Monday, July 28, 2008

Jack Evans agrees to help the community protect historic alley buildings

Jack Evans has agreed to work with a coalition in the community to help to create protective measures to ensure the continued lives of small historic buildings within the alleys in his district. Even with the national recognition of Naylor Court on the National Register as an historic landmark (1990) this alone appears insufficient to protect the special collection of 16 (now 15) stables from destruction. Having city council member Evans working with the community to preserve the unique history of small alley structures is very encouraging to those of us who understand and value the uniqueness of the collective group of buildings. Individually some may not seem like much, but together they create a special picture of the past life in D.C. Alleys. Naylor Court is the last alley in the city with this concentration of intact stables. The vision of the coalition is reflected in the London and Paris mews where old stables were saved and turned into homes and small. Georgetown has been able to preserve much of its historic little byways. We believe that our neighborhood should be able to as well. The little stable on the left was destroyed in July 2008.

[Below is from work done by Traceries and the law firm of Shaughnessy, Volzer and Gagner, P.C. in 1990]

“Behind the public street facades, the property oriented onto the alleyways developed in a very different fashion. The growing population in the city dramatically increased the demand for housing, particularly for inexpensive dwellings for the large number of working class blacks. One solution to this population pressure was to increase the population density on each square by subdividing lots at the rear of street property that faced directly onto alleyways. This is amply illustrated in the history of Squares 367 (Naylor Court) and 368 (Blagden Alley).”

“Before 1867, Square 367 had only ten lots officially recorded as fronting solely on the alley, although the 1857 Boschke map showed several structures located near or on the alleys. The earliest extant alley dwelling is located on Square 367 at the rear of 1316 9th Street, N.W. It was constructed between 1863 and 1869 as a dwelling. At the time of its construction, the property remained a single lot, indicating a possible social relationship between the inhabitants of the two buildings.”


stable preservationist said...

Raising awareness of the value of the small alley buildings and how they contribute to an understanding of Washington's past is important. If one takes a walk along the canal in Georgetown it's easy to see how well Georgetown has been able to preserve its stables and other small buildings from the past. Having Jack Evans promise to help preserve Naylor Court is a great first step.

kyle kreutzberg said...

I'm really enjoying your blog and all the great content -- quite impressive.

I'm glad to introduce myself. I'm an backstreet afficionado. I was drawn into repairing my Ledroit Park backstreet following so many threatening years of problems in it. I just reached the point where I felt I might take a bullet or worse, in our beautiful back street.

We just jumped into it our of flat out desperation. It's a sad-happy tale of molestation and corruption with a beautiful ending. People love it or hate it depending mostly upon the depth of their hateful nature.

There's no excuse for the neglect and disinvestment scarring this magnificent city. Alley dwellers, in increasing numbers, set an important precedent; so very very long overdue.

It's great to be connected and I'm glad for Richard Layman's indirect intro to you.


Come visit my backstreet anytime you like. I consider it a nice metaphor....about possibilities. All our backsteets need is a little creative love. And someone to sweep up the trash and excrement-- still seeping from the pores I'm afraid.

Consider yourself invited. Chilly summer beverages will be provided.

kyle kreutzberg
Ledroit Park