Built Environment Descriptions

Reconstruction or Destruction: The Storied Past and Bleak Future of Shaw

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This is an image from the original urban renewal project done in Shaw. The neighborhood was named after the Jr. High School and it's boundaries are technically those of the original school district. [1]

This is an image from the original urban renewal project done in Shaw. The neighborhood was named after the Jr. High School and it’s boundaries are technically those of the original school district. [1]

The cozy brick townhouses encapsulate the street.  Freshly planted trees and small patches of grass line the narrow sidewalks. The air smells clean, as clean as an urban environment can smell at least.  People walking up and down with smiles on their faces as they continue on with their day. The Shaw neighborhood in northwest DC has a storied history.  Many people only believe what the newspapers told them about Shaw, that it was a bleak drug-fueled warzone, however, Shaw has a rich culture that is fading away.

On the left is an image of Robert Gould Shaw, who the neighborhood was named after. He commanded the 54th Massachusetts Regiment which consisted entirely of African Americans. [2] The memorial on the right is dedicated to this regiment and is located on Boston Common. [3]

On the left is an image of Robert Gould Shaw, who the neighborhood was named after. He commanded the 54th Massachusetts Regiment which consisted entirely of African Americans. [2] The memorial on the right is dedicated to this regiment and is located on Boston Common. [3]

The end of the Civil War gave birth to Shaw. The blocks sandwiched between Massachusetts Ave NW, New Jersey Ave NW, Florida Ave NW, and 11th Street NW, were in fact named after Robert Gould Shaw, the commander of the all-black 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment that fought in the Civil War (Meyer). The area was originally undeveloped; it wasn’t until streetcars began running up and down the streets that people began to move in.  As whites fled, middle class African Americans arrived.  Much like Harlem of the early 20th Century, Shaw saw the rise of famous artists and musicians, such as the world renowned Duke Ellington (Schwartzman).  The neighborhood was filled with black businesses alongside landmarks such as the Howard Theater, Frank Holiday’s Pool Hall, and Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Shaw was a glamorous place for many residents in it’s heyday, with W. Norman Wood recalling he liked to, “linger outside a fancy restaurant and soak up the glamour of blacks coming and going in their tuxes and gowns”(Schwartzman).  The tuxes and gowns would soon disappear.  On April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, which triggered a series of riots across the country.  The DC riots were some of the worst, destroying entire neighborhoods and looked more like the streets of Saigon than America’s capital.

Soldiers stand on the steps of the United States Capitol building. During the 1968 riots, rioters came only a few blocks away from the White House. In order to protect important landmarks along the mall, troops were stationed with machine gun emplacements. The image is a haunting reminder of the severity of the situation that was unfolding in our nation's capital. [4]

Soldiers stand on the steps of the United States Capitol building. During the 1968 riots, rioters came only a few blocks away from the White House. In order to protect important landmarks along the mall, troops were stationed with machine gun emplacements. The image is a haunting reminder of the severity of the situation that was unfolding in our nation’s capital. [4]

 The trumpets and pianos laid silent; the paint brushes unused.  Following the riots, many of the middle class African Americans left, leaving only low income families behind.  With little investment from outside, the remaining residents struggled to rebuild their community.  This inability to rebuild and disinterest from outsiders who viewed the residents as rioters and thugs, sent Shaw downhill.  Drugs and gangs took over the streets where cultural icons once stood.  The residents held onto Shaw’s former glory, hoping desperately for the crime wave to pass so they could have their culture back once more.  Washington, DC became known as the “Murder Capital of America,” with Shaw as the epicenter (Lewis).  The early 2000s saw the crime rate fall, a sign of hope for a beleaguered neighborhood.  Unfortunately, the past crime was the least of their worries.  While residents occasionally had to worry about passing criminal activity, their streets were still a community where everyone knew each other.  The new influx of specifically young, white residents destroyed Shaw more than the drug war ever could have.  New business took hold in the area, as more investment poured in.  This investment, however, wasn’t going to the African American residents who needed it the most, it was working against them.  

Some of the famous starts of Shaw's renaissance. The most well known artist from the neighborhood was Duke Ellington, who performed famous jazz pieces across America. [5]

Some of the famous starts of Shaw’s renaissance. The most well known artist from the neighborhood was Duke Ellington, who performed famous jazz pieces across America. [5]

The rise of a new commercial and residential sector in Shaw transformed the community from cultural hub to hipster paradise.  Many would see a decline in crime as a good thing, but few notice that the new development destroyed the community Shaw had fostered.  Housing prices rose at incredible rates, with the story circulating of one man who purchased his townhouse for $60,000 and when it was sold, it went for seven times the original price (Schwartzman).  The ghosts of the past haunt the streets; gone are the black men donned in tuxedos and the laughter of children playing on the sidewalks.  The only remnants are confined to photographs or plaques in buildings.  The murals of U Street station are eulogies to a long dead elegance (Abrams).  Shaw, a neighborhood that grew out of the Civil War, was created from the dissolution of slavery and its prosperity ended with the death of a community’s icon that allowed them to finally be free.

One of the many murals located in Shaw that are dedicated to the culture of a bygone era. Along with those painted across the sides of buildings, this one is located in the U Street Metro Station. It's presence here greets visitors with the image that Shaw wants to project, in hopes that it won't disappear forever. [6]

One of the many murals located in Shaw that are dedicated to the culture of a bygone era. Along with those painted across the sides of buildings, this one is located in the U Street Metro Station. It’s presence here greets visitors with the image that Shaw wants to project, in hopes that it won’t disappear forever. [6]

Shaw has gone through three phases throughout its existence.  It began with the decadent African American culture that flourished throughout the early 20th Century.  It was followed by a trough of drugs and crimes, but now it is desperately fighting for its culture and community.  The neighborhood’s past is often downplayed by the the media and history books as a formerly violent place that has been cleaned up and fixed with new industry.  This overlooks the communal aspects that Shaw had prior to its renovation in the late 1990s.  The downfall of Shaw is generally attributed to the 1968 riots, where looting and destruction devastated much of the neighborhood (Franke-Ruta).  This has deeper roots in the class divide among the African American residents who lived there.  As DC and the entire country gradually desegregated, middle class African Americans moved to more affluent neighborhoods in the suburbs.  While this was not a severe problem at first, it was the riots that eventually caused many families to move.  Left in Shaw were the low income African Americans, who with little capital struggled to rebuild (Lewis) .  This vulnerability opened up the community to the crime and manipulation that ensued in the following decades.

