Hazel has been an active neighborhood volunteer almost from the first. On behalf of Capitol Hill Restoration Society, she worked with our project namesake Ruth Ann Overbeck in 1974 to interview longtime residents from all parts of the Hill; their goal was to document the neighborhood's history as part of the application to establish the Historic District. Almost 40 years later, she contributed those interviews to our collection, thus extending the time period we cover to include people born in the 19th century.
The transcript of her 2015 and 2016 interviews covers much the same kind of information she collected in '74: descriptions of life on the Hill, local businesses, prominent and not-so-prominent neighbors, and events that affected the community. Not surprisingly, her intimate knowledge of the area immediately around her own home predominates.
Interview with Hazel Kreinheder
Interview Dates: September 21, 2015 & February 2, 2016
Interviewer: Sharon House
Transcribers: David MacKinnon, Nancy Lazear
photo by [photographer]
TAPE 1/SIDE 1
HOUSE: We’re conducting an interview today for the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. I’m the interviewer. My name is Sharon House. We’re doing the interview at my house, 536 Sixth Street SE. I’m very pleased to be interviewing Hazel Kreinheder. Hazel, welcome and thank you for agreeing to do the interview.
KREINHEDER: Thank you for asking me.
HOUSE: Let’s just start with basics. Tell us when and where you were born.
KREINHEDER: I was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, 1935. That’s where the hospital was. My family actually lived in a neighboring town, Amherst, Massachusetts which is where I grew up.
HOUSE: When did you come to Washington and why?
KREINHEDER: I came to Washington in July of 1957 to work for the National Security Agency [NSA].
HOUSE: Is that a job you got when you lived there? You’d always been interested in this or was that just happenstance?
KREINHEDER: When in was in college—I graduated from University of Massachusetts—they had various companies come and you could interview with them and that one appealed to me and I really wanted to come to Washington to work. So I took some tests and had some interviews and was offered a position. So I came here to Washington to live.
HOUSE: What did you study in college?
KREINHEDER: My major was history and I had minors in German, political science and chemistry. I figured I’d cover all of my bases and I should be able to get a job.
HOUSE: I know I can’t ask you too much about the NSA but did any of your education come in handy?
HOUSE: Okay. I guess that’s about as much as I could ask. You came in ’57. Did you live on Capitol Hill then?
KREINHEDER: I stayed at the women’s YWCA for a couple of weeks until I could find a place to live. One of the women who started to work when I did knew about the Young Women’s Christian Home which is in the 300 block of Second Street NE. Not too far from Union Station. Several of us stayed there but we were too well paid. That organization was geared to high school, girls that had graduated from high school that came to Washington to work, and we were all college graduates. So a group of us decided we’d get an apartment. A lot of young people lived up at the Dupont Circle area, so we got this apartment in a big house that had been cut up into apartments during World War II at 1730 New Hampshire Avenue NW. One of the girls was going to be getting married so the rest of us decided we would move to a different apartment. We moved to 1820 19th Street NW [in early 1958] which is where I lived until I was married in 1959.
HOUSE: Tell us a little about the Young Women’s Christian Home because that still exists, right?
KREINHEDER: It still exists. I believe it has some affiliation with the Presbyterian Church. That’s why this woman knew about it because she was Presbyterian. She had known about it. That’s where she was staying when she first came to Washington. It was a lovely place.
HOUSE: It’s quite a significant structure.
KREINHEDER: It is. I had a single room. They served dinner in a very nice dining room. As I recall, we had curfew hours there. I believe, as I said, the women that stayed there were mostly younger than we were. I think it was really geared for a place for young women who had graduated from high school who came to Washington mostly probably to work for the government. We were told that we made too much money and we really couldn’t stay there indefinitely. Now some of the women that were there did live there for almost permanent residence. We could have gentleman callers who could come into the living room, but they couldn’t go anything more than into the living room. If you had a date they could come pick you up. It was—I don’t know what it’s like today because I haven’t been back there since probably 1957.
HOUSE: It’s not an alumni organization.
KREINHEDER: Not that I’m aware of. It was very nice. Of course we could walk over to Union Station in the evening and get a snack. There was an ice cream soda fountain at Union Station. We’d often walk over in the evening. It was convenient because there was a trolley car that went up First Street between the Senate office buildings. So it was convenient to public transportation. Of course we were right close to the Capitol. We could go over to the Capitol in the evening to listen to the various military bands concerts. It was a very convenient location. It was convenient for work for the most part.
HOUSE: You drove to work?
KREINHEDER: No, we started out at Arlington Hall on [U.S.] Route 50. It’s now National Defense Agency or something. Anyway, the first summer I was here I worked at the site of RFK Stadium. So we could get on that trolley that came up and ran East Capitol Street down to the car barn at 15th and East Capitol and get off there and walk down to the stadium site. Some people did drive. But we were so close that we just took the trolley to work.
