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Early Georgia Avenue
By John Clagett Proctor GEORGIA AVENUE from Rock Creek road to the District line is particularly Interesting because of the men who once owned residences and estates along this thoroughfare, including three Mayors, one Governor and others prominent in the affairs of the District. Originally this artery of travel was called the Seventh street turnpike, then Seventh street road, and later it became Brightwood avenue, before it was changed to its, present designation. It was not here when Congress and the Government departments moved to the Capital City in 1800. Some time between 18Q» and 1810 its construction was authorized, but the Columbia Turnpike Co., chartered to build this and other roads around Washington, delayed the work, and the project was finally taken up by the Washington & Rockville Turnpike Co., of which Benjamin Ogle Tayloe was president and John Carrol Brent secretary. Sessford, in his “Annals” for the year 1822, says: “The turnpike road leading from Seventh street to Rockville has already become of great utility to this ward and the city generally,” and from this statement it might well be assumed that it was a new road at that date, but it was certainly not completed to Rockville until 1829, when toll gates were erected. It must have been a mud hole in wet weather, and extremely dusty when it was dry, for it remained unimproved for many years. About 1850, the Maryland portion was improved with a plank road, and in 1852 the District part was covered with hem lock planks, 3 to 4 inches thick, with a width of 8 feet. Just what two teams did when they met can only be surmised. Road Widened Twice In Last Half Century It was a narrow road, within the mem ory of many, and has been widened at least twice within the last half century. As might be expected, the plank road did not last long and remained in bad shape for a long while, until graded and macadamized by the Board of Pub lic Works during Gov. Shepherd’s ad ministration. It happened to be one of those improvements which were ques tioned by the committee which tried to find something wrong with everything that Mr. Shepherd did. However, in its improved condition, it made a fine road for driving for some time, and in later years, when bicycling became a craze, it was used by enthusiastic wheelmen as one of the better roads around the city. As the writer recalls it, many years ago. it was similar to any other country road in this part of the country—fined with overhanging trees of various native species, and with holes in it large enough to make a driver stop every once in a while in order not to break a wagon spring. Occasionally there, was a spring to the side of the road, around which a half barrel had been placed, and a coco nut dipper or a rusty tin can with which the weary traveler on a warm summer’s day refreshed himself with genuine aqua pura. One of these natural fountains— known as James White’s spring—is still recalled in particular by the writer, since it was the most copious, so far as he knows, along this pike. Incidentally, it now empties into a sewer. A few of the trees which once surrounded it are still standing, recognized only by those whose memories wander back into the distant past. On both sides of Georgia avenue, up to the period of the Civil War, there was little else but farm land. Between 1857 and 1860, few persons lived and owned property on what was then a turnpike road. Farm Called ‘Petworth’ Bordered on Road However, the first estate on the east side of Georgia avenue to the north of Rock Creek Church road, which it also bordered, was the large farm of Col. • John Tayloe which he named Petworth, as has been said, “for the English town of that name." Prior to this we are told, the property belonged to a Capt. Balch and as part of his estate, it was sold to Col. Tayloe after the former’s death, about 1803. At this time, Col. Tayloe improved the farm by erecting a line of posts and a rail fence of cedar along the Rock Creek Church road side for about three fourths of a mile. The rails, according to an old item, after being hewn, were planed, the work being done by slave labor. According to an item written in 1865, the rails were then in a good state of preservation. It was further stated that when the fence was erected, there was no road up Seventh street, which now means Georgia avenue. Another family that settled in Bright wood at an early date was that repre sented by Enos Ray, who first came into the neighborhood in 1830, when he farmed for several years a tract of land to the north of Petworth owned by Theodore