samuel N. Smallwood and J.M. Semmes had $1,600 houses, Ulysses Ward, a $1,400 improvement; Gen. Van Ness, $700, on 10th street.

Lewis Johnson, who founded the banking house bearing his name at 10th and the avenue, owned afterward the northeast corner of 11th and G streets and had a substantial residence there. John Waters, who served in the war of 1812, at its close leased a lot on 10th street above G street, on which he erected a comfortable frame residence and bought the fee simple in 1822. The late Josephus Waters, a son, died here a few years since, at a ripe age. In the ‘30’s Benjamin Williamson erected a row of two-story and basement frames, for the latter nature having made excavation unnecessary, and Williamson’s row was as well-known as was the grocery of Michael Sardo, erected at the southeast corner of 10th and H streets. Daniel Stewart was keeping a grocery about the same time at the corner of 11th and H streets.

Back in the Forties
In the forties there were two Philadelphia shoe houses, one located below the National Hotel, of which William Mann was the proprietor. Mr. Mann gave quite a boom to the real estate market, when the original valuation of one cent a foot on the ground had been reduced one-half, to again rise and in 1820 reach six cents and about double in twenty more years. Mr. Mann erected on the north side of H street a row of thee-storied dwellings of pressed brick and marble-trimmed fronts, which were soon occupied by desirable residents. Little had been done in the way of building up this square. Late in the thirties John Varden, well remembered for his connection with the Columbian Museum at 4-1/2 and D streets, from which he went to the National Museum, had a fine frame residence on 10th street above H street. And at the corner of I street in a two-storied building resided T. Sheid, a tinner. At the southeast corner of 11th and I streets Henry Hastrip had a wood and coal yard.

On the square north of New York avenue and I street a half cent per foot was the ground valuation till well in the thirties, and in that decade the highest was 5 cents. The assessments for improvements then were J. Pickrell, $400, and H. Hunt, $100, the first on the lot at 10th street and New York avenue and the latter at 11th and I streets. The property of the first named, with $300 improvement, and the property of George Sweehy, with $150, were on 11th street. F. Jefferson had a house valued at $200 at the southeast corner of 11th and K streets, and James A. Kennedy had two $100 houses on the lot at the southwest corner of 10th and K streets. Pickrell’s building was at the corner of New York avenue and 10th street, and the Ager brothers, John E. and William conducted a store at the point of New York avenue and I street. “Ager’s grocery” designated the locality. About 1847 this took fire and scarcely a vestige of anything of value remained. Soon after George Seitz, a baker, bought the ground and erected a dwelling and bakery, removing from a store at the corner of I and 12th streets, and he and his son conducted business here half a century or more.

Some of the Residents
Some of the people of the locality in the first quarter of the last century were the Fenwicks, who lived on the south side of F street, Robert, the father, being an employe of the patent office, and R.W., a son, employed n the Bank of the Metropolis. Thomas H. Gillis, a chief clerk, lived opposite, as did Samuel W. Handy, a hatter. Jake Dixon, then known as the trainer of Dr. Thornton’s race horses, kept a grocery on the south side of E street, and Major N. Tastet, long of the General Post Office, and T.J. Sutherland, a department messenger, were neighbors.

On 10th street going north were Luke Gardner, a dyer; Mrs. V. Moore, Mrs. McGonigle, who kept a tavern; R.W. Hinton, a tailor, and John Goddard, shoemaker, south of E street. John Chapman, bricklayer; Lyman H. Cobb, constable, lived between E and F streets; G. Andrew, a clerk, at the corner of G street; John Waters, market master, etc.; Edward Diggs, constable, and M. Kerr, printer, between G and H streets.

On 11th street northward from the avenue were Thomas Given, carpenter; Jonas Keller, instrument maker; Chas. Lyons, G. Crandall, D. Hudson, carpenters, south of E street; H. Burdick, Thomas Gibbons, carpenters; S. Goddard, hackman; F. Lydock, grocer, Henry Smith, master builder; Mary Nevitt, south of F street; John McLeod, school teacher, south of G street, C.H. Bestor, clerk; Mrs. Mary Barron, south of H street.

