On Monday, more than a hundred people gathered in front of 2010 14th Street SE to cut the ceremonial ribbon on a new day in old Anacostia. This isn’t the only one; renovation is coming to a half-dozen historic yet decaying homes in the immediate blocks.
The L’Enfant Trust, a preservation organization, is rehabilitating 2010 14th Street, SE. The work from it and other property owners herald a larger regeneration reverberating throughout the neighborhood.
"There are 3 types of people,” said local activist William Alston-El, who first introduced me to the back story of 2010 14th Street SE years ago. “Those who make things happen; those that watch things happen, and those that wonder what happened. Anyone with their eyes half-open can see things are happening in Anacostia. It’s time for us to start working to make things happen. The time for wondering and watching has passed.”
While 2010 14th Street SE is expected to go on the market in August, The L’Enfant Trust is continuing its work on 1347 Maple View Place SE. As a crew worked on the exterior of 1347, across the street private investors had teams hard at work on 1344 and 1348 Maple View Place SE, which sold last month for $400,000, according to property records.
At 2126 15th Street SE, adjacent to the entrance of the parking lot of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, a local development and contracting team was active inside and outside of the house.
Built in 1892 at the junction of Jefferson and Adams Street, the home’s foundation rests on compact clay. The young owners of the home, who have formed an architecture firm, expect to move in later this fall.
From the 2nd floor of the recently interior renovated 1352 U Street SE, formerly Jackson Street, one enjoys a panoramic view of the historic corner of 14th and U Streets SE. To the left is the old Masonic Lodge built in the early 1890s; in the middle is an open-air market space that predates the Civil War; and to the right is the old Anacostia Methodist Episcopal Church built in 1892.
A local construction crew has cleared out the over-grown back yard and transformed the home’s interior. The home next door is vacant and the backyard is a “jungle,” said the lead contractor on site.
A presence in the neighborhood since 1967, Alston-EL said after watching the ribbon cutting at 2010 14th Street SE and visiting a number of homes with active construction crews, “It’s been a ‘new day’ in Anacostia for as long as I’ve been here.” After a pause and consideration, “But they might just be right this time.”