HOUSE: So there was a building there that was run by NSA, where the RFK is now?
KREINHEDER: I’m not sure all the buildings were NSA but they were temporary buildings. These old—they may have been World War I. Definitely had been used for World War II. Probably used Korean War. It was a training school.
HOUSE: Training school for NSA?
KREINHEDER: For NSA. Basically we were there, we were being trained but everybody was of course having to get clearances to do special work. It was very convenient to get to work because we just got on that trolley, or streetcar, whatever you want to call it. That’s one of the things that attracted me to Capitol Hill because we rode through Capitol Hill back and forth every day when we were going to work.
HOUSE: So then you said you lived at Dupont Circle. You got married?
KREINHEDER: Yeah. I met Bob the first week of work at NSA. He was living up at Hartnett Hall [21st and P Streets NW] where a lot of young people live. He had a roommate that—they moved in various and sundry apartments. In 1958 he and a different fellow moved over to the 600 block of G Street SE. Right across the street from Christ Church. That’s what sort of brought him to live on Capitol Hill. He lived on G Street with a couple of other fellows. Then we were married in 1959.
HOUSE: Then where did you live?
KREINHEDER: After we got married—of course about six months after we started working, NSA opened their facility at Fort Meade and Bob was going out there. Then I went out a few months later. When we first got married we looked around on the Hill for a place to live and we couldn’t find anything that we really liked. We’d been going together for quite some time so when we decided to get married we didn’t have a lot of time to find a place to live. So we went and got an apartment in Laurel, Maryland. But we came back to the city quite regularly, and we decided when we had enough money to buy a house we really wanted to live on Capitol Hill. That’s what we did. We saved our money so we could get enough money for down payment on a house and then we looked around on the Hill and found our house on Kentucky Avenue [SE]. We moved into that house on the second of January 1963.
HOUSE: That’s where you still live?
KREINHEDER: That’s where we still live. Our first son was born shortly after we moved into the house.
HOUSE: Neighborhood’s changed a lot since then or not so much? That particular block?
KREINHEDER: I would say the entire neighborhood has changed considerably. The block—it was very interesting. When we first moved here, there were a number of elderly people that had lived there for a long time. There was a retired Episcopal minister that lived across the street. There was a woman that lived down the street who had moved into her house as the original owner as a new bride in 1905. She was still on the block. There were some other retired couples. Part of the reason that we were able to get that house is the president of what was known as Eastern Liberty Bank, which was at Fourth and Pennsylvania [Avenue SE], lived on the block. So he arranged for us to get us a loan from his bank.
Then there were some very bad rental properties with all kinds of people hanging out the windows and so on. It was a very mixed block. The house next door to us was owned by an older couple. He had been a plumber at the Navy Yard during World War II. The house on the other side, the north side of us was owned by a black family that had moved in in  with their children. They had three children. Miraculously the daughter and her husband still live in that home. So we’ve always had the same next door neighbors on one side of us and they’re absolutely wonderful people. It was very mixed.
Then young couples started coming in. There were two fellows that lived together that bought a house on the block. But we had some very bad rental properties also. It was mixed. Things really weren’t—after the riots in 1968 some of these elderly white people had died and the street got a little worse for a while because people living on the block changed. The minister died and he left his house to a woman who had apparently worked for him. She was a nurse but she had this huge family of kids and they were always in trouble in one way or another. And there was another house down further south on the block that was again, they had—I’m not really sure who all lived in there, but it was a family and they were very much involved in the looting in 1968. They had some young teenagers living there who would come and offer to help people move into their homes when they moved in. A month later the whole home would be robbed because they had come in and cased the place. We had—around the corner on Massachusetts Avenue [SE] there was a big house that was owned by a woman—I believe she was a white women but I can’t really remember. She ran a prostitution ring, a gambling ring.
KREINHEDER: In the 1200 block of Massachusetts. But the interesting thing about that house was she had a bootlegging business going on too. It was not legal to sell alcohol in the District of Columbia back then, on Sundays. Her house had an alley behind it and a fence. She would put this little piece of white, looked like a ripped piece of a sheet or something, as a flag on the back fence. People could go in the alley and they could buy a Dixie cup for, I don’t know, a small amount of money and they could buy liquor on Sundays. It got to be a nuisance thing in the neighborhood. When they finally closed it down they said that was one of the biggest operations in the city. She had everything going on in there.
Then that house was lived in by Jim Jones, the congressman from California who went to Georgetown and drank the Kool Aid and died there. He was living in that house at the time he died. [Clarification: the California Congressman who lived at 1213 Massachusetts Avenue SE was Leo Ryan; in 1978, while making an exploratory visit to the Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana, he was murdered by followers of Temple leader Jim Jones. Jones and over 900 of his followers later committed mass suicide by drinking poisoned powdered drink mix at his behest.]
