Williams, Paul. Images of America Dupont Circle. Arcadia Publishing, South Carolina, 2000
In the book Images of America:Dupont Circle by Paul K. Williams, the author uses pictures and limited words to explain the transformation of Dupont circle since its beginnings in the 1870s. He identifies, stating that it intersects the Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire Avenues. Williams proclaims that the urban center began as an area filled with large estates and high class citizens, known for housing influential, political, and wealthy people, and transformed to “Washington’s urban social center” with a plethora of social and cultural diversity. By the 1970s, Dupont was known as “the shopping district,” and many estates were replaced by office buildings.The book has 128 pages, however, it only has seven pages of text because the rest are black and white photos which demonstrate the architecture of Dupont Circle and how it was utilized.
I will use this source as background information and to exhibit my claims about the environment. This book answers my question of why all the buildings, including the Dupont Circle Club, look like they were previously homes. The book includes pictures of these homes when they were apartments, row homes, and luxurious homes. I will use this source to answer my own question of why there were so many shops around the Dupont Circle Club and how an alcoholic anonymous group is able to fit into this shopping environment. Lastlty it explains why I saw such diversity in Dupont Circle; there were homeless people right outside of the high class and expensive stores and businesses. The book explains that this was always a place of diversity, even when there were very wealthy politicians and business people living in the area. The pictures in the book are resourceful because they show the difference between that time periods.
2. Background/ Argument
“Dupont Circle Club.” Dupont Circle Club
The history section of the Dupont Circle Club webpage explains how the club came to its location and what the club does. The club was first established in 1989 and located in the “Flat Rat Valley”, right behind their current location at 1632 Connecticut Ave. However, the landowner of the current location eventually offered DCC the location and they used this place to build a home for the club. The club was established after a group of recoverers decided that D.C needed a reliable place to hold meetings, so they chose Dupont. The website explains that they host about 85 meetings a week for people from all over to come to and follow their 12 steps program of becoming clean.
I plan to use this source as background information to describe the club from the club’s point of view; this source will help to explain why the club exists. The website states that it is a diverse club which attracts over 100 people a week and many out of town visitors which will help support my claim that the club is popular and known by people in different states. It also acts as supporting information to what I observed in the space, which was an ethnically diverse group of people in an environment that seems suited for a higher class. I will use this source to justify my argument that this building at 1623 Connecticut Avenue was previously inhabited by a family or a different business because it has a clear setup of an apartment building with a one floor layout and walls that look like they have been repainted multiple times. The source also explains why the club is in that specific place. The building is small and difficult to find, so I inquired that the city wanted to hide this group of alcoholics that lives in between two shopping attractions; however, the site explains that the club meets in this building because the landowner offered the club a new location.
3. Exhibit/ Background:
“Deaths” Washington Evening Star. 9, Mar. 1926.
“Funeral Directors.” Washington Evening Star, 18 June. 1927
***note: link to source in dates of newspaper articles
Two newspaper articles from Washington Evening Star both include a funeral section. Both articles are very short reliable sources from an established newspaper company. The first newspaper article is from March 9th,1926, while the second article is from June 18, 1927. The article from 1926, includes an obituary about a man named Robinson who died on March 7th, 1926. In the obituary section, it says, “remains resting at 1623 Connecticut Ave”, which is the same place the Dupont Circle Club lies today. This sentence leads to questions about whether the person was buried under their house and why the body was specifically there. The question is answered by the article from 1927 that infers that the 1623 Connecticut Ave location was inhabited by a funeral home. Written under the “funeral directors” section of the newspaper, it says, “ Almus R. Speare, succeeding the original W.R Speare Co. 1623 Connecticut Ave.” This section of the newspaper infers that the funeral home is now being ran by a new director.
I plan to use this information to exhibit the evolution of the building that currently holds the Dupont Circle Club. My original assumption was that the building that houses the club was originally an apartment building due to its structure; however, I can now conclude that the place was a funeral home. I can also use these articles as background information that tells the history of the interior environment and perhaps interpret the layout of the space from a new perspective. Lastly I can use the information as an argument that Dupont was an accepting and diverse place, for this one location houses two organizations that very clearly stand out: an alcoholics anonymous club and a funeral home.