An image from the violent crime days of Shaw. When drugs invaded the neighborhood, many of the remaining low income residents turned to dealing in order to stay afloat. With little incentive for the outside to invest, the streets and infrastructure decayed. [7]

An image from the violent crime days of Shaw. When drugs invaded the neighborhood, many of the remaining low income residents turned to dealing in order to stay afloat. With little incentive for the outside to invest, the streets and infrastructure decayed. [7]

The hub of Shaw for much of the early nineties is located at 618 S Street NW.  It is a 126-year old townhouse in an up and coming area and while it isn’t the nicest place on the block by far, it doesn’t appear to be a terrible place to live.  This was the house of the deceased Garnell A. Campbell (better known by his street name “Baldie”) that stands nestled between the New Community Church and the row of brick buildings that run up and down S Street.  From a chair on his quaint porch, Baldie ran his crime empire that ran over most of Shaw (“Addiction Battled Reporter”).  The fact that a chair still sits there gives the house an eerie feeling, as if Baldie’s presence is still there.  The change from the violent crime that once controlled the area is easily visible today.   As I stood outside the home of Baldie, a day care group in strollers went down the street.  Little did they know that they were passing the former house of one of DC’s most famous druglords.  Unfortunately, I was unable to gain access to the interior of Baldie’s home, but there some assumptions we can pull from the exterior and the area in general.  The presence of crime bars on the windows means that the current resident is still worried about the possibility of crime on S Street.  This might signify that the inhabitant was around during the troubled past of the block.  Many of the weeds and moss on the porch is unkempt, which could indicate the interior is not well taken care of either.  The shutters are do appear fairly modern and add a touch of friendliness to the building.  Taking this into account, coupled with the price of the unit and the recent renovations of many neighboring buildings, we can deduce that the inside has most likely been redone to some extent (Areavibes).  The center of many of Shaw’s past trouble is unknowingly past everyday.

This is the former residence of Garnell “Baldie” Campbell. It’s located next door to the New Community Church as described in S Street Rising by Ruben Castaneda. Aside from the security bars on the windows (which were most likely there when Baldie was around, either that or no one dared to mess with him) it doesn’t look like a former drug den. The tight brickwork is similar to many other houses in the neighborhood, but this and a few of the neighboring houses don’t look as nice as some of the renovated houses on the street. The porch out front is where Baldie spent his days looking out over his empire. [8]

This is the former residence of Garnell “Baldie” Campbell. It’s located next door to the New Community Church as described in S Street Rising by Ruben Castaneda. Aside from the security bars on the windows (which were most likely there when Baldie was around, either that or no one dared to mess with him) it doesn’t look like a former drug den. The tight brickwork is similar to many other houses in the neighborhood, but this and a few of the neighboring houses don’t look as nice as some of the renovated houses on the street. The porch out front is where Baldie spent his days looking out over his empire. [Josh Iseler]

This is an example of how S Street has changed in the past few years. Two decades ago, walking a group of day care children down this street would have been unthinkable due to the amount of violence that took place there. Not only that, but they walked right past Baldies house and probably had no idea who once lived there. It was an amazing contrast to the condition of the neighborhood during the time of S Street Rising. [Josh Iseler]

This is an example of how S Street has changed in the past few years. Two decades ago, walking a group of day care children down this street would have been unthinkable due to the amount of violence that took place there. Not only that, but they walked right past Baldies house and probably had no idea who once lived there. It was an amazing contrast to the condition of the neighborhood during the time of S Street Rising. [Josh Iseler]

If Baldie were living in Shaw today, he would be astounded by the transformation of Shaw.  2006 was the last time his house was sold and it went for $380,000.  Today, it is valued at around $856,300 with a high estimate being $984,745 (Homesnap).  Baldie would see many of the local business and landmarks had been torn down and replaced.  The park where his daughters likely played after school has been turned into office space.  Many of his friends would have likely moved out knowing that they could make an enormous profit on their houses without having to resort to drug dealing.  Baldie would be aghast at the number of young white people venturing into his streets contrasted to those in his time who came there only to buy drugs (“Addiction Battled Reporter”).  He would find that all of the new places would be far more expensive than the African American businesses that stood there earlier.  He may find a few holdouts familiar, such as Greg’s Barber Shop.  If Baldie walked down 7th Street even nine years ago, he would see the familiar kids sitting on cars, boarded up windows, and old stores.  There is none of that on 7th Street today.  Instead he would observe trends he would never partake in.  The drug kingpin would be the last person in all of the District to participate in the fitness trends at Solidcore Shaw or the cuisine at the oyster bar Eat the Rich.  The cultural norms of his community have been swapped with something that must seem foreign.  He would enjoy some of the renovation projects that promoted black culture.  He would probably recognize the new Howard Theater as a scene out of his childhood, and gaze upon the ornate murals scattered throughout the neighborhood.  Baldie would find the recent safety a comforting addition, especially for his daughter’s sake.  This safety came at the price of his empire.  At the end of this stroll, Baldie would return home and the only thing he would truly recognize is the New Community Church that still stands proudly next to his small brick home.

This archive is information on the value of Baldie’s house from homesnap.com. It’s shocking to see the estimated value of the home to be $856,300 on S Street of all places. The value of the townhouse shows one how drastically the neighborhood has changed. This transformation can be seen in even greater detail when looking at the last sale price of $380,000 in 2006. The area has been renovated to incredible levels, and this rise of prices easily explains the gentrification of the area over the past few years. [Josh Iseler]

This archive is information on the value of Baldie’s house from homesnap.com. It’s shocking to see the estimated value of the home to be $856,300 on S Street of all places. The value of the townhouse shows one how drastically the neighborhood has changed. This transformation can be seen in even greater detail when looking at the last sale price of $380,000 in 2006. The area has been renovated to incredible levels, and this rise of prices easily explains the gentrification of the area over the past few years. [Josh Iseler]

The interior of Solidcore Shaw. No fitness center like this could have ever existed in Shaw twenty years ago. If Baldie were to pass by this today, he would most likely be insulted by the fitness they did there, while his friends were fit from just trying to survive. [10]

The interior of Solidcore Shaw. No fitness center like this could have ever existed in Shaw twenty years ago. If Baldie were to pass by this today, he would most likely be insulted by the fitness they did there, while his friends were fit from just trying to survive. [9]

This is a clipping from the classifieds section of the July 12, 1994 Washington Post. Here one can see the name Garnell Campbell, also known as Baldie. The date of its appearance coincides with the general timeframe in which he was arrested. Due to his arrest the city would have seized his house which is evident here. It’s also interesting to note the price it was being sold at ($394,000). Much like the previous record, there is a large jump in value in the late 2000s, the value only increasing by $76,000 between 1994 and 2006. This can put the rate of gentrification into perspective.