HOUSE: Do you know the address of that house?
KREINHEDER: Yes, 1213 Massachusetts Avenue [SE]. [She later supplied the information that this house was known as the Lincoln Park Tourist Home.] Subsequently the house has been renovated by two men and they’ve lived there for quite a while, and they’ve really done a lot of work and the house is very nice now. But it was probably one of the most interesting houses in the neighborhood. When we had the rioting in ’68 I stood in my front yard and could watch H Street [NE] burn. I could see the smoke from my front yard. But one of my neighbors, Frank Baxter who lived a few houses—he lived at 123 Kentucky Avenue—he was out planting grass in his yard while the city is burning. It was kind of interesting. It’s always been kind of a mixed block.
Oh I didn’t say who owned our house. We bought our house from an estate. It was owned by a woman named Florence Caseley. She was a French teacher at Eastern High School. She was a maiden lady. She had lived in the house with her sister who had died before she did. Our house was originally owned by a family named Fluckey. There’s quite a bit about him on Milton Sladen’s interview. He became an admiral and his mother was the first owner of our house. He took the first submarine into Tokyo Bay in World War II. Became an admiral, very well known. The property was used, I think really, as rental property a great deal, although a man from the gas company came one time to check our furnace and said his father-in-law had lived in that house. And he’d been in the Navy and we had these huge hooks in the basement. He said the reason the hooks were in this beam is because he’d been in the Navy he had a hammock that he hung in the basement. Basically it had been—until Miss Caseley—and she had lived there. We bought it in ’63 and I think she had lived there about 40 years before we did. The house was built in 1909 so it didn’t have that many previous owners or residents. We’ve been there since ’63 so it hasn’t been lived in by an awful lot of different people. It’s been an interesting neighborhood. We had lots of problems in the 60s and 70s during drug epidemics with things going on in Lincoln Park because we’re just a few houses below Lincoln Park. Could often be a lot of activity there in the evening.
HOUSE: Still is. Maybe a different kind.
KREINHEDER: Different kind. Mostly now what you see in the evening are joggers. The play—we were involved with some other people getting some play area put in there. And of course the play area has been improved and enlarged since we got the first play equipment. You have families bringing their children in during the daytime or the early evening and then you have the joggers and dog walkers. When we were first there about the only people that went there in the evening were dog walkers or people that were doing drugs. The park situation was kind of bad for a while. But it’s changed. We do always have fireworks there on the Fourth of July. I’m not sure that they’re really legal, but nobody ever bothers anybody. It’s kind of, the whole community kind of, neighborhood, a large group comes. People bring fireworks that they’ve obtained from someplace and put them off. It’s kind of fun. It’s kind of a neighborhood event.
Gradually after we bought our house more people, young couples, we had a couple of groups, couple men living together that came in early and bought houses and fixed them up. We’ve had a mixture of people. We’ve had senators. We have a brand new neighbor who’s a congressman now. It’s been a mix of people. We had one interesting lady who’s named Mrs. Thompson. She was a black lady who goes from Philadelphia. Philadelphia blacks were high class according to her. And she was. She was a lovely lady. But she didn’t like to have anything to do with those southern people from South Carolina. [laughs]
HOUSE: There are a lot in Washington DC.
KREINHEDER: So we had a mixture. As I said, we have black neighbors on one side. The white neighbors on the other side. We had good people and not so good people. Basically now we have, I would say it’s primarily white. There’s one black family that was there before we were. Another black family in addition to the one next door to us, who have always been there. The lady’s name was Mrs. Jones and she had a son and he still lives there. And his son still lives there. Most of the other families that were black have either moved away or died. Some of them were quite nice neighbors but they’ve passed away. There’s still one black family that was there on 12th Street behind us that one of the daughters still lives in her home.
HOUSE: I know that you’ve been very active on Capitol Hill with lots of different projects and contributions. Tell us how that started. What you mentioned to me at one point, you joined the Circle on the Hill. What is that?
KREINHEDER: One of the things that we did, as I mentioned, Bob had come to the Hill and lived with two other fellows on G Street. After we were married, the other men moved over to Philadelphia Row [100 block of 11th Street SE, between Lincoln Park and Independence Avenue SE]. They lived at the corner of Independence [Avenue] and 11th Street in part of a house that was being renovated; they rented an apartment. The people that lived in that [house] were Peter and Bette Glickert [who owned the two unit building]. They have been interviewed by this project so I won’t go into all of that. Peter and Bette, we had met them. By the time we bought our house [in 1963], Peter and Bette had bought a large house on 12th Street in the 100 block. Bette—her grandparents had lived on the Hill and she knew people on the Hill. She kind of became my mentor. She introduced me to this group called Circle on the Hill. Circle on the Hill met at Friendship House. It was, I would say, primarily young, white, married women, mostly homemakers with small children. The idea was to be supportive of Friendship House—which is now [in 2015] going to be, go back to its earlier name as The Maples—to raise money and to get people interested in the house and be involved, and be involved in some of the projects that they did there.
