In Hamburgh Town
By James Croggon, The Evening Star, January 16, 1910 [pt. 4, p. 1]
Rendezvous for Soldiers in Year 1800 and During the War of 1812 Within the lines of 20th, 23d and D streets, on the river shores, on the plat of Hamburgh years ago, several squares were cut into lots for building purposes, and these were in the heart of Jacob Funk's town, laid out in 1771. This, of course, blotted out the old lines of the lots of Funk's town, but the exchanges were made by holders under Funk for the city lots without much friction, and it is learned from tradition that none of the houses of settlers had to be moved from the street lines.
This was the center of Hamburgh, about the wharf and warehouse, and evidently the projector, Funk, was optimistic, as were the lot holders under him. Twenty-third street separated this section from the hill, which, it is said, was occupied as a campground in colonial times by the marines. This was about the year 1800, and United States and local troops also occupied it in the war of 1812.
"University square" officially was camp Hill until the location of the Naval Observatory, about the year 1845, led to a change of name to Observatory grounds. The old building I snow used as the Naval Museum of Hygiene.
From the number of names associated with the lots in Hamburgh subsequently exchanged for city lots, and from the plan for the burgh, in which a market square, wharf, warehouse and the lots set apart for the Lutheran and Calvanistic Christians, a permanent town was projected. It was, however, included in the site of Washington in 1791, and traditionally it is learned that then there were but few substantial houses standing there.
After the transfer to the commissioners much of the land passed into the hands of Greenleaf, Morris & Nicholson, W.M. Duncanson, Miller and others, who were prominent in developing the city; but they left no evidence of their work. The property was the subject of litigation, in which those above named were involved. Whatever may have been the enterprises in the Haburgh settlement, soon after 1800, the manufacture of glass by Andrew J.W. Way became an important indusutry.
When Washington Was Founded
In the square of ten lots formed by New York and Virginia avenues, 20th, 21st and C streets, E. 87, Col. William Deakins, Stoddert & Deakins and C. Lower took title in 1794, and soon afterward these lots were included in the holdings of greenleaf and his successors, but by 1830 four houses were erected on them. The only noted assessments for improvements were: J. Barcroft, $100, and T. Bingey, $250, on C street, and J. Duff, $200, on New York avenue and 21st street.
In the square south, E. 88, sixteen lots fronted on B, C, 20th and 21st streets, and one each was transferred to Henry Roser and John Casey, the government retaining the others. Greenleaf, Forrest, Morris, J. Nicholson and others were interested here for many years.
Fifteen lots of square 84, on 21st, 22d and D streets and New York avenue, were assigned as follows: Lots 1 and 4 to the government, and the others to Andrew Link, James Garlic, B. stoddert, S. Blodget, T. Cramphin, F. Mann, M. Stoker, John Hass, Hatfield and Mr. Raymer. These were in exchange for Hamburgh lots. In 1797 a lease was given Thomas Taylor on lot 9, and in 1800 Pratt Miller et al. owned lot 1 at 21st street and New York avenue.
There were no changes until 1816, when trustees of the Tontine Company held some of the lots. Three and four cents had been the value, but by 1830 a five cent valuation had been reached, and the improvements were listed to D. and J. Taylor, $400 on New York avenue and $500 on 22d street, and H. Suttle, $150, on New York avenue.
South eight lots formed square 87, between New York avenue, C, 21st and 22d streets, the title to four lots being vested in the United States, Adam Ott, Joshua Johnson and Thomas Johnson exchanging them for Hamburgh lots.
Lots Were Under Water
North of square 89, in the lines of Water, C, 221st and 22d streets, square 88 was projected for twenty-five lots, six being taken by the United states, and this, in connection with the former, was the business point of the section, the glass house and wharf being located here. The southeast corner was beneath the water, and a stream made its way from C street beneath the wharf in the square south. In the division title to the lots not taken by the government was vested for Hamburg property in Michael Gross, W.M. Beall, J.J. Leroy, John Hackett, N. Kinsor, John Hamell, Philip Sybert, B. Spiker, John Sidebottom, W. Deakins, D. Ragan, stoddert & Deakins, John Mantz, G. Swingle, M. Ramer, A. Smith, F. Curtis and J. Comp.
Shortly after the year 1800 Andrew J. William Way established the glass house, which was listed at $2,500, and for over a quarter of a century a force of workmen was employed there. Lewis Frank, who owned and lived on the north side of C street, was the principal workman.
Square 61, comprising thirteen lots, with the exception of two held by the government, went to the Hamburg owners – M. Bucke, A. Retinover, Joachim Streeves, F. Hocandorfer, W. McGrath, James Kirk, H. Coonly, C. Merkle, P.H. Meris and B. Spiker.
In 1796 Morris J. Nicholson had interests there, and afterward W.M. Duncanson obtained title. Six lots fronted 22d street and seven were on 33d street, and in 1798 Duncanson owned lots 4 and 5, on 22d street. Four years afterward this property was mortgaged to the Bank of Columbia.
In 1798 William Robertson owned a lot on 23d street, but Stoddert and the Tontine Company owned three lots in 1805. In 1818 Christian Hines owned buildings in the same section valued at $100 and $150, respectively. In the twenties J.S. Stauffer owned on 23d street, and in 1833 St. Vincent's Asylum had title to a lot. Azariah Fuller bought on 23d street in 1838, and the family in later years lived here.
Eleven Lots in Square 62
In 1805 Ignatius Lucas bought lot 1, nearly 6,800 feet, for $200. Two cents per foot was the ground value. In 1809 Gen. Walter Smith owned the lots on C street. In 1813 W. Boyd owned lot 3. In 1815 A. Joncharez owned lot 6 and Thomas Taylor lot 2. In 1824 Dan Buzzard owned three lots on Water street. In 1830 C. Eckhart owned an interest in lot 1, Water and 22d streets, having then an improvement valued at $1,000, and E. Lucas one worth $300. P. and W. Johnson had two five-hundred-dollar improvements west, and Murray & Crawford one worth $250, at 22d and C streets.
On the south side of Water street between 22d and 23d streets, 11 lots were platted as square 63, and the government retained two. John Mountz, Thomas Johns, R. Allison, Gen. Lingan and C. Kemp were the early owners. Most of these lots were overflowed at high water, nevertheless in 1830 there were improvements there listed at $325 – Sarah Blackston for $75; H. Eckhart and R. Sands, $50 each, and D.J. Taylor, $150.
Thomas Corcoran in 1799 bought two lots fronting 66 on Water street for $360; John Allen purchased the corner of 22d street in 1810, and Thomas Taylor lot 7. In 1833 the Chesapeake and Ohio canal owned lot 5, and in 1839 William Easby and E. Henley owned lots 5, 7 and 8, and established limekilns there.