Mosher, and later by Marshall Brown, son of Jesse Brown, who con ducted a hostelry on Pennsylvania ave nue, called the Indian Queen. This tav ern -was later operated by his sons, Marshall and Tillstson, when it was generally known as Brown's Hotel, and later as the Metropolitan. In 1835, Mr. Ray bought an exten sive acreage of property east of Georgia avenue on old Milk House Ford road, later changed to Magnolia avenue, then to Shepherd road and now, for some distance, to Concord avenue. The Mar shall Brown tract extended northward to the stream known as Plney Branch. The old Marshall Brown mansion will be Trailed by many as once the home and course of the Columbia Golf Club, later known as the Columbia Country Club, organized September 29, 1898. The old home was located about at Dela fiei^ street, between Georgia and Illi nois avenues. Piney Branch Park Made From Old Farm The country home and estate of Richard Wallach, who was Mayor of Washington from 1861 to 1867, was on the west side of Georgia avenue, about opposite the Marshall Brown property. It contained 80 acres and’ was known as Maple Grove farm. On May 22, 1854, this farm was purchased from Mayor Wallach by the pioneer John A. Saul, and here he kept his nurseries until his death. The Wallach home was a modest one and Mr. Saul added a central portion to the structure, and a wing to correspond to the original dwelling. After the death of Mr. Saul, May 11, 1897, the Saul property was subdivided into building lots, and be came Saul’s subdivision, its name later being changed to Piney Branch Park. The country home of the late Mat thew G. Emery, mayor of Washington during 1870, and until the territorial l Entrance to the country home on Georgia avenue of Gov. Alexander R. Shepherd. * , government was ushered in on Febru ary 28, 1871, still stands on Georgia avenue in the _ large estate between Madison street and Concord avenue. It is one of the few buildings remain ing in the vicinity of Fort Stevens that was there during the Civil War, and is certainly of sufficient historic im portance to warrant its preservation. It was occupied by Mr. Emery and his family at the beginning of the war, but finding it to be of strategic military value—being one of the highest points around Washington—he early gave it over to the Army, which used it as a signal station, and many messages were transmitted between it and the dome of the Capitol. Depressions, still visible near the house and raised plateaus of earth indicate where soldiers had erected tents on the grounds. The Emory tract contains about nine acres of land and, with its many beauti Civil War home of Matthew G. Emery, last Mayor of Wash ington. ful old trees, forms one of the most attractive of the few remaining avail able park sites in the District. Carbery Home Stood On Hospital Site Still to the north on Georgia avenue, where Walter Reed Hospital now stands, was once Norway, the country home of Thomas Carbery, the sixth Mayor of Washington, who served the city as such from 1822 to 1823. He was a man of many activities, charities and honors, and, in addition to serving as Mayor of the city, was collector of the port of Washington, a member of the commission to erect the City Hall (now the Courthouse) and member of the first Board of Prison Inspectors. When the citizens of Washington undertook the collection of funds for- erection of the Washington Monument, and when the Washington National Monument Society was formed, September 26, 1833, with Chief Justice John Marshall as president, Thomas Carbery was selected as one of 13 members of the Board of Managers. He was a justice^ the peace for more than 40 years. He was also prominent in financial circles and was president of the Bank of the Metropolis (now the Metropolitan National Bank) from 1855 to the time of his death, in 1863. Mayor Carbery owned considerable city real estate, including his home at Seventeenth and C streets, where oc curred the celebrated miracle to his sister, Mrs. Ann Mattingly, earlier de scribed in one of these stories. He also had an interest in the historic home of Notley Young, an original proprietor, in the Southwest part of the city. He also owned about half of the block where now stands the Woodward & Lothrop department store, between F and G and Tenth and Eleventh streets. This site formed an interesting part of his reli gious benefactions. Orphan Asylum Built With Carbery’ Funds About* 1825 the St. Vincent's Orphan Asylum was built here. A history of St. Patrick’s Parish says the first build ing for the orphan asylum, which stood on the west side of Tenth street be tween F and G streets, was