We met about once a month. We had a fundraiser at Christmas time to raise some money for Friendship House. We started what became known as Market Day. Market Day was held at Friendship House [619 D Street SE] originally before they moved up to Eastern Market area and into the street. We were there for several years and then the War on Poverty began and the whole emphasis on the house changed and we were sort of informed that we were—they were really not interested in our [volunteer fundraisers’] participation any more. Things kind of just dissolved.
The sad part about that with the War on Poverty was there was also a group supportive of Friendship House—it was called the Congressional Wives Club. These were wives of congressmen and senators, and they raised money for Friendship like you couldn’t believe it. They had Joan Sutherland come and sing a concert one year there when our group was still active. There were a lot of active people that were just sort of, “Well we’re not interested in your kind of people anymore.” So it fell apart. But as one of the things that I did know, as I said, this group was composed of primarily young mothers.
I learned about the babysitting co-op which still exists on the Hill today. I learned about the Capitol Hill Cooperative Nursery School which still exists in one format or another. When my children went there it was in the basement of the Presbyterian Church at Fourth and Independence Avenue [SE]. It was a co-op. You had to go a couple of days a week. We had a regular teacher, but then you’d be assigned a couple days a week or certain periods of time that you had to go and be the teacher’s helper and help with these kids.
HOUSE: How large is that?
KREINHEDER: I would say we maybe had 15, 20 kids. Marguerite Kelly was still around and has been interviewed was in it. Margaret Klapthor was a very interesting woman who belonged who had children in the co-op nursery school. Margaret was a curator at the Smithsonian and she wrote a book on White House china. She knew a lot about the White House and she used to do the First Lady’s gallery at the Smithsonian. We had some really interesting people that had children at the—the co-op nursery was maybe 3, 4 year old children. It was boys and girls. Those were things that I gradually met them. In the late 60s—no it was mid-60s, organizations came to the Hill and was selling aluminum siding to be put on brick houses because they said you needed this to protect your house. You should have aluminum sidings. It was called Townhouses.
HOUSE: That was the name of the company?
KREINHEDER: Yeah, it was something like Townhouses. We had belonged to—there was a Capitol Hill Community Council that was kind of a coordinating group for various organizations on the Hill. They published a newsletter which came out periodically, but quite regularly. There was this article in there about the townhouses and putting aluminum siding. We read it and there was a telephone number. If you were concerned about this being done, call this telephone number. Which I did. I got a man named Austin Beall. This was early in 1966. Austin turned out to be—I think he was a membership chairman for the Capitol Hill Restoration Society. At that time the Capitol Hill Restoration Society had about 200 members. You had to be sponsored to join. Austin invited us to his apartment—he was a real estate man—with several other people and to meet people that belonged and people that might be interested in the organization. So we joined the Restoration Society because we were concerned about what was being done to these homes. We got active and they asked me to be—I was first the recording secretary for a year. Then I was the treasurer for a couple of years, and then I was on various committees and got involved with the house tour and various and sundry projects concerned about crime and city planning. I was involved with Yost House which the organization owned—purchased in the …
HOUSE: What is the Yost House?
KREINHEDER: The Yost House was owned by Elsie and John Leukhardt. Elsie Leukhardt was a Yost. Her father was—I believe his name was William Yost. Anyway he was a builder and he and his brother built a group of houses in the 1000 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE. She lived in the family home [1002 Pennsylvania Avenue SE] as a maiden lady for many years and married John Leukhardt when she was probably in her fifties. She was the last of a very large family and stayed home with mother and father. She was in the hierarchy of the school system. She had an administrative job. I think she’d been a teacher and then she moved up in the ranks. She was one of the people that we did interview back in 1970s. She and [her husband]—
END OF TAPE 1/SIDE 1
TAPE 1/SIDE 2
KREINHEDER:—[were among the people] we interviewed when we were doing the oral histories trying to determine about the Capitol Hill Historic District.
HOUSE: Which we haven’t talked about.
KREINHEDER: Which we haven’t talked about yet. Elsie made the remark to me that she’d really like the Restoration Society to have her home. So Dick Wolf was president of the Restoration Society and Doug Wheeler was working for the Department of Interior but he knew something about historic preservation grants. So somehow or other between the two of them they were able to get a grant so the Restoration Society purchased the house. When we dedicated it and we put a plaque on it—Yost House and with the date—part of the Marine Band came and played. Closed off Pennsylvania Avenue and we had a group from the Marine Band come and play for this dedication. [The dedication ceremony took place on October 19, 1980.] At that was another thing that I appeared on television because I was the chairman of the House Committee. The Restoration Society ultimately decided it was too expensive to try and maintain. It was costing them too much money so they sold the house and just got an office space on the Hill.