This is a clipping from the classifieds section of the July 12, 1994 Washington Post. Here one can see the name Garnell Campbell, also known as Baldie. The date of its appearance coincides with the general timeframe in which he was arrested. Due to his arrest the city would have seized his house which is evident here. It’s also interesting to note the price it was being sold at ($394,000). Much like the previous record, there is a large jump in value in the late 2000s, the value only increasing by $76,000 between 1994 and 2006. This can put the rate of gentrification into perspective.  [Josh Iseler]

Using the timeline feature on google maps, one can see just how much the neighborhood has changed in the last 10 years.  In 2009, the area next to the metro was a small park with plenty of open space and a few benches.  The massive United Negro College Fund building now stands where the park once occupied.  The removal of this park was sure to have an affect on the neighborhood, but the fact that such a fancy modern building rose up in an area that used to be so violent so few years ago is shocking.  Google maps also provides a view into the past just up the street.  The Howard Theater was a place of community and gathering for the those men in tuxedos and women in gowns.  In 2009 as well, the Howard Theater stood abandoned.  It’s windows were all sealed with brick.  It’s “Howard” sign had rusted out and the building along with the sidewalk was surrounded by a fence.  The property was filled with trash and clutter.  A revitalization project has gone underway however, and it is different from many of the others.  The renovation restored the Howard Theater to all its cultural glory.  The theater now stands with a beautiful white facade and bright pillars.  Its iconic sign has been restored and flags once again fly above the community center.  The sidewalk is clear of debris, and is now a brick footpath.

On top, a park that was formerly located in Shaw. It was one of the few open areas that provided nature for the residents. On the bottom is the newly built Teach for America and United Negro College Fund building. It's ironic that offices meant to help the community, most likely hurt them more by setting a precedent for gentrification with it's large glass building. [Google Images, Edited by Josh Iseler]

On top, a park that was formerly located in Shaw. It was one of the few open areas that provided nature for the residents. On the bottom is the newly built Teach for America and United Negro College Fund building. It’s ironic that offices meant to help the community, most likely hurt them more by setting a precedent for gentrification with it’s large glass building. [Google Images, Edited by Josh Iseler]

The image on the left is a picture of the Howard Theater in the early 20th Century. It's grandeur can be seen from the exterior with ornate flags and a statue decorating the structure. In the middle is the Howard Theater in 2009; it is in horrible disrepair, having been weathered over the years. On the right is what the Howard Theater looks like today, following recent renovation. It has been restored a symbol of culture and heritage for the people of Shaw. [8, other images from Google Maps, Edited by Josh Iseler]

The image on the left is a picture of the Howard Theater in the early 20th Century. It’s grandeur can be seen from the exterior with ornate flags and a statue decorating the structure. In the middle is the Howard Theater in 2009; it is in horrible disrepair, having been weathered over the years. On the right is what the Howard Theater looks like today, following recent renovation. It has been restored a symbol of culture and heritage for the people of Shaw. [8, other images from Google Maps, Edited by Josh Iseler]

Shaw has changed greatly since the days that Baldie ran the streets, and has changed even more since it’s pinnacle.  The block of buildings with S Street running along the bottom, bordered by T Street on top and squeezed in by 6th and 7th Street on the sides presents one of the most up and coming parts of DC.  As one steps out of the metro, they are greeted by the grand, glass building home to the United Negro College Fund and Teach for America.  Peering into their lobby, it is decorated with ornate tiles, minimalist coffee tables, and every shred of modern art at their disposal.  Along 7th Street NW, a series of new businesses have arisen and consist of every type of trendy establishment one could think of.  Solidcore Shaw is one of these, fitted with blue neon lights and the hottest new forms of workout equipment.  Snuggled between some of these enterprises is a luxury apartment complex.  It’s door has electronic locks and contains a large, abstract-style lobby with fancy looking elevators.  Further up the road, is Eat the Rich, a dimly lit, swanky oyster bar in the heart of a once impoverished neighborhood.  Next door lies the Calabash Teahouse & Cafe covered in ornate Indian-style furniture and paintings.  One interior, however, encapsulated much of the change Shaw has seen.

This is the interior of the Calabash Teahouse and Cafe. It is obvious that this looks out of place, when one knows the history of the neighborhood. Just observing the cultural roots of the business, it must have been brought in by the young whites moving into Shaw. [10]

This is the interior of the Calabash Teahouse and Cafe. It is obvious that this looks out of place, when one knows the history of the neighborhood. Just observing the cultural roots of the business, it must have been brought in by the young whites moving into Shaw. [10]

A map of one of the commercial districts of Shaw. Circled in red along the bottom is Baldie's house right beside the New Community Church. On the left is where many of the new businesses have popped up including the UNCF building. On the top is where Howard Theater and the Right Proper Brewing Company are located. And finally, on the right is where many of the new residential complexes are. [Google Maps, Edited by Josh Iseler]

A map of one of the commercial districts of Shaw. Circled in red along the bottom is Baldie’s house right beside the New Community Church. On the left is where many of the new businesses have popped up including the UNCF building. On the top is where Howard Theater and the Right Proper Brewing Company are located. And finally, on the right is where many of the new residential complexes are. [Google Maps, Edited by Josh Iseler]

Interior of Eat the Rich. This is an oyster bar in a former drug-fueled warzone. Let that sink in. There is also great irony in its name, as this establishment

Interior of Eat the Rich. This is an oyster bar in a former drug-fueled warzone. Let that sink in. There is also great irony in its name, as this establishment “denouncing” the rich has replaced many of the low income residents and businesses that one resided here. [11]

The Right Proper Brewing Company is located on the corner of T & Wiltberger, situated directly beside the Howard Theater.  The inside of the building is unique from some of the other businesses in the area because it has kept many pieces of the original interior.  The inside is dimly lit, with low hanging lights and a small candle at each table.  The tables and chairs are made crudely out of wood and metal; the smell of aging cheese from the cheese counter wafts through the air.  The sound of lively conversation fills the building.  A brief glimpse through the restaurant’s website gives a basic history of the building (Cheston).  The Brewing Company was constructed on the remnants of Frank Holiday’s Pool Room, a spot once remarkably prominent to the neighborhood’s African-American community.  This prominence has been confined to a colorful mural on the wall, all that remains of the former pool hall, stated in an almost condescending way online.  The building is adorned in bizarre artwork, the only violence left on S Street being captured in the depiction of a fox shooting lasers out of its eyes with two pandas fighting in the background.  The entire feel of the place seems like it is ignoring, if not mocking the history of the community much like the other businesses have popped up and destroyed the history and culture of the region.