4. Exhibit/ Background
“French Poodle.” Washington Evening Star, 20 Mar. 1964
A newspaper advertisement titled “French Poodle” targets an elite class of people as it advertises a mink clothing store, French Poodle. The advertisement asserts that one can rent mink furs for as low as $88 at the French Poodle store located at 1623 Connecticut Ave. The primary source is reliable and factual because it is a true advertisement to the high class citizens who lived and shopped in Dupont in 1964.
I plan to use this article to exhibit the history at the 1623 Connecticut Ave location and support the claim that Dupont was, and still is, a high class area. The most telling part of the first source is the syntax it uses. In describing the minks, the ad says, “they are the minks which we rent to exquisitely dressed woman.” This sentence establishes a targeted audience which the store wishes to sell their minks to, and it communicates that they only sell high class minks to equally high class people. However, the minks are gently used. In order to maintain their reputation of selling expensive, high class clothing, they write in the ad, “actually they get very little wear, but we must classify them as ‘second hand use.’” This reputation of a rich area is very interesting because Dupont is such a diverse and urban area. I will also use it to contrast the these ritzy places with Dupont’s high homeless population.
Armstrong, Jenice. “Dupont Circle Wants Relief From Beggars.” The Washington Post (1974-Current File), 14 June 1990, p. DC1. ProQuest.
Jenice Armstrong’s article, “Dupont Circle Wants Relief from Beggars,” asserts that Dupont residents are tired of the homeless and therefore are pushing for the removal of street dwellers. Residents of Dupont call the homeless “panhandlers” and have little regards for the beggar’s feelings. They claim that the panhandlers make residents and visitors feel uncomfortable and threatened. The source explains how citizens hold meetings to encourage others to fight back by not giving the beggars money in the hopes that beggars will leave. Citizens have brought in the police, and are unhappy that the police can not remove the homeless. In the closing paragraphs, a member of the Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals suggests handing panhandlers cards that tell them places to receive help. Aside from the actual syntax, this source seems very reliable because it is a primary source from the actual time of the complaints. It also comes from a popular newspaper which seemed to interview many people of their opinions.
I will use this source as an argument about the amount of homeless people in Dupont Circle. As I observed the area surrounding the Dupont Circle Club and even inside the club, I saw a substantial amount of homeless people. I wondered why there were so many in a place that advertises itself as a ritzy area. This article shows that homeless people have always been present in the area. I will use this to make a statement about the area, but also about the residents of Dupont. It is clear that the residents do not want the panhandlers around because residents think the homeless do not belong; however, the homeless may believe that the streets of Dupont are their home. I will use this article in conjunction with Irina Nersessova’s “Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photographs of A Forgotten New York” which considers the struggles of the homeless people.
Nersessova, Irina. “Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York.” disClosure: A Journal of Social Theory, vol. 23, 2014.
In “Tapestry Of Space: Domestic Architecture And Underground Communities In Margaret Morton’s Photography Of A Forgotten New York,” by Irina Nersessova, the writer argues that the homeless are not actually without a home because she a structure does not make a place a home, rather the people, culture, and environment makes the area feel like a home. Therefore, the sidewalks and streets act as the panhandlers’ homes. Nersessova’s essay is a summary of Margaret Morton’s observation of the homeless; therefore she asserts her opinion in conjunction with Morton’s obseravtions. Nersessova proclaims that people judge the homeless for their appearance and their lack of success in life, so some homeless decide to live in secluded places where they feel safe such as tunnels. The source itself is reliable, as it describes a study that is accompanied by a variety of pictures which exhibits Morton’s findings.
I plan to use this source to make an argument that refutes the claims of the citizens of Dupont Circle who begged for the homeless to disappear. The people from the other source align with the people Morton talk about who judge the homeless and make the homeless feel uncomfortable. I will also use this source to argue that the panhandlers are not actually homeless, because their homes are the streets. Rather, they are a part of Dupont’s community because they have been present in the area for a long time.
7. Method/ Exhibit
King, Jimmy. “Let’s Look Our Neighbors in the Eye and Help.” The Washington Post, 17 Nov. 2016.