In the forties there were on D street Woodward & King’s stove and hardware store, Robert W. Dyer’s auction house at 10th street, and J.C. McGuire’s bookbindery, Bragdon & Twombly’s lace store, J.K. Boyd’s upholstery, P. Simpson’s grocery; P. McArdle, watchmaker and jeweler; K. Farnham’s book store, corner of 11th street, Benj. Homans, claim agent and auctioneer, Miss Ross, dressmaker.

On E street were John McClelland’s machine shop, at the corner of 10th street; Martin Johnson, clerk; T.E. Williams, grocer; Miss Lenox.

On F street Dr. Howard, at the corner of 11th street; Wm. B. Todd, hatter; W.D. Crumpsey, hatter; C.G. Klopfer, shoemaker; T.H. Gillis, clerk; Mrs. Hauptman, baker.

Residence of Postmaster General
On G street were Cave Johnson, Postmaster General; James Cadin, a clerk, and Lewis Johnson, banker, the latter at 11th street corner.

On the corner of 11th and H streets lived Wm. Mann in the west house of the row, and on H street were Columbus McLeod, school teacher; R.P. Anderson, John Reily, agent; Richard France, Wm. Cleary, and on the corner of 11th street Daniel Stewart’s grocery.

North of New York avenue in I street were Ager’s grocery, Mrs. Hungerford’s boarding house, Mrs. Pickrell, the oldest settler of that section; George Seitz, baker; A. Gartrell, butcher; W.W. Goddard, watchman; James Thompson, grocer, the latter at 10th and K streets.

James Ferry, bricklayer, and T. Langley lived on L street near a gravel bank.

North of L street Samson Simms, a Georgetown builder, erected a row of frame houses about 1845, taking up his residence here. Oscar Alexander, a printer, and T.H. Alexander, a bricklayer, were among his first tenants, M.R. Combs, grocer; W.J. Douglas, painter; J.R. Barr, grocer; H.. Hare, engraver; T. Kisner, F. Neff, shoemaker; George Vonderlehr, stonemason; R. Bridget, coach maker; J. Haupt, stonecutter; Nicholas Snyder, blacksmith; John Shick, carpenter, and a man named Kidwell, a contractor for paving.

Northward from the avenue on 10th street were George M. Phillips, general agent; D.S. Porter, painter; W.H. Moore, Joseph Martin, cabinet-maker; George McDuel, watchmaker; J.S. Harvey, wood yard; W. Dougherty, marble yard; Mrs. Bronaugh’s boarding house; R. Brown, carpenter; James Wright, barber, and Mrs. Gregory, below E. street. W. Berman, professor of music; R.W. Brown, carpenter; William Greer, printer; Mrs. C. Lansdale, milliner, south of F street. Richard Lay of the city post office, F. Klopfer of Attorney General’s office, between F and G streets.

John Waters, market master, was at this time still at his old residence, and Benjamin Williamson, TJ. Mudd, carpenters; M. Sardo, grocer, between G and H streets. North of I street were John Varden, Columbus Denham, bookbinder, and Josiah Melvin, printer.

On the east side of 11th street north of the avenue was the residence of D. Hauptman, who had his tinning shop in the basement; W. Harris, carpenter; William M. Cripps, opposite his cabinet shop, south of E street. Mrs. Merica, Capt. J.A. Blake and Ferdinand Jefferson, printers; R. Lawrence, William Orme, a grocer; Mrs. Rumpf, Mrs. D. Simms, grocer; C. Wineburger, baker, and Mrs. Stewart, dealer in furniture at E street, were among the residents above that street. North of Dr. Howard’s, in the McLeod houses were Leonard Adams and James Greenwell, Miss Jullien, a teacher, and in the square above, north of Lewis Johnson’s, at G street, lived Richard and Charles Burgess, claim agents; Walter Stewart, B. Willett, Mrs. Butler, boarding house; D. Knipple, shoemaker; C.J. Fisher, a harness and trunk maker, and one or two others.