IN OLD WASHINGTON
By James Croggon, The Evening Star, June 12, 1909 [p. 18]
In the section of Washington south of that described in The Star of May 29, adjacent to Rodbud's and Crow hills of old, between 1st streeet east, 4th street west and M and P streets, the land and corporation records indicate optimistic views by some of the early owners.
Here was Greenleaf interested, as were Pratt, Miller and others, the English Building Company, to the extent of being chargeable with taxes, but titles left them before there was any building improvement. Included in the possession of Notley Young, in the tract bearing his name when the transfer was made to the government, William Deakins, jr. and Lynch & Sands were owners. The southern portion, high ground shelved off to the streams, which in part became the Tiber, contained some commanding building sites, which did not come into actual use till the fifties, except in two or three instances. To that time but little of the ground had been listed by the assessors at other than the half cent per foot appraised in 1802, most at a fourth. In the forties some commanding sites were bought at double that figure on time.
In the more than a dozen squares there were platted over 260 lots, few of which have not been cut into smaller ones; some of them fronting on improved streets which were not on the original plats.
History of Square 523
Square 555 in the lines of New Jersey and New York avenues, 1st, 3d, M and N streets, which has now two interior streeets, Kirby and Morgan, the first known as 2d street, and many sublots, contained twenty-six original lots in 1796. Young, Lynch & Sands and Deakins, with the government, were apportioned the lots, and Greenleaf and Morris & Nicholson were early interested. Charles Glover bought two lots in 1817, selling one to William Blanchard three years later and one to James McCleary in 1823. Joseph Pearson had two lots on 1st street that year and Eli Cross one on New York avenue in 1824.
John Hoover owned lot 4 two years later; P.A. Jay, two lots in 1829, selling one each to George Cover and Seraphin Masi, the latter selling to S.C. Ford in 1834. The next year S. Wilson bought lot 6, which in 1837 went to Charles Hibbs. In 1843 John Walker had thirteen lots.
Site of Old Brewery
In the triangle east of the above, known as square 618, three lots in the lines of New York avenue, North Capitol and N streets fell to the governmebnt in the allotment of 1796. Not until 1843, when Andrew Rothwell bought a lot, was there a change in title.
In square 619 eighteen lots were on New York avenue, North Capitol, M and 1st streets and were vested in the government in 1796. Greenleaf's ccontract for one thousand lots in 1794 covered them, but son after they fell to the Commissioners. Title was unchanged till John M. Donn bought the square in 1840.
Eastward was square 672, constructed of thirty-four lots on North capitol, 1st, M and N streets northeast, and in 1796 they were divided between mr. Young and the United States, the latter taking the east half. Mr. Young's portion was placed in the name of his daughter in 1812. Six years later Frederick May and S. Elliott, jr., owned here, and in 1837 C.T. Collins had title. Now there are many sublots, some on Patterson street midway between M and N streets.
The small triangle 522, one lot, in the line of New Jersey avenue, N and 4th streets, was allotted to mr. Deakins in 1796.
Triangle Bought for $13.92
On N, O, 1st and 3d streets thirty lots formeed square 554. Mr. Young took those in the west half of the square, the government the east half, but Greenleaf, Morris & Nicholson and the building company, Pratt et al., had interests. In 1819 five lots of the latter were owned by William Brent. In 1820 Samuel Burch owned five others, and Robert Tweedy's purchase of one in 1829 was the only one prior to 1840.
James A. Kennedy then owned four. Five years later John Walker acquired the square.
In the square east (617) were twenty three lots facing North Capitol, 1st street west, N and O streets. In the division Mr. Young was vested with thirteen lots, the government with ten. On those of the former there was a small frame dwelling in the thirties listed to one Talbert.
In 1820 Capt. Samuel burch owned three lots and J. Evans bought seven of the United States, to which soon after R.S. wharton had title.
Squares 670 and 671, one lot each, the traingles east and between North Capitol, N, O and 1st streets northeast, have similar history. They were allotted to Mr. Young, and for forty years were in the possession of the family. Needless is it to say that many sublots represent the originals and are improved.
square W. of 553, of five lots, on the east side of New Jersey avenue between O, P and 3d streets, was apportioned two lots to Mr. Deakins and five to the government. Robert Sewall in 1805 owned that at the northwest corner of 3d and O streets, to which J. mcKim had title in 1810, and the title remained in lots 3, 4 and 5, until 1842. William Richardson becoming owner.
Of the twenty-eight lots in square 555 facing O, P, 1st and 3d streets Mr. Young had those in the west half of the square, the government in the other in 1796. Robert Brent owned nine lots of Mr. Young's portion in 1815, J.P. Davis another in 1819 and Capt. Burch four a year later. James A. Kennedy in 1840 owned the latter.
Slaughter House Location
East, square 669 was divided between Mr. Young and the Commissioners, the former taking twelve lots in the west half of the square and the latter the remaining fourteen. The early history is very similar to the above, but later the name of Mary Elliott was connected therewith, and about 1832 Georgetown college owned most of it. As in some other squares, large lots have been cut into smaller parcels and an additional street (Patterson) has been run through.
Settlement came slowly and much of the territory was waste grown. The youths of over fifty years ago were well acquainted with the mysteries found in wild growth on hill and dale skirting the streams and "passed Crow hill" with many has a one-time familiar sound.
Indeed when, twenty-five years ago, the brewery at 2d and N streets was used for school purposes, so few were the houses near it that the pupils sent there from east and south enjoyed the rustic surroundings. Some of our city fathers doubted the wisdom of locating schools there, but a sufficient number of pupils were mustered from the settlements south and west, the other sections having literally no representation on the school rolls.
However, hundreds of our residents look back with pleasure to the school days spent in drinking in knowledge, not beer, in the brewery building.