erected very largely through the munificence of Capt. Carbery. The asylum was incorporated by Congress in 1831, the incorporators being the Rev. William Matthews, the Rev. Matthew Deagle, Peter S. Schrie ber, Thomas Carbery and William Hickey. When Mayor Carbery died he left an estate estimated at $200,000. He be queathed $2,500 to each of his sisters, Ruth and Catherine, together with the city family residence, and made minor charitable bequests. The rest of the,, estate went to a “charity fund.” How ever, the heirs contested the will and a compromise was made. Capt. Carbery came in possession of at least a part of Norway upon the death of his aunt, Mrs. Sybilla Carbery, widow of Henry Carbery, a Revolutionary sol dier. Thomas Carbery, sr., brother of Col. Henry Carbery and father of Mayor Thomas Carbery, located in or near George Town about 1805, and of him the Mayor has this to say: “My father, Thomas Carbery, died in the City of Washington on the 12th of July, 1812, and in the 67th year of his age. His whole life was marked with peculiar energy, piety and virtue. He lived and died in full communion with the Cath olic churcH.” Thomas Carbery, sr.. married Mary Asonath Carbery, who died January 2, 1819, in the 64th year of her age. Their 11 children included Mary, John Bap tist, Martha (Catalans), Ruth, Ann (Mrs. Mattingly), Joseph, Catharine, Thomas, James, Lewis and Ignatius Henry. Thomas, the Mayor, is buried In Mount Olivet Cemetery. After the death of Capt. Carbery, the Norway property seems to have gone into the hands of his sister Ann, who married John Mattingly, and then to their daughter Mary Susan, who mar ried Richard Lay, an official in the Post Office Department, and who was likely the owner of Norway at the time of Early's raid on Washington. Hi's son, Theodore Albert Lay, who married Mary Blanche Selden. was living at Norway when he sold the property to Senator Cameron and Col. Myron M. Parker, who in turn sold it to the Government. Old House Was Target For Artillery in 1864 Theodore Albert Lay and his wife, Mary’ Blanche Selden, had the following issue: Theodore Albert, James Selden, who married Lillian Lockhart; Richard, Blanche Selden, married Henry Waters; Julia Walker, married Edward Perry; Augustus Selden. married, first, Elsie Boyle and after her death Helen Jukes. Mayor Carbery got his military title in the War of 1812. He was commis sioned a captain in the 36th Infantry, April 30. 1813, and honorably discharged June 15, 1815. Just how warm a reception the Con federate soldiers were given in the Fort Stevens engagement of July, 1864, one *' 1 . How About Those Atom Bomb W aves? By William H. Shippen, Jr. Aviation Editor of The Star. THE subsurface atomic bomb test probably will create the world's biggest water fountain, but its ocean waves will be mere ripples if they ever reach an inhabited coast. In answer to anxious questions arising from as far off as ChHe, oceanographers for the Army-Navy task force have been repeating that the tests will be purely focal in. effect compared with the seismic disturbances that spread destructive tides ashore in Hawaii and California last week. However deadly and far-reaching a natural wave may prove, the experts are positive no one need fear those to be created at Bikini. Surface reactions to underwater earthquakes or landslides along the vast Aleuthlan Trench were thousands of times stronger, oceanographers say. than any which can be expected from the bomb to be dropped at Bikini Atoll in July or the subsurface blast scheduled a month later. Destructive waves probably will be confined to the coral-contained beaches of Bikini lagoon. It is possible, but not considered probable, that lesser waves may radiate from the island as a result of bomb-loosened landslides down its cone-shaped underwater base. It is doubtful, however, if such waves will be large enough to be felt on nearby Kwajaleln or Eniwetok. Except for theory, nothing is known of the reaction of large bodies of water to atomic heat, pressure and radiation. To observe and record every phase of the reactions, the Navy’f oceanographers will be assisted by experts from the Smithsonian Institution, the Universities of California and Michigan, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the United States Geological Survey and Coast and Geodetic Survey, the Geotech nical Corp., and the Navy’s Electronics Laboratory. From what is known, it is thought probable that the second bomb, w'hich likely will be set off at the depth of an aveiage harbor, will blast a hole in the water of the lagoon perhaps 1,000 feet across. The hole might expose the bottom oi the