Friday, January 29, 2010

The power of five or six horses fits into Naylor Court stable

In 1887 for $800, William P Lipscomb had a brick stable with a tin roof and no plumbing built behind his 920 O Street home. One could reasonably assume that he had one or two horses, but probably not a carriage, for the stable measured only 24 feet by 28 feet with a hayloft on the second floor. This was a very common size and configuration for the average stable in the city at the turn of the century. This stable, in Naylor Court is now protected on the National Register as a National Historic Landmark - as are all of the buildings in square 0367. Like all city stables, it has lived many lives. Most recently it was the home of a lovely young couple who shared broad ranging interests including photography and a passion for vintage scooters (Vespa).

“Vespa is both Latin and Italian for wasp—derived from both the high-pitched noise of the two-stroke engine, and adopted as a name for the vehicle in reference to its body shape: the thicker rear part connected to the front part by a narrow waist, and the steering rod resembled antennae.” (From )

Some little stables in the back alleys of Washington became homes for mechanical horsepower after the need for animal horse power faded at the turn of the last century. Many became community auto repair garages meeting the needs of the poor in the neighborhood who tried to run old and failing cars on empty pockets. Some became lofts. Others were abandoned. Some simply fell down through neglect and the subsequent consequences of demolition by nature. Fortunately recognition of the sentimental and historic value of these little properties is gradually increasing in Washington. They are elegant in their utilitarian simplicity – just like the little Vespa!

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