John’s Place was a tiny nightclub during the 1990s that no longer exists, right in the corner of 714 S St NW, Washington, DC. Even though the nightclub existed thirty years ago, the building is still intact. Half of the building is old and damaged; barely noticeable to the eye, but is small and dirty, with a layer of red, dusty paint on top. As I walked around the corner of the old-fashioned liquor store, I noticed its red, old, filthy brick structure, with a typical aluminum door, which speaks of its surrounding and community close to the store. The walls are dirty, which gives a sense that the place is neglected and that the building has been existing for a long period of time. The door is a roll-up door that was commonly used at the time; it is worn off and dirty because of the climate and the years that have gone by, Yet, the dirtiness of the old door fits into the appearance of the little place in the corner of the street and adds to the appearance of an abandoned place. Right beside the door there is a window, which holds red bars, very simple, yet with an intricate design right in the middle. Other than this the facade of this half of the building does not hold much more, but the other half emits a positive feeling. The wall is entirely painted with graffiti art. Multi-color lines filled the wall, giving a sense of melody, as an old man who is painted as well is singing. As I viewed the man signing on the wall I thought to myself, “it is possible that this image which represents music foreshadows John’s place since it was a nightclub”? I was very intrigued by the art since the wall was the only “pop of color” the whole block had. Although the wall is painted with colorful graffiti, the place seems empty and lonely; it emits an obscure and dark impression. There is a strange coldness that the place presents, nobody walks by to give a welcoming warmth to the area. It would not be obvious to the viewer that place was a nightclub. The small, squared building is surrounded with big, long buildings, which makes the building of “John’s Place” stand out. The brick building is different than the rest since most of the buildings in the area are sleek, with a clear-cut, modern aspect.
The streets are wide, but not many cars pass by nor people walk around the area. The place is isolated and it seems to be that only the people who live around are who walk by, because it is not a place for tourists. The atmosphere is murky, lonely, and mysterious. This abandonment points out a history that this place holds and that occurred many years ago before the nightclub closed. This mysteriousness of the area leads to dangerous activity that occurred close of and in front of John’s Place, such as the crime that happened only three blocks away from John’s Place where one person died and eight were injured (The Washington Post). This incident left everyone frightened and traumatized. Crimes were happening closer and closer to John’s Place until a murder scene occurred right in front of the doors of John’s Place. One morning, at approximately 1:30 am, two armed men entered the nightclub intending to kill a 20-year-old man called Robert Lee Walker. After the two men shot Walker, they shot people who were on the middle of the way of their escape, leaving five people with shotgun wounds and two dead. As well as another victim who died approximately 40 feet away from John’s Place. (Ruben Castaneda, The Washington Post). This is one of the largest “deadliest outbursts” in Washington, DC throughout the 1990s. The building of John’s Place has a history, and more information keeps adding up as time passes.
John’s Place was a nightclub that was opened around the 1990s, now it is nothing more than a building with a graffiti wall, and a liquor store that is around the corner from the original entrance. Is there much more left of John’s Place? Or is it just the wall that is there to tell the story that still remains untold?
Castaneda, Ruben. “4 SLAIN, 2 HURT IN NW CLUB.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 25 Feb. 1990. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.
Wheeler, Linda, and Wendy Melillo. “D.C. Market Shooting Kills 1, Injures 8.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 01 Apr. 1994. Web. 02 Oct. 2016.