lagoon for an instant before it is closed by inrushing water with force enough to toss a fountain some 2 miles into the sky. Waves of destructive force undoubted ly will roar across the lagoon, rising to unknown heights when they reach the shallows to curl on the beaches or sweep over them. Whether the shock will start landslides down the island's 40 degree slopes into ocean depths of 3 miles is a matter of speculation. This will depend somewhat on the Nothing actually is known of the reaction of large bodies of water to atomic heat, pressure and radiation. The world will have to wait for the atom-bomb test in the Pacific to find out. But it is predicted that one result will be the biggest water foun tain ever created, and, luckily, that the waves will diminish to mere ripples by the time they reach an inhabited coast. —Illustrated by Gib Crockett, Star Staff Artist. long-debated point of whether the typical Pacific atoll is a volcano cone or a mountain peak leveled by waves and maintained by coral growths. Water reactions will be recorded in multiple ways because many lnstru merits may be destroyed. Two lines of about 30 automatic pressure recorders will be planted on the bottom of the lagoon to measure waves passing over them. Sounding devices will be placed on bouys and "guinea pig" ships to report their movements in the turbulent water. Some will broadcast the information. Electric contacts will be set on piles to measure water levels, and television and still cameras will picture water move ments from four towers on nearby beaches. 0 Additional camera records of surface upheavals will be made from three air planes operating on a split-second syn chronize^ schedule. These are expected to show the heights, velocity and wave length of the undulations. Sensitive recorders will be set up on surrounding islands to catch any un usual movements of the water, accord ing to Comdr. Roger Revelle, chief of the oceanographic staff for Operation Cross roads. Comdr. Revelle, who before the war was a professor of oceanography at the University of California, is convinced the tests will be a “very powerful re search tool” for many branches of science. Por example, evidence of radio-activity will "tag” ocean water for the first time and allow its currents to be accurately traced far beyond the danger point to man or marine life. Seven destroyers and six gunboats will trace the water pouring from the lagoon, as a security measure, and some units probably will follow the drift as long as it can be identified. Resulting data will help to predict danger areas for any number of atomic bombs, it was said. By coincidence, one of the most com plete units ever assembled for studying the motion of ocean waves and tides was in Hawaii en route to Bikini when the huge breakers rolled ashore at Hilo. The party’s elaborate instruments, however, were either in storage awaiting shipment or undergoing alterations. “There they were getting ready for a manmade wave,” said a fellow scien tist here, “when nature rolled a much bigger one right up to their front doorl” Congressmen Sidetrack Politics for Peace By Casper Nannes When an Arkansas Democrat and a New Jersey Republican agree that 1s something. The something is now be fore the House of Representatives in the form of a joint resolution calling on* Congress to meet issues involving national security and foreign policy on a bipartisan plane, in peace as in war. Authors of the resolution are second » term Representative Brooks Hays, Dem ocrat, of Arkansas, and freshman Rep resentative Clifford P. Case, Republican, of New Jersey. The measure, which calls for the creation of a "joint committee of the Senate a»d House to investigate fully” the forces needed to Insure our coun try meeting "its full share of respon sibility” for a peaceful world, was Home of the Lay family, which once stood in the Walter Reed Hospital grounds and which replaced the one destroyed in the Battle of Fort Stevens in 1864. , can somewhat imagine from the fol lowing official statement of what oc curred in part in this engagement— July 11 and 12. Says the report: "On July 11, 20 shots were fired from the guns of Fort Stevens—14 30-pound and six 24-pound. Of these, five were fired at the Confederates in a grove 1,050 yards distant, six 24- . pound and two 30-pound shots were fired at them in the rear of the old target, one in the pike in front of the target, two at 2,000 yards distance, one at the skirmish line behind an orchard, one at the Carbery house (Lay) and' two in their midst at a distance of 1,254 yards. “On July 12 67 shots were fired, 30 of them at the Carbery, or Lay, house, which