This is the mural located on the wall of the Right Proper Brewing Company. It depicts an abstract commemoration of the African-American jazz culture. The mural is painted on to the only remaining wall of Frank Holiday’s Pool Room which came to inspire musical icon Duke Ellington. It is the only area of the restaurant devoted to this culture, the rest being reserved for bizarre landscape paintings. [Josh Iseler]

This is the mural located on the wall of the Right Proper Brewing Company. It depicts an abstract commemoration of the African-American jazz culture. The mural is painted on to the only remaining wall of Frank Holiday’s Pool Room which came to inspire musical icon Duke Ellington. It is the only area of the restaurant devoted to this culture, the rest being reserved for bizarre landscape paintings. [Josh Iseler]

These graphs show how Shaw has changed over the past twenty years. It portrays the decline of poverty in the neighborhood, as well as the massive growth in white residents. For a neighborhood that once was

These graphs show how Shaw has changed over the past twenty years. It portrays the decline of poverty in the neighborhood, as well as the massive growth in white residents. For a neighborhood that once was “Black Broadway,” it has been certainly surpassed. [12]

This image is of the “Cheese” menu at the Brewing Company. It offers a variety of high quality cheeses, none of which could be afforded by Shaw’s previous residents. On the reverse side is the menu which includes craft beers and items such as, “Autumn Time for Hipsters.” The restaurant isn’t priced high for DC, but it would be considered a luxury by many of the poorer earlier tenants. [Josh Iseler]

This image is of the “Cheese” menu at the Brewing Company. It offers a variety of high quality cheeses, none of which could be afforded by Shaw’s previous residents. On the reverse side is the menu which includes craft beers and items such as, “Autumn Time for Hipsters.” The restaurant isn’t priced high for DC, but it would be considered a luxury by many of the poorer earlier tenants. [Josh Iseler]

Shaw is a punching bag that has been worn out over the years.  It was sleek and new in the early 1900s, and took one punch after another.   In it’s heyday, Shaw was unique as unique could be.  It produced the finest artists and rivaled the likes of Harlem as the capital of black culture.  In 1968, it took a punch that knocked it off its chains, and went crashing to the ground.  Shaw was hung back up again but it would never be the same.  It hung loose and weak, each punch causing more damage than the previous one.  As crime wore the neighborhood down, there was nothing the residents could do but watch.  The seams and edges of the bag were defined across the years; it soon wore out and couldn’t take any more.  Now it’s being replaced with an assembly line bag that’s just a cookie cutter of so many others.  The story of Shaw is a tragedy in it’s truest definition.  Once on a pedestal of glory, it’s flaws that it couldn’t see were internal.  The class divide among the African American residents was overlooked until it came to a breaking point.  Unable to see or fix this issue allowed outside actors to invade and take control of its future.  From Baldie’s house to the last vestiges of a dying memory, the past, present, and future of Shaw haunt the neighborhood that is fading away into conformity.  An audience of former residents, victims of violence, and cultural icons are in attendance.  The Tragedy of Shaw, now playing at the Howard Theater.

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Works Cited/Annotated Bibliography

Meyer, Eugene L. “Washington’s Shaw Neighborhood Is Remade for Young Urbanites.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Dec. 2015.

Background – This source describes how the Shaw neighborhood has been redone for the new, young tenants moving to these areas.  Especially in the S street neighborhood, many glass-clad coffee shops and bars have popped up at former residences of black businesses.  These places all have similar interiors and can give us a small look into what has changed and what has remained the same.

Stacy, Christina Plerhoples et al. “Gentrification and Business Changes: A Lack of Data for Sound Policy.” Urban Institute, Urban Wire, 4 Aug. 2015.

Exhibit – This article provides graphs and statistical information regarding business changes in the Shaw/S street area.  It maps the influx of new business in the area since the early 1990s and what types of businesses arrived.  The total number of businesses has been on a steady rise.  The number of full service restaurants has actually fallen.  The most notable is the massive increase in limited service business, especially from 2003 to 2004.  This is most likely due to the rise of coffee shops, for young urban dwellers arriving in the area, replacing older businesses.

Cheston, Thor. “Our Story.” Right Proper Brewing Company, 2013.

Background – This webpage belongs to the Right Proper Brewing Company.  The page explains the history of the company and some of the features along with it.  It goes into detail about the history of the building which has proven useful when comparing it to the historical building.  It provides all of the information needed to get a full understanding of it’s changes.

Areavibes. “Shaw, Washington, DC Cost of Living.” Cost Of Living In Shaw, Washington, DC, Areavibes, 2015.

Exhibit – This website gives information on the cost of living and housing in Shaw.  It provided basic statistics used in the paper to contrast how the area used to be.  Along with this information, it lists interesting comparisons of basic amenities from milk and shampoo to transport and healthcare between DC and the rest of the United States.

“Addiction Battled Ambition For Reporter Caught In D.C.’s Crack Epidemic.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

Argument – This source was a brief interview given by Castaneda about his time on S Street.  It gives a description of the neighborhood and provides details on its atmosphere.  It also talks about how Baldie respected the neighboring church and how he would take care of it like a home.  It mentions how Baldie died in prison which could be an entry point for the discovery of a death certificate which may provide more information on how Baldie lived.  One may be able to follow a path from his death to his life on S Street.

Classified ad 3 — no title. (1994, Jul 12). The Washington Post (1974-Current File), 

Background – This record provided data on the seizure of Baldie’s home.  It lists Garnell Campbell as one of the individuals whose property had been confiscated by the city due to his arrest.  It lists the price of his residence at $304,000.  This can be seen as an exhibit of facts for an argument about changes in housing prices.

@Homesnap. “618 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.” Homesnap. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

Exhibit – This website provided information on the current value of Baldie’s house.  The house, located at 618 S Street, is worth close to a million dollars now, which is crazy to think about if you go back just a few years.  It isn’t just because the house was cleaned up, but because of the gentrification in the neighborhood which led to the rise of the area as the new, hip part of DC.

Schwartzman, Paul. “Amid Glittering Renewal, Violence Evokes a Neighborhood’s Bloody past.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

Argument – This source is interesting as it was written by the same author nine years after the following article.  They both share a similar concept, but in this article he describes the, “thicket of new gleaming towers, health clubs and hipster-happy cafes and restaurants” (Schwartzman 2015).  This article is written after the full gentrification and transformation of the neighborhood has been completed.  This is a fascinating glimpse into how any area can change so fast.

Schwartzman, Paul. “A Bittersweet Renaissance.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2006. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

Background/Exhibit – This article from the Washington Post provides an argument against the gentrification of the Shaw neighborhood and more specifically S Street.  Since the days when Baldie lived on S Street, the area has changed a lot.  Schwartzman documents the beginnings of this change in 2006 and discusses how the culture of the neighborhood was beginning to vanish.

“United States of America v. Garnell A. Campbell, Also Known As Baldie, Appellant, 72 F.3d 920 (D.C. Cir. 1995).” Justia Law. Justia, n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

Background – This citation provides background information on Baldie’s case.  The source gives a brief description of the trial including the presiding judges and the evidence that was displayed on trial.  Included in the evidence is a videotape from 1620 S Street NW, the house in which Baldie was arrested.  This address allows one to start to trace a map of the activities on S Street, including not only Baldie’s home, but his “workplace” as well.  The date of the trial and case identification could also prove useful, if in the future one needs to look up further information on either Baldie’s trial or use the information to provide a better description of the local, urban environment.  The title of the case also allows one to further research the court hearing from there and potentially gather more information on some of the locations mentioned on S Street.  This information can provide a deeper glimpse into the life of Baldie during his reign as kingpin of S Street.

