901 R STREET NW
1875(?)-AUGUST 17, 2002
901 R Street NW was the once the home of the Louis Thomas Caberet and the site of Duke Ellington's early professional gigs. Despite its obvious delapidation, 901 retained enough traces of elegence to attract fan mail from as far away as England when we pictured it as "Victorian of the Week #3". Back in March, it seemed likely that a neighborhood rehabilitation wave and the Ellington association might save this stylish house, the end unit in the "Arlington Terrace" row.
But on the morning of Saturday, August 17, 2002, heavy equipment began pounding in 901's walls after a raze order was suddenly issued by the DC Government. Despite neighbors' frantic calls to the mayor's office, this once grand house was reduced to heaps of raspberry-colored brick by lunchtime. Only the west wall of 901 was left standing, displaying the fossil-like imprint of the staircase and multi-colored squares of gouged plaster interior wall to passers-by on 9th Street.
The facade of 901 held a white stone tablet, visible in the shadows to the left of the "R Street" sign , which spelled out "Arlington Terrace" in raised letters. On Sunday, when I asked the workers piling brick whether they had the stone, they laughed and said that someone had scooped it up almost as soon as it fell out of the wall. So somewhere 901 R lives on symbolically.
To see our cyber-obituary for 901 R Street NW, click the picture to the left.
Click here to see "And The Walls Came Tumbling Down", M. Perko's montage of the fall of 901 R Street NW.