HOUSE: It’s a private residence now?
KREINHEDER: I think it’s used commercially. I don’t really know what it is. Of course Pennsylvania Avenue is commercial and I think some organization—there was a Japanese organization that was, had it or had Japan in its name. It really wasn’t practical for our purposes because it had—the rooms were not big enough to really hold a Society meeting. The Restoration Society met—I think when I first joined it we met at the Presbyterian Church at Fourth and Independence. At one point we met at Saint Peter’s Church in the basement [Second and C Streets SE]. We also met, believe it not, [at] Casualty Hospital [700 Massachusetts Avenue NE] which became Capitol Hill Hospital was renovated at one point and they had a beautiful auditorium where we met for a while. So the organization has met in various public places over on the Hill. In the early 1970s we realized that the Hill—well we knew the Hill was being threatened because Congress wanted to move east, expand their office buildings and so on. They did take down where the Hart Office Building is [First Street & Constitution Avenue NE]. We saw that go. We saw the Library of Congress take over where the Madison Library is now. We began to see more and more activity. There was a proposal to demolish the block that Saint Mark’s Church is in, Third and A Streets SE. They were going to take the whole block. The Folger Library was threatened. So we realized that if we didn’t do something that more and more of Capitol Hill would disappear. It was all brought to a head by interestingly not Congress but by the Metropolitan Baptist Church [now Capitol Hill Baptist Church] which is at Sixth and A Street NE that wanted to tear down Mary’s Blue Room. Now Mary’s Blue Room was located at the corner of Fifth and East Capitol Street on the northeast corner. The Church wanted to tear that and two or three other houses down because they needed more parking. Their members had been people who had lived on the Hill who had moved out to the suburbs and they needed a place to park when they came in the city. And that really brought things to a head. Ultimately it was—Mary’s Blue Room was torn down. It was not in good shape. It was an Italianate building that somebody now would have come in and restored and it would have been magnificent.
HOUSE: Had you ever been in Mary’s Blue Room?
KREINHEDER: I had never been in Mary’s Blue Room.
HOUSE: Like a coffee shop?
KREINHEDER: It was, yeah, I was kind of greasy spoon kind of place. It originally had been an ice cream parlor. And apparently in its day was quite famous but that was World War I period when it was really quite famous. It had become kind of a greasy spoon kind of place. The building was still there. It was an Italianate building and it was really quite interesting, quite different than the rest of the architecture on the Hill. At any rate, it was torn down. Peter Powers who had been involved with the Saint Mark’s business because he lived in that block that was—he lived a few houses on A Street east of Saint Mark’s. He was president of the Restoration Society. He decided that we needed to do something before all of Capitol Hill disappeared. Peter was the general counsel for the Smithsonian so as such he was on the Historic Advisory Council for District of Columbia or the Federal City, something like that. And he knew people.
He got in touch with the Joint Committee on Landmarks and convinced them to submit a proposal for Capitol Hill to become an historic district. So he worked out this arrangement that they would actually do the proposal and do the presentation and people on Capitol Hill would volunteer to help them with the research. That’s where I got involved because somehow or other they knew I had a history degree. We’re talking early—we started on the project about February 1974 I think. The Restoration Society voted to go along with this idea of having Capitol Hill become an historic district. We had two teams of people. We had several groups of people. There was Mike Franch who wrote a sort of a social history of Capitol Hill. I don’t know many copies of that there are still around. There was Linda Gallagher who lived over on the 700 block of East Capitol Street. Linda would later become very involved with the Barracks Row and unfortunately she died rather unexpectedly a few years ago. Then there were two teams that were to do the surveying of the houses in historical research. Ruth Ann Overbeck started out as the chair of this committee and she and I think the lady’s name was Pat Ferguson. Her name was Ferguson and she lived on Independence Avenue. They would do the Hill—survey the Hill from the areas that adjoined the Capitol up to Eighth Street. And Jeanie Hindle, who lived at Ninth and Independence, and I were to do Eighth Street to the [Anacostia] River. Actually we didn’t have to do that whole area but we did. The eastern boundary and the southern boundaries were the river and closer in was the Southeast Freeway.
They didn’t want to put the historic district south of the freeway. Then we went up to G Street NE. We couldn’t go to H Street, because H Street was an urban renewal district and we couldn’t overlap an historic district with an urban renewal district. So what we did was we went to—we started out in Martin Luther King library and we used these big real estate maps to try to map out when the houses—the buildings—were actually constructed. Once we had drawn those maps and we color coded them by the dates of when we thought the houses were built. The other thing is it was fifty-year limit so anything that wasn’t 50 years old wouldn’t necessarily be included in the historic district. So if you get east of 15th Street, say 15th and East Capitol Street, most of—what I call the houses with the front porches. Those were different types of architecture and they were—a lot of them were World War I, post-World War I, so they weren’t going to fit the time limit.