Abrams, Amanda. “U Street Corridor: The Difference a Decade Makes.”UrbanTurf. N.p., 11 Sept. 2011. Web. 09 Oct. 2016.

Argument – This article discusses the storied history of the U Street neighborhood.  It provides a different viewpoint than many of the other sites, arguing that the revitalization project has been good for the neighborhood.  It talks about the steady arrival of new business that lifted the area out of crime and poverty in the late 1990s.

Franke-Ruta, Garance. “The Politics of the Urban Comeback: Gentrification and Culture in D.C.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 10 Aug. 2012. Web. 09 Oct. 2016.

Argument – This was an interesting article by The Atlantic about gentrification in Washington, DC.  The article focuses mainly on Uptown DC.  It discusses the history of the Shaw neighborhood and the revitalization efforts made by the city.  The article provides census data to show gentrification over the years.  It provides an interesting point of view from both sides, debating the benefits and problems caused by gentrification. This perspective argues that the blame of the gentrified communities should be placed not only on real estate developers and hipster businesses but middle class African Americans who fled the area following riots and the influx of drugs.

Lewis, Aidan. “Washington DC from Murder Capital to Boomtown.” BBC News, BBC, 6 Aug. 2014.

Method – This article by the BBC exhibits an outsider perspective to actions in the United States.  It links to videos with eyewitness accounts of the riots, crime, and reconstruction that took place in parts of Shaw and the other minority neighborhoods of DC. Unfortunately, I was unable to embed the videos into the site, but following the link provided offers a fascinating view of the city during its time as the drug capital.  These firsthand experiences all take a different view on the causes and actions that led to the evolution of the city.

Images:

[1] http://blog.inshaw.com/Shawbound.jpg

[2] http://teachingushistory.org/images/robert_gould_shaw.jpg

[3] http://i.gettysburgdaily.com/imgs/Boston54thMass080410/Boston54thMass080410_07.jpg

[4] http://i.imgur.com/Z1BfOxG.jpg

[5] https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/6b/24/ba/6b24ba6c37d288ef14440cf566a2d69a.jpg

[6] https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/47978701/DC_5.0.jpg

[7] http://wamu.org/sites/wamu.org/files/images/shaw.jpg

[8] http://www.ericnolangonzaba.net/type/images/howard.jpg

[9] http://dcfitcrasher.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/IMG_8872.jpg

[10] http://dcdiningguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Calabash-Tea-and-Tonic.jpg

[11] https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/a7/14/41/a71441184601f9c260cd6ea87209c9f7.jpg

[12] http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/624/media/images/76753000/jpg/_76753770_b1e360a4-1b64-454d-9f38-7e8ae28c373c.jpg

 

Rhythm of Torment: A Community in Decline

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Shaw has gone through many phases in its long life.  In “A Bittersweet Renaissance,” Paul Schwartzman describes a detailed history of the neighborhood surrounding S Street.  The area has had a troubled past, as described by eyewitnesses who have lived throughout this period.  It has been difficult to find much with a comprehensive history of Shaw, especially in this great of detail.  While other sources cited facts or gave broad overviews of the changes seen on S Street and the greater area, this Washington Post article went in-depth on the issues facing the residents.  The perspective and intricate detail given allows this digital source to far surpass the content of any other.

The African American Civil War Memorial is located in the Shaw neighborhood. It's placement is fitting because of Shaw's vibrant African American history. [1]

The African American Civil War Memorial is located in the Shaw neighborhood. It’s placement is fitting because of Shaw’s vibrant African American history. [1]

The history of the Shaw neighborhood began after the Civil War.  The article provides a firm foundation for an analysis of historical transformation.  The area was originally undeveloped; it wasn’t until streetcars began running up and down the streets that people began to move in.  By the 1920s, Shaw was predominantly black as whites left for segregated neighborhoods.  As the space developed, a vibrant black culture emerged.  Much like Harlem of the early 20th Century, Shaw saw the rise of famous artists and musicians, such as the world renowned Duke Ellington (Schwartzman).  The neighborhood was filled to the brim with black businesses alongside landmarks such as the Howard Theater, Frank Holiday’s Pool Hall, and Ben’s Chili Bowl.  All of these encouraged black youth to be something greater, and was an optimistic time to live in the community.  Then it all came crashing down.  On April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.  The progress and prosperity in Shaw came to a grinding halt as fire lit the night sky.  Riots erupted across the District of Columbia, but the most hard hit was Shaw.  As businesses were destroyed and infrastructure demolished, the neighborhood was gone.  The trumpets and pianos laid silent; the paint brushes unused.  Poverty rose while the civil rights movement marched on.  The following decades engulfed Shaw in a torrent of violence.  The introduction of crack and other drugs in the city earned it the title “Murder Capital of America”.  The African American community never recovered from the havoc wreaked by the 1968 riots (Franke-Ruta).  By the late 90s and early 2000s, the crime rate began to fall and white residents started to move in.  Before any of the former residents knew what was happening, Shaw fundamentally changed.  The streets were lined with expensive houses and restaurants, the latest fitness trends, and upscale coffee shops.  The spirited culture of Shaw’s black community had been lost.

howardcomparison

On the left is an image of the Howard Theater in 2009, and on the right is an image of the Howard Theater today. This comparison is an excellent portrayal of how much Shaw has changed in only a few years. Luckily, rather than turning the former cultural center into luxury housing, it was restored to its former glory. [2]

While Shaw had gone through its many cycles over the years, the African American residents stood by and watched.  The article provides personal stories of the street that go beyond what one can see today.  It portrays a man who purchased his townhouse for $60,000 and when it was sold, it went for seven times the original price (Schwartzman).  No previous resident could have payed for that kind of housing.  As new businesses entered, they took the spot of former black businesses: barber shops, restaurants, clubs.  The community was a defeated people who had lost their neighborhood to young whites.  Another encounter depicted is that of Moses Lofton who was considering whether or not to sell his house for an enormous profit.  He was told by a woman on the street to “keep it in the family” because soon all of it would be gone (Schwartzman).  Gentrification had reared its ugly head in Shaw.  The streets had become too expensive for many blacks to move into, and the high priced housing incentivized many blacks to sell for an easy million.  S Street and its surroundings have been riding on a wave, with highs and lows.  Except this time, the high has reached a whitecap.  

