DUPONT CIRCLE: Jefferson Place Facades
I'M NOT SURE what's been happening the past few months, but I've been getting awfully attached to old buildings that I have various connections to. You're all well aware of the (temporarily) successful fight to save the Heurich House (and my great-great grandfather's woodcarvings). I've discussed issues related to facadism using the Eye Street NW townhouse my grandfather grew up in as an example. I probably bored you with storytelling related to the historic Collegiate Gothic structure in Ann Arbor that houses my old college paper, The Michigan Daily, which is about to be renovated.
And now, this weekend, I decided to pay a visit to a rowhouse I used to work in on Jefferson Place NW, a structure that's now in the process of having its innards scooped out for the Jefferson Row condos. It's not that 1830 Jefferson Place was a particularly historic building. But walking by and taking a peek inside, it's sort of sad to see that the place -- all four floors of it -- has been entirely demolished. The narrow staircase no longer exists. A ladder for construction workers to navigate the structural bracing is all that's there. But according to Jefferson Row's condo marketing materials, it says:
Each exquisitely detailed condominium features the authentic, carefully crafted touches so rarely seen in today’s homes. And all of the historic details are complemented by superior modern conveniences and state-of-the-art extras.I guess the "historic details" are on the exterior. But then another area of the promo sites says the condos blend "the allure of historic charm ..." with modern living. So at least there is some honesty in the marketing of the buildings' historic nature.
The reality at the current time is that you can see clear straight through the back into the alleyway -- an alleyway I might add that has always been particularly dirty, home to many rats and rat skeletons, plus fragrant garbage juices that flowed down the narrow passage between the back of Jefferson Place and the strip of M Street NW businesses between 18th and 19th streets, including Ozio, Sign of the Whale and those two strip clubs. They'll make great neighbors for the new condo owners. Try pulling your car out of the back parking area. It's a pain. Getting out of the alleyway when delivery trucks block the exit on both ends is pretty troublesome too. And 19th Street's traffic flow is just great, espeically during rush hour, or when Rumors is part of a sponsored Golden Triangle pub crawl.
But enough of that. You can't really beat the location of Jefferson Row. So close to Well Dressed Burrito. Anyhow, I always used to be wary of sentimentality. But with all of these buildings and my memories of them, I guess I can't help but be a little sentimental.