HOUSE: The time limit was established by …
KREINHEDER: This is for National Register [of Historic Places]. You could have some houses that were newer but the basic area had to be 50 years old. We had these limitations. Then once we got the maps drawn we went out and actually went street by street, house by house and looked at the properties to see whether or not the ones that we had mapped out were still standing. Then I went to the National Archives and we picked—Suzanne and I primarily picked out some different examples like free-standing stone house—Charles Gessford who lived on South Carolina had done a—he did groups of houses, various a sundry architectures—different styles, different periods as examples. [Suzanne Ganschinietz, staff member for Joint Committee on Landmarks, was the coordinator of the effort.] I went to the National Archives and researched when those houses were built and by whom and a little bit about the builder or the owner or maybe somebody famous lived in the house.
HOUSE: How many houses did you do? Did you research that many?
KREINHEDER: I can’t remember. I did all of the houses surrounding Lincoln Park, every single block because I got interested in it. Basically we needed background for people. Suzanne Ganschinietz was our primary contact. In the course of this, this is when we began doing oral histories on Capitol Hill, we were trying to determine what the boundaries of the historic district should be. We knew some people that had lived in—and one person would recommend somebody else who had lived on the Hill for a long time, grew up on the Hill, knew something about the Hill. So Suzanne and I did some interviews. Ruth Ann, whose name was Perez at that time, and I did some interviews. I did a couple of interviews by myself later on. It depended on who was available to do interviewing. We went around and interviewed these people trying to get a picture of what they thought the boundaries of Capitol Hill 50 years previously had been. We couldn’t go past the Car Barn [East Capitol Street between 14th, 15th and A Streets NE], we couldn’t even go as far as the Car Barn because the Car Barn was already designated, so we didn’t have to get the 1400 block of East Capitol Street included because we didn’t have to protect the Car Barn. We couldn’t get the group south of Pennsylvania Avenue known as Pipetown because Potomac Gardens [between 12th, 13th, G and I Streets SE] had been built and they didn’t want public housing in an historic district. There’s some very, I would say 1850s or 1890s houses down in there. They really should have been part of the historic district.
HOUSE: Who didn’t want public housing in the historic district?
KREINHEDER: The Joint Committee itself. And this is very strange because it was a joint committee staff that was writing this recommendation to their organization which ultimately—the Joint Committee was between the National Capitol Planning Commission and the District of Columbia historic preservation people. Out of that grew what is now the Historic Preservation Review Board, but at one point it was joint between the federal government and the city. These were their rules for, I don’t know if it was National Register or the Joint Committee said, “No, we’re not going to include public housing.”
HOUSE: So there were other historic districts in the city at that time?
KREINHEDER: No, no.
HOUSE: This was the first one?
KREINHEDER: This was the big one. There was a movement in the city and a realization that things had to be preserved. One of the projects I worked on independently of the Restoration Society was the Lansburgh’s furniture store at the time. It’s the Masonic Temple at the northwest corner of Ninth and F Streets [NW] across from the Portrait Gallery [Lansburgh’s main buildings were on the block bounded by Seventh, Eighth, D and E Streets NW]. Dominic Antonelli wanted to tear that down for a parking lot. So I worked on saving that. Then there was all this to-do with Don’t Tear It Down.
HOUSE: That was a part of Don’t Tear It Down that you did that with?
KREINHEDER: No. It was just an independent group of people that got together and did it. Don’t Tear It Down first did the Old Post Office down where [Donald] Trump is building his magnificent hotel now. [12th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW] Then there was a great to-do about Rhodes Tavern which was across the street from the Treasury.
HOUSE: Were you involved in those?
KREINHEDER: Peripherally. Don’t Tear It Down had originally said that they didn’t think [Rhodes Tavern] was worth saving and then realized they’d made a mistake, but by then if was too late. Basically when we became an historic district, finally, and were approved and put a place on the National Register it’s very easy for me to remember because it was 1976. My birthday is the 27th of August and so it was on my birthday in 1976 that we became officially an historic district. There have been additions since then. The Navy Yard has been added, a new area up just off North Capitol Street between maybe Third and Fourth Street, H Street. I think it goes all the way up to H. Maybe only to G and Second Street. There was a little pocket up there that had not been included because that may have been part of the urban renewal district. But that’s just been added to the Capitol [Hill Historic District]. When we became an historic district we were the largest one in the country.
HOUSE: The Navy Yard itself is added or areas by the Navy Yard?
KREINHEDER: Areas by the Navy Yard. The Navy Yard is separate. It’s an entity in and of itself. One of things I didn’t mention, and I’m going to go backwards a little bit, was one of the things we did when I was involved with the Circle on the Hill I got involved with the [Prevention of Blindness Society] and we went out and did pre-school vision testing in the primary—there were several groups that met in churches that had pre-school groups in it. I did that also. Then I worked briefly for—after I finished the Historic District, I worked for the Columbia Historical Society for about a year and a half.