This is a scene from the 1968 riots. It puts into picture the devastation that was wrought upon Washington following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It is apparent by the damage done why recovery would be difficult for the Shaw community. [4]

This is a scene from the 1968 riots. It puts into picture the devastation that was wrought upon Washington following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. It is apparent by the damage done why recovery would be difficult for the Shaw community. [3]

Neuroscientist David Eagleman once said, “There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”  This quote holds true for the Shaw neighborhood.  Shaw breathed its last during the riots of 1968, and the crime wave laid it in its grave.  As more and more urban dwellers move-in, the history and culture of the black community is erased.  Old landmarks are torn down and replaced with trendy bars and shops.  The ghosts of the past haunt the streets; gone are the black men donned in tuxedos and the laughter of children playing on the sidewalks.  The only remnants are confined to photographs or plaques in buildings.  The murals of U Street station are eulogies to a long dead elegance (Abrams).   As of now there is a bleak outlook for the future of African Americans in Shaw.  Their population is dwindling, forcing them out of their former cultural hotbed.  Black businesses are being replaced with new, pricey locales.  Shaw, a neighborhood that grew out of the Civil War, was created from the dissolution of slavery and ended the when its children became truly free.  

The U Street station murals are one of a few lingering signs of Shaws former glory. Hidden away are signs of the rich culture which once inhabited the neighborhood, from statues on the street to paintings in alleyways. [4]

The U Street station murals are one of a few lingering signs of Shaws former glory. Hidden away are signs of the rich culture which once inhabited the neighborhood, from statues on the street to paintings in alleyways. [4]

Shaw is a punching bag that has been worn out over the years.  It was sleek and new in the early 1900s, but as it accumulated character and definition, it wore out.  Now it’s being replaced with a bag that’s just a cookie cutter of so many others.  The residents have been pushed out by changing times, a product of destruction wrought upon it at the peak of its heyday.  The lively street corners of old were filled with drugs, and then the smell of exotic, foreign coffee.  The remodeling of Shaw tore out its core identity and replaced it with an assembly line neighborhood.  As those who lived in Shaw during its prime pass on, their stories become more distant and distorted, and soon gone all together.  The community is only the latest victim, and the memory for many is bittersweet.

 

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Works Cited

Schwartzman, Paul. “A Bittersweet Renaissance.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2006. Web. 12 Oct. 2016, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/22/AR2006022202508.html

This article from the Washington Post provides an argument against the gentrification of the Shaw neighborhood and more specifically S Street.  Since the days when Baldie lived on S Street, the area has changed a lot.  Schwartzman documents the beginnings of this change in 2006 and discusses how the culture of the neighborhood was beginning to vanish.

Abrams, Amanda. “U Street Corridor: The Difference a Decade Makes.”UrbanTurf. N.p., 11 Sept. 2011. Web. 09 Oct. 2016,  http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/u_street_corridor_the_difference_a_decade_makes/4085

This article discusses the storied history of the U Street neighborhood.  It provides a different viewpoint than many of the other sites, arguing that the revitalization project has been good for the neighborhood.  It talks about the steady arrival of new business that lifted the area out of crime and poverty in the late 1990s.

Franke-Ruta, Garance. “The Politics of the Urban Comeback: Gentrification and Culture in D.C.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 10 Aug. 2012. Web. 09 Oct. 2016, http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/08/the-politics-of-the-urban-comeback-gentrification-and-culture-in-dc/260741/

This was an interesting article by The Atlantic about gentrification in Washington, DC.  The article focuses mainly on Uptown DC.  It discusses the history of the Shaw neighborhood and the revitalization efforts made by the city.  The article provides census data to show gentrification over the years.  It provides an interesting point of view from both sides, debating the benefits and problems caused by gentrification. This perspective places the blame of the gentrified communities not only on real estate developers and hipster businesses but middle class African Americans who fled the area following riots and the influx of drugs.

Images

[1] “Cultural Tourism DC” http://www.culturaltourismdc.org/portal/image/image_gallery?uuid=3a64b3c4-a70a-426b-a3cf-8d3be734d311&groupId=701982&t=1395331325401

[2] “Google Maps” Images edited and put together by Josh Iseler

[3] “Movoto” https://s3.amazonaws.com/citybuzz/2015/11/shaw-dc-up-and-coming-neighborhood-on-the-cusp-of-change/shaw-dc-up-and-coming-neighborhood-on-the-cusp-of-change-2.jpg

[4] “DC Music Download” http://dcmusicdownload.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/rhythm_1.jpg

Glass Fortresses: The Wavering Face of Shaw

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“Shaw Metro Stop”” [1]

No more are the brick rowhouses and the green parks.  S Street and the Shaw neighborhood have transformed greatly since the redevelopment began.  Walking around the area presents the pedestrian with glass building followed by glass building.  While the exteriors are vastly different from the older buildings, it’s the interiors that are truly unique.  When one thinks of the interior of an S Street building, it’s probably something along the lines of old shag carpet with a musty smell and worn furniture.  This is no longer the case for many, as they have been reconstructed from the ground up for a modern, more trendy audience.  Baldie’s house stands as a reminder of the past architecture, much like it stands as a reminder of the former murder capital of the nation.

This block is home to many of Shaw’s newest businesses and residences. Baldie’s house is circled in red, just to the left of the New Community Church.

The block of buildings with S Street running along the bottom, bordered by T Street on top and squeezed in by 6th and 7th Street on the sides presents one of the most up and coming parts of DC.  Sitting directly across from Baldie’s house and the New Community Church, it is an intriguing contrast to the history of the area.  Walking along the streets allows one to easily see the modern and lavish accommodations.  As one steps out of the metro, they are greeted by the grand, glass building home to the United Negro College Fund and Teach for America.  Peering into their lobby, it is decorated with ornate tiles, minimalist coffee tables, and every shred of modern art at their disposal.  Just up the road is a gym called Solidcore Shaw.  At first sight, this business is probably the greatest variation from the former Shaw.  It’s sizable windows allow one to see the blue neon lights and the hottest new forms of workout equipment.  Moving on, one will come across an establishment by the name of Eat the Rich.  This is a dimly lit, swanky oyster bar in the heart of a once impoverished neighborhood.  Next door lies the Calabash Teahouse & Cafe covered in ornate Indian-style furniture and paintings.  None of these enterprises would have been around during the earlier years of Shaw.

This is the interior of the Teach for America building consisting of abstract furniture and modern amenities. The walls are a mix of misshapen glass and chic wood paneling. The doors appear to be double locked and this building houses a small muffin shop along with it’s main purpose. The outward appearance adds to the contrast this interior has with the other parts of S Street.

“Right Proper Brewing Company” [2]

The one business I was able to spend an extended amount of time in was the Right Proper Brewing Company located on the corner of T & Wiltberger, situated directly beside the Howard Theater.  The interior of the building is unique from some of the other businesses in the area because it has kept many pieces of the original interior.  The inside is dimly lit, with low hanging lights and a small candle at each table.  The tables and chairs are made crudely out of wood and metal; the smell of aging cheese from the cheese counter wafts through the air.  The sound of lively conversation fills the building.  A brief glimpse through the restaurant’s website gives a basic history of the building.  The Brewing Company was constructed on the remnants of Frank Holiday’s Pool Room, a spot once remarkably prominent to the neighborhood’s African-American community.  This prominence has been confined to a colorful mural on the wall, all that remains of the former pool hall, stated in an almost condescending way online.  The building is adorned in bizarre artwork, the only violence left on S Street being captured in the depiction of a fox shooting lasers out of its eyes with two pandas fighting in the background.  The entire feel of the place seems like it is ignoring, if not mocking the history of the community much like the other businesses have popped up and destroyed the history and culture of the region.  