was set on fire by shots from a mortar; 15 at the Reeves house (B. H. Warner's house), 1,078 yards; 4 on the ground at the right of the pike, 1,050 yards; 2 in the ravine in the rear of the Lay house, 10 at the carriage shop, 2 solid shots at the old camp and 4 at the coluriin en masse.” The destroyed Carbery-Lay house was later replaced. Gov. Shepherd Owned Bleak House on Avenue Alexander Robley Shepherd, native Washingtonian, was the second of the two Governors of the District of Co lumbia, serving from September 15, 1873, to June 20, 1874. Gov. Shepherd’s subsequent career after retiring from office was principally as a resident of Mexico, where he engaged in mining from 1879 on. On July 16, 1887, when he returned to the District, he got off the train at Silver Spring and went* direct to his country home, Bleak House, which stood back from the west side of Georgia avenue not far south of the District line. This estate at one time extended westward as far as Rock Creek. Quoting from an interview given at that time, in regard to the vast improve ments ire was responsible for in Wash ington, the Governor said: “I fancy everybody sees it now; some of us saw it then. It was a question of national pride, the beautification of tlje National Capital." _ signed by 12 Democrats and as many Republicans. The two Congressmen started from opposite sectional and political posi tions to arrive independently at the conclusion that party politics must give way on these vital issues. "Anything touching the national security or which embraces our whole foreign policy is a matter for bipartisan consideration. The general pattern of a majority determined to carry its views with the minority doing its best as an opposition, does not fit the security and foreign policy situation,” declares Mr. Hays. Parallel Party Action Deemed Best Service He conceives of parties as "vehicles of service and not as ends in themselves; as instruments for building policy, to be used frequently, not in opposition to each other, but in parallel and sup plemental fashion.” To this extent, the Arkansas member believes “the majority party should welcome the instructive assistance of the minority and share the credit for achievements with them.” Mr. Case arrived at a similar point of view because he is convinced "people of the country as a whole want peace and also want their country to do what is right concerning its obligations on the international scene.” The New Jersey member feels the best of American party thinking is that which makes it practical for both parties to work together. Mr. Hays is probably the best story teller in Washington since Chauncey Depew. He rarely tells stories on the House floor, but his inexhaustible fund of tales and ready wit makes him an ideal toastmaster at banquets. His hobbies are fishing and painting, the latter being "strictly amateur” and definitely in "imitation of Churchill and not of Hitler.” As a youth he campaigned for his Representative Clifford Case. Representative Brooks Hays. father. Steele Hays, when this country lawyer and school teacher ran for Con gress in 1922. His father was defeated. Tod|iy, he regards his election to the same seat his father sought as vindica tion of the latter's adherence to liberal principles. Mr. Hays, at 27, was assistant attorney general of his State. Two years later he ran for Governor and finished second in a field of seven. In that campaign, his opponents jeered him as the “Boy Scout" candidate. The Boy Scouts of 1928 have come of age, Mr. Hays now points out. He came to Washington as a member of Congress in January, 1942. Twenty three years earlier, he had come to the District to work for the Veterans' Ad ministration, after serving as a private in the World War. He also studied at George Washington University Law School, his roommate and classmate being Bolon Turner, now presiding judge of the United States Tax Court. Hays Had Reverses In Arkansas Politics He married while a senior in law school. He had met his wife while at tending the University of Arkansas. They set up house a short distance from their present Washington residence. Mr. Hays and Attorney Turner were law Those Were the Happy Days—By Dick Mansfield all ^7weGE on ' “ e£e \ -r*o He^MieA «« Twe'ft ^00° I OH ' \9l9 Wtf I ^ W' - AY-II^ 1890,CONEY l5CAN0,N.y„ (SEntleman uim'corsett cut Jim oeffriesTo Ribbons and j WAS BREEDING HOME A WIN NER- WHEN Big Jieff sent over The i knockout PUNCH,AAEFTTOTHE5”0MACH IN THE TWbNTY-THlRO ROUND FOR THE HEAVy WEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP OF THE world. it was Slugger against BOXERj^E^^ MUCH LIKE the last LEWIS-CONN fight. I ' /OlM CoFFEy ^L/The Dublin Giant knocked out soldier 0 '-Kearns of in IsROoCAV^ iKiOHE I KOUND A7 Ths OtYMPlA v\# m ixty-oNt" 1 1 (BoundsTo a\ I I, Oraw.oimCorbettM I and Peter Jackjon, San Francisco,cal. rrMAy-2H89l. ti i IGKIS | O* TH’ | Times* REMEMBER i THIS ONE? HEAVY WEIGHT CHAMPION CHIP Tight. j Blit/ AVMUiAH Bitty VNAtty, HENRyy OPERA MOOSE, AteXANQg|A,VA. V AY _ : l -*15-1909 Biuy Papke, ii The ituwois \\ "THONOERSOCT v KNOCKED OOT HUGH Ktuy—'f* J IN THE PlRST ROUND OP V A SCHEOUtt-D AS ROUND \Go~ SAN FRANCISCt^GM. What vc you <?