Thursday, January 10, 2008


5th and E Streets NE, not too far from Gallaudet University

Many of the homes in Washington, D.C., are more than 150 years old, with the oldest homes in Georgetown and on Capitol Hill dating back to the late 1700s. In the latest round of changes and rebirths in this city, neighborhoods that were rundown and neglected or that have been reputable only as wastelands of misery and drug wars have been experiencing a new lease on life. The term is "gentrification." It's a controversial movement; older, long-established, mostly African-American families selling homes their families have lived in for four, five, even six generations and moving to the suburbs, while mostly white, young, professionals move in.

This row of houses appears to have been purchased by someone who bought them as an investment, more than likely gutted and remodeled each unit, then "flipped" them to new owners for twice what they likely paid. This little pocket of beauty is at 5th and E Streets NE. I passed it the other day on my way to meet a friend for lunch. I had to take a picture because it embodies so much of the gentrification and beautification that has been going on in D.C. for the last 10 years or so.

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential, 1/08


Lisa Sarsfield said...

This is a beautiful example of practical architecture. I love the turret! I like the way you took it at an angle to show both faces of the building and how other things in the photo give a sense of scale.
It does look very flash at the moment and it interesting to here that these places have had such a colourful history. I think all countries have 'bad neighbourhoods' plagued by poverty, drugs and crime but I don't think I have heard of a place being turned around like this. I hope also that the people found new beginnings and hope.

Lara said...

I really like the shadows on the building. they add an interesting pattern.

D.C. Confidential said...

Lisa: Most of D.C. architecture is either very classical or very practical. There's very little modern/contemporary architecture in residential living. The exceptions are commercial buildings and the overabundance of new condo and apartment high rises that have gone up. I'll have to take pictures of those one day.

Oooooh. I think I'll make that my plain/peanut subject.

Lara: I hadn't really paid attention to the shadows, but they do add a nice pattern, don't they?