This image is of the “Cheese” menu at the Brewing Company. It offers a variety of high quality cheeses, none of which could be afforded by Shaw’s previous residents. On the reverse side is the menu which includes craft beers and items such as, “Autumn Time for Hipsters.” The restaurant isn’t priced high for DC, but it would be considered a luxury by many of the poorer earlier tenants.

This is the mural located on the wall of the Right Proper Brewing Company. It depicts an abstract commemoration of the African-American jazz culture. The mural is painted on to the only remaining wall of Frank Holiday’s Pool Room which came to inspire musical icon Duke Ellington. It is the only area of the restaurant devoted to this culture, the rest being reserved for bizarre landscape paintings.

“Duke Ellington” [3]

Unfortunately, I was unable to gain access to the interior of Baldie’s home, but there some assumptions we can pull from the exterior and the area in general.  The presence of crime bars on the windows means that the current resident is still worried about the possibility of crime on S Street.  This might signify that the inhabitant was around during the troubled past of the block.  Many of the weeds and moss on the porch is unkempt, which could indicate the interior is not well taken care of either.  The shutters are do appear fairly modern and add a touch of friendliness to the building.  Taking this into account, coupled with the price of the unit and the recent renovations of many neighboring buildings, we can deduce that the inside has most likely been redone to some extent.  The home of the former drug dealer has most definitely changed from the days when Baldie was alive.

This is the lobby of an apartment complex located near the Teach for America building. The door has an electronic lock and a hall that leads to an ornate interior. The furniture can be described as abstract with a wide palette of colors. It is akin to a luxury hotel, which would’ve been unimaginable in the earlier days of the neighborhood.

This is the atmosphere of the restaurant. It is built with exposed brick columns and ventilation. The water is served in purposely eroded bottles for an aesthetic feel. The tables are lit with these small candles. The tables and chairs are reminiscent of an old time pub with hard, metal legs and carefully carved wood.

Shaw has changed.  The once vibrant neighborhood was ravaged by the 1968 riots which left the community susceptible to takeover.  As the world changed around them, the residents were pushed out by massive increases in rent price and the high cost of living.  In fact the cost of housing in Shaw is 161% higher than the national average with the cost of living being 51% higher.  The massive changes the area has seen over the past two decades is shocking.   With the people gone, the legacy of a proud community has been relinquished to the walls of the buildings where they once stood.


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Annotated Bibliography

Meyer, Eugene L. “Washington’s Shaw Neighborhood Is Remade for Young Urbanites.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Dec. 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/02/realestate/commercial/development-redefines-character-of-washingtons-shaw-area.html?_r=0.

This source describes how the Shaw neighborhood has been redone for the new, young tenants moving to these areas.  Especially in the S street neighborhood, many glass-clad coffee shops and bars have popped up at former residences of black businesses.  These places all have similar interiors and can give us a small look into what has changed and what has remained the same.

Stacy, Christina Plerhoples et al. “Gentrification and Business Changes: A Lack of Data for Sound Policy.” Urban Institute, Urban Wire, 4 Aug. 2015, http://www.urban.org/urban-wire/gentrification-and-business-changes-lack-data-sound-policy.

This article provides graphs and statistical information regarding business changes in the Shaw/S street area.  It maps the influx of new business in the area since the early 1990s and what types of businesses arrived.  The total number of businesses has been on a steady rise.  The number of full service restaurants has actually fallen.  The most notable is the massive increase in limited service business, especially from 2003 to 2004.  This is most likely due to the rise of coffee shops, for young urban dwellers arriving in the area, replacing older businesses.

Cheston, Thor. “Our Story.” Right Proper Brewing Company, 2013, www.rightproperbrewing.com/about-us/.

This webpage belongs to the Right Proper Brewing Company.  The page explains the history of the company and some of the features along with it.  It goes into detail about the history of the building which has proven useful when comparing it to the historical building.  It provides all of the information needed to get a full understanding of it’s changes.

Areavibes. “Shaw, Washington, DC Cost of Living.” Cost Of Living In Shaw, Washington, DC, Areavibes, 2015, www.areavibes.com/washington-dc/shaw/cost-of-living/.

This website gives information on the cost of living and housing in Shaw.  It provided basic statistics used in the paper to contrast how the area used to be.  Along with this information, it lists interesting comparisons of basic amenities from milk and shampoo to transport and healthcare between DC and the rest of the United States.

Images:

  1. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/c1/c1/6e/c1c16eadc85d3e7e33fc57e7427411f7.jpg
  2. http://www.popville.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/right_proper_outdoor_seating.jpg
  3. https://www.allaboutjazz.com/media/large/5/9/f/df75022095f39962a54c73d1fd62f.jpg

Urban Combat: A Bloody History and the Changing Future of S Street

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“1968 Riots” [1]

The cozy brick townhouses encapsulate the street.  Freshly planted trees and small patches of grass line the narrow sidewalks.  The air smells clean, as clean as an urban environment can smell at least.  People walking up and down with smiles on their faces as they continue on with their day.  Little do many of these people know that their friendly little neighborhood was a warzone little over a decade ago.  And even fewer know about the headquarters at the center of it all as they stroll past it.

“S Street Bust” [2]

The house of the deceased Garnell A. Campbell stands nestled between the New Community Church and the row of brick buildings that run up and down S Street.  It isn’t the nicest place on the block by far, but it doesn’t appear to be a terrible place to live.  After all it is a cozy 126-year old townhouse in an up and coming area.  However, I’m sure any potential buyer of 618 S Street NW would be turned off by the activities that occurred there.  That address was the residence of the aforementioned Garnell A. Campbell, but was better known by his street name: “Baldie”.  The quaint porch out front is where Baldie sat on an almost daily basis and looked out over “his” street.  The fact that a chair still sits there gives the house an eerie feeling, as if Baldie’s presence is still there.  The area is far different from how Baldie left it when he was dragged out in handcuffs in the early nineties.  

img_0969

This is the former residence of Garnell “Baldie” Campbell. It’s located next door to the New Community Church as described in S Street Rising by Ruben Castaneda. Aside from the security bars on the windows (which were most likely there when Baldie was around, either that or no one dared to mess with him) it doesn’t look like a former drug den. The tight brickwork is similar to many other houses in the neighborhood, but this and a few of the neighboring houses don’t look as nice as some of the renovated houses on the street. The porch out front is where Baldie spent his days looking out over his empire.