Jimmy King, a writer from the Washington Post asserts in his article, “Let’s Look Our Neighbors in the Eye and Help,” that political leaders need to set an example for U.S cities by eliminating the homeless problem in D.C.. He argues that homelessness is a big problem in D.C because as of May 2015, 11,623 people in the area were homeless, which is a 14 percent growth in just one year. He believes that the nation’s leaders need to fix the problem because they have the political power to influence other states. Also, he wants the nation’s government to address the problem because there is a high homeless population right outside the White House. King bases his judgment off of his observations, for he explains how he saw a homeless man sitting outside of the restaurant where he bought a $12 salad.
In my essay, I will use this article as a way to approach the homelessness problem in Dupont Circle. I too agree that the government and city officials can help the homeless. His example of the homeless man will also contribute to my argument that a place of high economic wealth abandons its people who are in desperate need of money and a home. The example shows that this is not just a problem in Dupont, rather it is happening all around D.C.. Concurrently, his argument implies that homelessness is a big problem in many U.S. cities; therefore, I can use his argument in my concluding paragraph where I assert why my argument matters.
Moyer, Justin. “‘I Have Never Seen so Many Rats’: Yelp Takes on the Totally Fake ‘Dupont Circle Rat Sanctuary.’” Washington Post. 2016
Justin Moyer jokingly reports the rat problem in Dupont Circle in his article, “‘I Have Never Seen So Many Rats’: Yelp Takes on the Totally Fake ‘Dupont Circle Rat Sanctuary.” According to the article, people on Yelp have created a fake rat sanctuary where they discuss the rat issue and pose as rats in the city. A person who pretends to be a rat writes, “A bit of a human infestation, but I have been assured the park service is handling it.” Concurrently, Moyer displays the opposite opinion of people who respond to the rat problem with rage, and proclaim that the park services need to address the problem immediately. After presenting the opinions of the Dupont people, Moyer explains that the park service plans to fix the problem and will do that by budgeting $55,000 to this crisis and make reporting rats easier.
I plan to use this article to exhibit the rat problem in Dupont Circle. I will assert that this infestation contradicts the high standards and wealthy reputation which Dupont posses. I plan to question how a place with a lot of money has not already handled the problem, for a mockery rat sanction implies that rats have been infesting Dupont Circle for a while. I will use this example in conjunction with the fact that the Dupont Circle Club was once hosted in an alley which was referred to as Flat Rat Alley, prior to the year 2000. Hence, this rat epidemic is not new.
Sklanksky, Jeff. “Spikes on Dupont Circle Welcome Mat: Apartment Building Discourages Homeless at Doorstep.” The Washington Post (1974-Current File), 27 Aug. 1988, p. B3. ProQuest,
In Jeff Slansky’s article, “Spikes on Dupont Circle Welcome Mat: Apartment Building Discourages Homeless at Doorstep,” he claims that the mats outside the Westpark apartment buildings posses “wrought- iron” spikes that encourage city dwellers to not sit outside the building. The article consists of inputs from the resident manager, Rubby Scruggs, who explains that she ordered these so called “bumper guards” in order to discourage people from sitting outside the apartment building, leaving their trash, and disturbing the residents. Sklansky indirectly asserts his position on the use of mats with irons by ending the article with a statement from long time locals whom exclaim that the Westpark’s actions are an unfair act of harassment to the homeless.
I will use this article as an example of how the homeless are mistreated. Instead of helping the homeless, people give the homeless one less spot to call home. I will use this source with another article which discusses homelessness in Dupont and explains how citizens try to eliminate panhandlers by not donating their funds. This article displays the same situation because the removal of the homeless through the spiked mats, results in less instances of the homeless begging for money.
Zillow displays a list of houses for sale in Dupont Circle with accompanying pictures that show the interior of the house. Each house description includes how many bathrooms and rooms each house possesses. The prices of these homes are very high with prices ranging between hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. Although the website has no official writing with an argument, the site still creates a rhetorical situation which communicates that it is very expensive to live in Dupont. Even the cheap houses only are settled at that price because they previously faced foreclosure, or they only have one bedroom and one studio room.
I plan to use Zillow to make an argument about the high prices in Dupont Circle and put the house prices in relation to the Dupont city officials who demand high prices for every commodity in D.C.. I plan to assert that Dupont is very money driven and their high prices grant their wealthy reputation. I will also use the house prices to question how a neighborhood with people who can afford these house prices constantly neglects the homeless and rat problems in Dupont.