Archive for historical losses

Lost Washington: Carbery House

Posted in Foggy Bottom, Lost Washington with tags , on August 7, 2009 by Kent

The Carbery House was built in 1818 at the northwest corner of 17th and C Streets, opposite the Ellipse. It was the residence of Thomas Carbery, mayor of Washington and a noted member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Carbery House

Carbery became active in the public affairs of Washington in 1819 when he was elected to the city council. He remained active until his death in 1863.

While the house was no stranger to tragedy — his wife and four children died there within a short time in the 1830s — it was more famously known as “Miracle House” due to the widely publicized recovery of Thomas’ gravely ill sister, Mrs. Ann Carbery Mattingly. She had been ill since 1817 and, being widowed, was invited to live in the house upon its completion. She grew increasingly worse prompting the family to consent to a priest  writing Prince Hohenlohe of Hamburg, Germany. Hohenlohe was a known healer, and agreed to pray for Ann’s recovery.On the date and time that Hohenlohe stated he’d pray for recovery, Ann rose from her bed being completely healed.

The house itself was built in the Federal style, though the entrance was atypically located on the side rather than the front. The cast-iron porch was an 1840 addition. Carbery House was eventually razed in 1903.

Lost Washington: Center Market

Posted in Cluss, Adolph (1825-1905), Federal Triangle, Markets, Victorian with tags , , , on August 6, 2009 by Kent

Grand Central Palace, which contains bowling alleys and billard parlor at Center Market, Washington, D.C.The block where the National Archives is located, bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue, Constitution Ave, 7th Street, and 9th Street, NW, was once the location of Center Market. Designed by Adolph Cluss, it was built in 1871. It was expanded in the 1880s with large wings also designed by Cluss.

Open six days a week from dawn until noon, the market had thousands of daily customers. The structure was a model market with good light, ventilation, drainage, and wide aisles. It was razed in 1931.
Center market interior ca. 1922

Center Market, B Street (Constitution) side

Center Market, B Street (Constitution) side

Lost Washington: Washington City Orphan Asylum

Posted in Lost Washington with tags on August 4, 2009 by Kent

The Washington City Orphan Asylum was founded in 1815 to care for the destitute children of Washington. It was originally located on H Street, NW, between 9th and 10th Streets in a building designed by Charles Bulfinch and completed in 1828.

Washington City Orphan AsylumThe images here show its second location on the southeast corner of 14th and S Streets, NW. This larger lot was donated in 1865 by William W. Corcoran. The Washington City Orphan Asylum authorized construction of the new building in the Italian villa style to plans by architect John C. Harkness. Use of the building for the Orphan Asylum was delayed by a decade when Secretary of State Seward expressed his need for space due to a shortage caused by the Civil War. As a result the building was leased to the State Department for its headquarters.

In 1927 the Washington City Orphan Asylum unofficially changed its name to Hillcrest Children’s Center and moved to a new location at Nebraska Avenue and 42nd Street, NW. Ultimately, the building at 14th and S Streets was razed in 1963.
Washington City Orphan Asylum interior

Lost Washington: Norfolk and Washington’s Northland

Posted in Lost Washington, Ships with tags , , on July 31, 2009 by Kent

N&W NorthlandThe Northland was built by the Harlan & Hollingsworth Corp., Wilmington, Del., in 1911 for the Norfolk and Washington Steamboat Company. Like the Southland, she transported passengers and freight between Washington and Norfolk.
Steamer Northland Deck Plans

During the first part of World War II, she operated as a transport with the British Navy. She was assigned the name Leyden (IX-167) on May 18, 1944, and was acquired by the Navy and commissioned May 22, 1944, Lt. William S. Johnson in command.