The sounds of gunfire have since left S Street.  Replacing them are the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and to most people this is viewed as good thing.  However, there are deeper issues rooted in the “beautification” of the area.  Much of the area close to 14th Street, specifically the Shaw neighborhood of which S Street was a part of, was once a vibrant, black community.  This block of streets was the cultural capital of the African-American community; some claiming it could give even Harlem a run for its money.  That was until the DC riots of 1968 in the wake of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination.  Washington was on the fire and the black community suffered the most, leading to many neighborhoods never recovering.  S Street was one of those neighborhoods, and over the years violence, crime, and drugs crawled in.  By the late 1980s and early 1990s, the street really did look like a warzone.  Following the war on drugs, much of the area was thoroughly combed through.  This affected primarily the black community in the neighborhood.

 

untitled

This archive is information on the value of Baldie’s house from homesnap.com. It’s shocking to see the estimated value of the home to be $856,300 on S Street of all places. The value of the townhouse shows one how drastically the neighborhood has changed. This transformation can be seen in even greater detail when looking at the last sale price of $380,000 in 2006. The area has been renovated to incredible levels, and this rise of prices easily explains the gentrification of the area over the past few years.

baldieclipping

This is a clipping from the classifieds section of the July 12, 1994 Washington Post. Here one can see the name Garnell Campbell, also known as Baldie. The date of its appearance coincides with the general timeframe in which he was arrested. Due to his arrest the city would have seized his house which is evident here. It’s also interesting to note the price it was being sold at ($394,000). Much like the previous record, there is a large jump in value in the late 2000s, the value only increasing by $76,000 between 1994 and 2006. This can put the rate of gentrification into perspective.

It’s amazing to see the contrast of the impoverished, predominately black area and the upscale, far whiter neighborhood of today.  Safety has increased, which was proven in what I saw when I visited.  As I stood outside the home of Baldie a day care group in strollers went down the street.  I was amazed to think this was the same street that twenty years ago had been one of the most dangerous places in America.  To further add to that irony was that the children were passing by the house of one of the most infamous drug lords of the city.  Just up the street from Baldie’s house lies the Shaw-Howard metro stop.  Using the timeline feature on google maps, one can see just how much the neighborhood has changed in the last 10 years.  In 2009, the area next to the metro was a small park with plenty of open space and a few benches.  By 2011, it was a construction zone and by 2014, a massive, glass building had taken its place.  The removal of this park was sure to have an affect on the neighborhood, but the fact that such a fancy modern building rose up in an area that used to be so violent so few years ago is shocking.  

img_0967

This is an example of how S Street has changed in the past few years. Two decades ago, walking a group of day care children down this street would have been unthinkable due to the amount of violence that took place there. Not only that, but they walked right past Baldies house and probably had no idea who once lived there. It was an amazing contrast to the condition of the neighborhood during the time of S Street Rising.

img_0959

This large, glass building stands next to the Shaw-Howard metro stop. A building such as this would have been unthinkable to construct on S Street in the past. The construction replaced a park in the area in the early 2010s. Inside houses the United Negro College Fund and Teach for America. It’s ironic that a building for helping black youth probably gentrified an area to be built. This is yet another stark contrast to the S Street of before.

Baldie’s house was the epicenter for drug activity on S Street, but now it doesn’t look the part.  Currently, it fits in nice and snug with the rest of the newly developed street in stark contrast to what it used to be.  The neighborhood has changed, but the history that still rests there is a reminder of a gruesome past.  The outwards appearance of a place can tell a lot about it, but sometimes it requires a little digging to discover it’s true past.


 

Annotated Bibliography

“Addiction Battled Ambition For Reporter Caught In D.C.’s Crack Epidemic.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

This source was a brief interview given by Castaneda about his time on S Street.  It gives a description of the neighborhood and provides details on its atmosphere.  It also talks about how Baldie respected the neighboring church and how he would take care of it like a home.  It mentions how Baldie died in prison which could be an entry point for the discovery of a death certificate which may provide more information on how Baldie lived.  One may be able to follow a path from his death to his life on S Street.

 

Classified ad 3 — no title. (1994, Jul 12). The Washington Post (1974-Current File)

This record provided data on the seizure of Baldie’s home.  It lists Garnell Campbell as one of the individuals whose property had been confiscated by the city due to his arrest.  It lists the price of his residence at $304,000.  This can be seen as an exhibit of facts for an argument about changes in housing prices.

 

@Homesnap. “618 S Street NW, Washington, DC 20001.” Homesnap. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

This website provided information on the current value of Baldie’s house.  The house, located at 618 S Street, is worth close to a million dollars now, which is crazy to think about if you go back just a few years.  It isn’t just because the house was cleaned up, but because of the gentrification in the neighborhood which led to the rise of the area as the new, hip part of DC.

 

Schwartzman, Paul. “Amid Glittering Renewal, Violence Evokes a Neighborhood’s Bloody past.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2015. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

This source is interesting as it was written by the same author nine years after the previous article.  They both share a similar concept, but in this article he describes the, “thicket of new gleaming towers, health clubs and hipster-happy cafes and restaurants” (Schwartzman 2015).  This article is written after the full gentrification and transformation of the neighborhood has been completed.  This is a fascinating glimpse into how any area can change so fast.

 

Schwartzman, Paul. “A Bittersweet Renaissance.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 23 Feb. 2006. Web. 12 Oct. 2016.

This article from the Washington Post provides an argument against the gentrification of the Shaw neighborhood and more specifically S Street.  Since the days when Baldie lived on S Street, the area has changed a lot.  Schwartzman documents the beginnings of this change in 2006 and discusses how the culture of the neighborhood was beginning to vanish.

 

“United States of America v. Garnell A. Campbell, Also Known As Baldie, Appellant, 72 F.3d 920 (D.C. Cir. 1995).” Justia Law. Justia, n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2016.

This citation provides background information on Baldie’s case.  The source gives a brief description of the trial including the presiding judges and the evidence that was displayed on trial.  Included in the evidence is a videotape from 1620 S Street NW, the house in which Baldie was arrested.  This address allows one to start to trace a map of the activities on S Street, including not only Baldie’s home, but his “workplace” as well.  The date of the trial and case identification could also prove useful, if in the future one needs to look up further information on either Baldie’s trial or use the information to provide a better description of the local, urban environment.  The title of the case also allows one to further research the court hearing from there and potentially gather more information on some of the locations mentioned on S Street.  This information can provide a deeper glimpse into the life of Baldie during his reign as kingpin of S Street.

Images:

[1] http://i.huffpost.com/gen/2774284/original.jpg

[2] http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2014/07/02/raid_wide-375d2ae8524c4e63fdd1822695bb1f1f96cb4b30-s900-c85.jpg