Early Growth Slow
By James Croggon, The Evening Star, October 22, 1909 [p. ?]
Squares 758, 759, 785, 786, 814 to 816 and 838 to 840, on Capitol Hill northeast, were laid out in Carroll’s lines, that portion east of 4th street being in Prout’s land. These squares lay between East Capito, B and C streets, six of them south of Stanton Square, and they contributed some to the progress in city growth by the time a municipal government was established, if the establishment of one or two homes could so be regarded. City improvement of avenues or streets was not attempted for fifty years, and until 1860 Maryland avenue and East Capitol street alone were the thoroughfares, but some zigzag wagon tracks were in evidence in the neighborhood.
As will be seen, a few of the old families appeared here in the teens of the century, but the growth was much slower than further southward. In time, however, the neighborhood of 2d and B streets became a village about Zach Hazel’s tavern, which was established there about 1820. In the days of the war Hazel’s Row was well known. There were by this time, besides Hazel’s tavern, James Wright’s grocery, at the southeast corner of Maryland avenue and 2d street, and south of that William Howard, a carpenter; Theodore Kidwell, Alexander Lovejoy, Patrick McElhany, and John Queen, master bricklayer employed at the Capitol, on 2d street; G. Delaplain, bricklayer; Thomas Chaney, painter; and Tobias Simpson, a colored messenger, on A street, and William A. Scott, a grocer on East Capitol street and others.
Notwithstanding the growth above noted, others came slowly and the above names all disappeared in the ensuing twenty years. A settlement of colored people was located south of Stanton Square, in which the Thomas family was he pioneer, having settled there in 1800. In the new names were Miss A.M. Harrington, Jacob Hess, Charles Metterriger and H. Goodwin on East Capitol street, William Davidson on B street, and F. Erb conducted a grocery a the corner of Maryland avenue and 2d street.
Improved More Rapidly
Four years after, 1806-7, William Crown had a two-hundred-and-fifty-dollar building in lot 5, in the former square 758, fronting on 2d street between A and B streets; Benjamin Bacon, $300, in lot 7 of the same, north of the preceding; Henry Suttle, $250, adjoining, and Mr. Birch’s appraisement was reduced to $100. In square 750, George St. Clair was listed for $200, in lot 5, East Capitol street, east of 2d street, and Samuel N. Smallwood, $1,200, in lot 6, corner 2d and East Capitol streets. In square 785, James Thomas’ assessment was increased to $300. The assessment on the ground was first placed at 5, 6, 4 and 3 cents, but at the second assessment half or less than those rates per foot were returned.
Some Early Transfers
In 1819 Wm. Farr leased part 4 adjoining Walsh’s house, and Wm. Matthews held in trust part 3 eastward. In 1822 . Diag leased part 2 near the corner of East Capitol and 2d streets, and James Spratt had part 5. In 1825 Ann Middleton assigned lease to part 3 to John Cull, and in 1828 Wm. Draine leased 20 feet front of lot 3 on East Capitol street at $20 per annum.
About 1829 there were improvements listed, $150 each to Wm. Draine, Cull’s heirs and Daniel Carroll, on the south front, and $700 to Dr. F. May at the corner of 2d and East Capitol streets. Mr. Carroll’s lots, here and elsewhere, were included in a transfer to Moses Tabbs, Roger C. Weightman as trustees to place on the market, but little purchasing followed and leases were made out for a number. In 1832 Wm. Keefe took an assignment of lease in lot 2, and G.C. Bestor bought lots 7 and 8 on 2d street. In 1836 Frances Hanna had lot 1, corner of 3d and East Capitol streets, and J. Kedglie owned plot 3, after whom came S. Reddick and James Reddick. In 1838 Anna M. Harrington owned lot 6 and S. Goldsmith lot 8 on 2d street. W.J. McDonald, in 1839, owned lots 2 and 3, and in 1840 Horatio R. Maryman owned lot 1.
Apportioned in 1796
Square 816, twelve lots fronting 4th, 5th, East Capitol and A streets, was assigned to the United States in 1795, and Greenleaf’s contract included it for years. In 1839 Saunders Lewis bought six lots and sold them with a dozen others nearby for $343.03.
In square 840 the twelve lots binding on 5th, 6h, East Capitol and A streets were in 1795 assigned to William Prout. Two years after the four lots fronting East Capitol street, 1 to 4, were included with a number sold to Augustine Woodward, and in 1799 Joseph Slater owned 5 and 6 on 5th street. In 1816 Benjamin G. Orr owned lots 5 and 6. Gen. J.P. Van Ness in 1840 owned lot 5; in 1843 A. Daig, lot 4, corner East Capitol and 5th streets; George Adams, the next year, bought lot 6, on 5th street; J. Hess, lots 1 to 3 and 12, and Agnes Wilson in 1846, acquired the corner of 5th and East Capitol streets.
Low Rate for Leases
In 1822 William J. McCormick bought lot 8 and conveyed it to F. Miller et. A. Moses Young’s lots were apportioned between his heirs in 1826. The next year James Wright owned part lots 9 and 10, and was taxed on a $300 building. Coombes’ heirs were listed in 1830 for $100 improvements. IN 1830 Z. Hazel owned lot 7, fronting on 2d street, and was taxed for $300 improvements. Francis Hanne in 1835 owned lot 6, and W.C. Orme lots 10 and 11 on B street. In 1839, John Siron owned on A street lot 4, on which Patrick Barry afterward located.
In the east half of square 785, between 3d, 4th, A and B streets, nine lots were in 1796 vested in William Prout, the government retaining the others. In 1802 James Thomas leased part of lot 13, fronting 2 feet on B street, of Mr. Prout for $25 per year. In 1826 J.D.C. Howard purchased Thomas’ lease for $250. In 1837 the government lots were included in the donation to Georgetown College, and the following year Walter C. Livingston purchased the east half of the square for $416. In 1842 J.T. Howard purchased the west half of lot 13, 3,407 feet, fronting 25 feet on B street, for $100.
South of Stanton Square
Fourteen lots fronting what is now Stanton Square, 5th, 6th and B streets, square 838, in 1795 was vested in Mr. Prout till 1836. Later B.D. Harrison bought the east half of lot 9, and two years later Walter C. Livingston owned the balance of the square. In 1843 W.G. Cranch was a lot holder, and two years after Caleb Knight bought parts 3 and 4, over 3,000 feet, fronting B street, for $80. The square south, No. 839, with fourteen lots, was the property of the government till 1837, when the Georgetown College became the owner of the A street front, lots 1 to 4.