From her commissioning until July 1945, Leyden operated as a naval auxiliary in British staging areas and French ports during the final European campaigns of World War II. Leyden was decommissioned at Falmouth, England July 23, 1945, for return to the War Shipping Administration, and was sold to the Fu Chung International Corp. November 7, 1946. She was renamed Hung Chong. She was broken up as scrap in 1955.
N&W Northland

Lost Washington: Analostan

Posted in Lost Washington with tags , , on July 29, 2009 by Kent

Map of Analostan Island from Map of the City of Washington by Robert King Plate No. 1As evidenced by the detail to the right from the 1818 Map of the City of Washington by Robert King, Roosevelt Island wasn’t always uninhabited, or even known as by its present name.

When the island was purchased in the early eighteenth-century by the father of George Mason of Gunston Hall, it was know as Analostan Island. The name Analostan refers to the seventeenth-century Necostin Indian tribe that once inhabited the area.

The land was not developed until the island and some  2,000 additional acres in Virginia were inherited by General John Mason. General Mason became one of the most prominent businessmen of Georgetown. He was a founder of the Bank of Columbia on M Street in 1793.

He developed Analostan, also known as Mason’s Island, into a self-contained estate, producing its own food. Much like today, one way onto the island was via a causeway from Virginia. Unlike today, there was also a ferry from the Georgetown shore that stopped at the island. Mason House sketch

The house was built ca. 1796, though never completed. The likely answer is that the house’s fortunes were tied to those of General Mason, who was forced to move from the island when the Bank of Columbia collapsed in 1833.

The house was primarily Federal in overall design, but  possessed several important neoclassical elements that made it advanced for its time in Washington. These elements included the porch, the stuccoed facade, and the arched windows set into blind recesses.

The property suffered several indignities after Mason’s departure. During the 1850s and 1860s the mansion was open to public use and was an army camp during the Civil War — after which it was unsuitable as a residence. It also served as home of the Columbian Athletic Club and the Analostan Boat Club after 1867.Mason House ca. 1880s

In 1869 a serious fire destroyed the interior. Another fire in 1906 caused the roof to collapse. The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Association acquired the island in 1931 and donated it to the federal government as the future site of a city park. The Civilian Conservation Corps had cleared much of the island and pulled down the remaining walls of the home by  1935.Mason House ruins ca. 1905

Lost Washington: The Godey Lime Kilns

Posted in Georgetown, Lost Washington with tags , , on July 21, 2009 by Kent

The Godey Lime Kilns were an important part of the mid-19th century commercial life of Georgetown. The kilns were operated to produce lime from 1864 to 1908. At the peak of operation, the kilns consisted of four oven structures and an assortment of sheds and structures scattered around them. Godey Lime Kilns

Godey Lime Kilns ca. 1938The entire business was situated on the edge of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal. By the 1960s,t he remains of the Godey Lime Kilns were located amid the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, the Whitehurst Freeway, and highway and access ramps for K Street.

Only two of the original four ovens remain, and these two were half buried before the National Park Service and District of Columbia Highway Department combined efforts to stabilize them.

Below is how they look today (image from Wikipedia)

Lost Washington: The Raleigh Hotel

Posted in Hotels, Lost Washington, Penn Quarter with tags , , , , on July 17, 2009 by Kent

Raleigh Hotel ca. 1915The Raleigh Hotel got its start in 1893 when the Shepherd Centennial Building on the northeast corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street, NW, was converted from commercial use into the hotel by Washington architect Leon E. Dessez.

The hotel expanded quickly. In 1897 three additional floors were added. In 1898 New York architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh designed a major addition in the center of 12th Street to the north of the original building. The building was enlarged by Hardenbergh again in 1905. By 1911, the original building was considered too dated and razed for Hardenbergh’s new, Beaux Arts, thirteen-story main hotel building facing Pennsylvania Avenue.
Raleigh Hotel at Night

The builder’s demand for height  caused Congress to change the height limit for Pennsylvania Avenue froom 130 feet to 160 feet in 1910.