HOUSE: But you stopped working with NSA and then went with them?
KREINHEDER: I stopped working at NSA when our first child was born. That’s when—somebody said when I retired in 2007 [from the DAR], “Well you can do volunteer work.” I said, “I spent 20 years doing volunteer work. I’ve done my volunteer work already.” I’m trying to think what else I was involved—oh the other thing I wanted to mention that we were involved in, and very early on when I was the secretary and treasurer of the Restoration Society. The president at that time was Ed Gruis. Ed had this idea that we should do a Capitol Hill prospectus and study schools and recreation and transportation and publish something, which we did. He selected a group of people from the Hill that represented various organizations. It wasn’t all Capitol Hill people. We met at the Ebenezer Baptist Church [Ebenezer United Methodist Church]. Reverend Dyson was the minister. We’d meet there on Saturday mornings. Little groups of people would go out and come back with their reports and we ultimately did issue a report on the status of the Hill and where it might be going forward. It was a mixed group of people. The Citizen’s, Civic Associations, obviously the Baptist Church. Then there were some other independent people that had been involved in the Hill in one way or the other. We did do that publication. It’s one of the few written studies of the Hill that was ever done. Another thing that I did was when they were building the subway [Metro], they wanted to bring the subway out of, by RFK Stadium, above ground and run it up Oklahoma Avenue. It’s northeast. It’s just to the west of where the RFK parking lots are. There was a group of people—those houses up there—some of that is very interesting. It’s not part of the historic district but a lot of the houses were designed by a well-known black, very early black architect named Charles Cassell. It was primarily a black community and they didn’t want the Metro because it would be above ground running like in their front yards. They became known as the Oklahoma 500. I and Larry Monaco, who was president of the Restoration Society at that time, worked with that group of people to defeat that proposal. If you go over there now you can see where the subway comes out of the ground, but it comes out at least some distance away from the homes and it comes out in the middle of the parking lots. But it was going to run up Oklahoma Avenue.
HOUSE: When you were doing the historic district you also did some testifying did you?
KREINHEDER: I testified at the hearing. I forgot to—another person that was involved, there was a lady on the staff of the Joint Committee, her name was Charity Davidson. Charity took the Census, the federal censuses that are done. She plotted how many people were living in each block using the Census from the time people started living on Capitol Hill. So you could see the development. I would say that every ten years, every decade they moved east or north. Not necessarily so but you could almost see a pattern. Charity did all the Census work.
Anyway, when it came time to have the hearing, because there had to be a public hearing, the notice was put in the newspaper. Peter Powers was still the president of the Restoration Society. And I went to testify in front of the Joint Committee on Landmarks as to why we should give a report. The primary report work was done by Suzanne Ganschinietz. She’s the one that did the—and she had slides of various houses, the properties and she did formal presentation. We were testifying on behalf of the Restoration Society. I went with Peter and there was absolutely no one there in opposition. We just did our presentation and Peter said, “And Hazel learned everything she knows about Capitol Hill by walking the streets.” That brought the house down. After we became an historic district, Doug Wheeler who is an attorney I believe, but anyway, he knew all the legal things, what you had to do and paperwork and so on. He became chair of the Historic Preservation Committee. Every time somebody put in an application for a change to their property—now unfortunately has never been any restriction. You could paint your house purple if you wanted to. Color didn’t play into it. But any other modifications to the exterior of the house had to be approved by the Joint Committee on Landmarks which ultimately morphed into the Historic Preservation Review [Board]. We had a committee and we’d take turns and we’d study these proposals and we’d go down and testify about them. One of the ones that I was involved with was Brown AME Church was at 14th [Street] and North Carolina [Avenue] NE just at the end of the boundary. Those people wanted to tear down two houses on North Carolina Avenue and two houses on Constitution Avenue in order to expand their property. Of course we didn’t want houses torn down. Tom Simmons was—I think Tom Simmons had become president of the Restoration Society. If not, he was very active. Tom made some drawing as to how they could incorporate these houses and have office space. He did this pro bono. Tom did these drawings and we had several meetings with the church. Then when they came in—well actually, I’m putting the cart before the horse because they came in with their proposal. They wanted for the demolition of the properties. I was the one that got to testify on that. They made the point that they needed the extra space for activities in the church. There were several men there and they kept whispering to one and another. Finally somebody said—I could hear them saying, “Ask her how long she’s lived here. Ask her how long she’s lived here.” By this time it’s late, maybe 1977, ’78, something like that. So they finally did ask me how long I’d lived there, lived on the Hill. I said, “1963.” And it turned out I had lived on the Hill longer than any of them, because they thought I was a newcomer and I was going to take over the Hill. Turned out I had lived here longer, so it backfired on them. It was after that that Tom tried to meet with them and he did the drawings and everything. The Restoration Society and the Joint Committee did really work with groups. Subsequently, long after my day that the two house on North Carolina Avenue were torn down.