£memger? | onswer to mst week: y Question0. HERE WAS WASHINGTON* 6RAN0 OPERA HOUSE? f^SWER : FTEENTH & Pa.AVE.N.W. where chases Theater ANO AA8AOGWS WERE , _ NEXT weekT: "JnHAT Fightek was fameo fi»* His partners in Little Rock, Ark., in 1928. That year he received his early reverses in politics. In addition to losing the governorship, he was defeated for that office in 1930 and for Congress in 1933. He was successful, however, in his cam paign for Democratic national commit teeman in 1932, and was re-elected until he resigned in 1939. Sponsorship of the bipartisan resolution is a natural evolution in his political relationships. From 1936 to 1941 he served as a member of the solicitors office staff, Department of Agriculture. In this position he had to work with Republicans in Kansas and Wisconsin, and quickly learned that party lines could be overcome when men of good will get together. Shortly after coming to Congress, }fr. Hays joined with Republican House Member Walter H. Judd of Minn esota to sponsor a bipartisan peace reso lution providing for joint action by the two major parties. Calls Corporate Decision Better Than Individual Clifford Case came into Congress by easy stages. A graduate of Rutgers University and of Columbia University Law School, he decided working for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett In New York should not interfere with his in terest in Rahway, n. J., where he lived. Accordingly, he ran for the city council in 1927. He was elected and served three years as ward councilman and two as councilman at large before seeking the State Assembly nomination in 1941. Mr. Case lost in a close race, but was elected the following year. He sponsored a bill reorganizing the State civil serv ice. Its subsequent passage and admin istration by Dr. William S. Carpenter of Princeton University, resulted in much needed reforms. Elected to Congress in 1943 to suc ceed Representative Donald McLean, resigned, he carried the concept of bipartisan action on issues that could best be settled that way. He likes the idea of many persons sponsoring a measure and insists “corporate decision is a lot sounder than individual judg ment.’’ The son of a Dutch Reformed minis ter, he has a leisurely way of moving that belies the fact he is a buzzsaw in action. He weighs 145 pounds dripping wet, and in college played lacrosse on a team of football players who weighed 40 to 50 pounds more. Mr. Case has been in the fore in the fight against racial and religious dis crimination. His maiden speech in Congress concluded with this passage that gives an insight into his basic philosophy on these issues: “Whenever we of the majority in this country permit such sentiments to go unchallenged not only are we guilty of a wrong to the minority groups concerned but we risk the greater dan ger cf brutalizing ourselves.’’ In November, 1945, he wa sone of 39 first or second term House Republicans to repudiate reactionary policies and tactics of certain fellow party mem bers. With Representatives Bennet of New York, Adams of New Hampshire and Heselton of Massachusetts he was one of the prime movers. Rutgers Names Case As Alumni Trustee A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he completed his law school course in two and a half years and joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in February, 1928. He was named a member of the firm in 1939. Last year he was elected one of the alumni trustees of Rutgers for a five-year term. He studied the organ under Prof. Howard McKinney and ’ later turned these lessons to good account, playing at nearby churches to help pay his way through school. He still plays the organ for recreation. Mr. Hays and Mr. Case came together quite naturally at informal meetings in the Capitol. They and the other men signing the resolution agreed that while consultation among members of the two major parties does not make for dramatic news stories, it does make for progress and accomplishment. “Within our traditional framework there is some way to do the Job that has to be done,” Mr. Case explains.