The Raleigh was well know for good food, drink, and entertainment. It was equally regarded for the beauty of its architectural details, such as the decoration of the gold-and-white ballroom on the top floor.
Raleigh Hotel

It was a prosperous hotel, though it lost some of its business to the Mayflower Hotel when it opened. One of the factors that made the Raleigh such a success was its manager, Curt C. Schiffeler, who  managed to create a warm and informal atmosphere that pleased the guests. Schiffeler remained at the Raleigh until he retired in 1954. By then newer hotels were drawing patronage away. The Raleigh was razed ten years later in 1964.

More images after the jump Continue reading

Lost Washington: The Southland

Posted in Lost Washington, Ships with tags , , on July 14, 2009 by Kent

The Southland was built in 1908 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. as the SS Southland. The steamer operated for the Norfolk and Washington Steamboat Co. on the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, transporting passengers and freight between Washington, Alexandria, Old Point Comfort, and Norfolk.

The Southland was acquired by the War Shipping Administration in 1942 for transfer to the British Ministry of War Transport. She was returned in 1943 and converted to accommodate 544 passengers  and chartered by the United States Navy, commissioned on 22 May 1944.

Southland was assigned to the 12th Fleet until 1945, when she was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on August 13, 1945. Subsequently, the vessel was sold to Fu Chung International Corp., China, and operated as Hung Yung until scrapped in 1955.

Lost Washington: the Trans-Lux Theater

Posted in Art Deco, Downtown, Lost Washington, Theaters with tags , , , on July 9, 2009 by Kent

Trans-Lux theaterThe Trans-Lux was once located on the west side of 14th Street, NW, between New York Avenue and H Street. The Trans-Lux was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb in 1936.  The theater opened on March 13, 1937.

One of Washington’s most elegant art deco buildings, the streamlined theater was designed to show exclusively the latest newsreels from all corners of the globe together with an assortment of shorts, comedies, and travelogs.

The theater had many features unique for its day in Washington — well-spaced seats, indirect lighting, rear screen projection, wall-to-wall carpeting, sound-absorbent walls, and one of the first air-conditioning systems in a public building in the city.

Efforts were made to save the Trans-Lux but they proved futile. In the end, Washington preservationists lost as the parking-lot firm PMI razed it in 1975.Trans-Lux demolition 1Trans-Lux demolition 2

Lost Washington: the McLean House

Posted in Downtown, Lost Washington with tags , , on July 2, 2009 by Kent

McLean House
The McLean House, located at 1500 Eye Street, NW, was perhaps the most opulent of the many great houses erected in Washington at the turn of the century. A Renaissance-inspired structure, the house covered one-third of a city block on the south side of McPherson Square.

The mansion incorporated the original house on the southwest corner of 15th and Eye Streets that was built in 1860 by Jonah Hoover. From 1865 to 1869, the house was occupied by Senator Edwin D. Morgan, a wealthy stockbroker and wholesale grocery merchant.

The house was leased by John Roll McLean — who purchased it several years later — in 1884. Subsequently, the home was enlarged in 1886, 1891, 1894, and 1896. McLean was the only son of Washington McLean, who started as a boilermaker in Ohio and made a fortune as a manufacturer of Ohio River steamboats.

McLean House, music room from staircaseThe younger McLean got his start at his father’s paper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, taking charge when the family moved to Washington. In 1905, McLean purchased the Washington Post, which deteriorated under his leadership.

In his personal life, McLean liked to entertain on a grand scale. To this end, he commission John Russell Pope to expand the house (which he’d already added on to four times) into a block-long Renaissance in-town villa in 1907. For the interior decoration, the leading New York designer Elsie de Wolfe was engaged.

Upon John’s death in 1916, the house passed to his son Edward. Edward, a known alcoholic, had married Evalyn Walsh. Edward spent his last days in a Maryland sanitarium, where he died in 1941.

Evalyn Walsh McLean leased the house to the federal government in 1935 for use as office space for three of the New Deal agencies. In 1939, it was sold for $2 million and demolished for the  Lafayette Office Building.McLean House, staircase detailMcLean House, music room looking toward ballroomMcLean House, view of dining room showing mantel & cupboardMcLean House, view of ballroom showing fireplace and four tapestries