We had another church. It was called Wilson, it’s on 11th Street on the east side and it’s across from the Tyler School playground. They wanted to put some kind of siding on their church because the water was leaking in. Instead of the we worked with them and Suzanne again, bless her soul, she was on this Historic Preservation Board, got them a grant so that they could have the church re-pointed or fixed so they didn’t have to put siding on it. So they really did work with the community to try to help.
[The following paragraph is edited from statements that accidentally conflated two separate neighborhood challenges to inappropriate development on the site bounded by 14th Street, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Potomac Avenue SE, the 21st century location of Jenkins Row condominiums and Harris Teeter grocery store. References to a neighborhood challenge to Boys Town, which took place from 1999 to 2003, were removed; Hazel was not involved in that. The efforts she describes, to prevent a very large structure on that same site, occurred in the early to mid-1970s.]
We had another incident back, oh even before the Historic District, where local realtor Beau Bogan wanted to build a big building down at 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue. I went around all over the place getting petitions to get people to sign to oppose that. We worked very closely with the Southeast Civic Association, which was a black organization because there were a lot of black people living out in that area at that time. A man named Peter Craig, who was a very brilliant lawyer, did a lot of pro bono work for the Restoration Society and the Civic Association. We had to go down and testify about that before the City Council [most likely testimony was before the Zoning Commission]. We won that battle. It’s now the Jenkins Hill development apartments and so on is on that site. For a long time Beau Bogan had a car wash down there.
Those are the things that I was involved in primarily on the Hill. Our neighborhood—we saw a lot of houses come down in the 1960s. Older …
END OF TAPE 1/SIDE 2
TAPE 2/SIDE 1
HOUSE: You were talking about the beer garden?
KREINHEDER: Yes, and I’m going to talk more about that when I get to my neighbors because that person who owned the beer garden lived in Lincoln Park neighborhood so I’ll pick up on that. And then we decided we would just go forward with my professional career which will move more quickly because a lot of it doesn’t involve the Hill.
You had asked me about the Columbia Historical Society. When I went to work for the Historical Society, I was just a three day employee who worked in their library and they were at the Heurich House on New Hampshire Avenue [NW]. They just needed somebody to work in the office and they knew that I had done all this research on Capitol Hill so they asked me to work there. That didn’t work out very well because I still had children at home and I only was working three days a week and they decided they wanted a full time employee. So I began working as a freelancer for a woman named Mary Mitchell who was writing books on Georgetown. And because I had done so much research both at the National Archives and with the newspaper collection at the Library of Congress when I was working on the Historic District, Mary would give me assignments of things she wanted me to read—newspapers at the Library of Congress—which worked out fine. The Evening Star newspaper often had a Georgetown column. She was looking for specific things about Georgetown. So I worked for Mary for about a couple of years, I guess. Then it was time for my older son to go to college and I decided maybe I should get a job to help pay for his college. Saw this ad in the paper for a researcher and I answered it and it turned out to be the Daughters of the American Revolution [DAR]. I knew very little about them because I was not a member. But I knew how to do research. They asked me to come in for an interview. I typed up this resume of all the records I had used. In the course of my historic district research I had used land records and Census records and probate records. Actually I used a lot of more sophisticated things than DAR; that I needed initially to work at DAR.
So I went down and applied. I put down three references. I put down Mary Mitchell because I had been working for her and she knew what kind of work I could do. I put down Peter Powers because he was involved with all this historic stuff in the city and he had been president of the Restoration Society. And I put down a man named Jimmy Walker. Well, it turned out that Jimmy Walker was the genealogical consultant at the National Archives. So of course I knew none of these people at DAR but they were all impressed with the people that I did know and had worked for. So I got the job as genealogist; started out as a genealogist. The other thing that I did put down was that my husband and I and also the interest of our older son who had been asked to bring his family history in the third grade and tell about his family—we had been doing a lot on our own family so we’d been collecting birth certificates and death certificates and talking to family members. But I had all this experience in very sophisticated records from having done the Capitol Hill Historic District.
Now I didn’t really know a heck of a lot about the Revolutionary War because my history background was all European and international law. [laughs] Anyway I knew the techniques. So they hired me. I began working as just a regular genealogist. What we did was we looked at applications from prospective members who wanted to join the society. They had to prove that they were descended from somebody who supported the American cause in the American Revolution. But basically all I had to do was take the lineage back to somebody who was already approved as a Revolutionary War soldier or patriot, which I did for many years. The thing is the applications were all piled up and you went and were supposed to take the top one. Anyway you start with the applicant and her lineage back to a Revolutionary War patriot. The easy ones were—oh and then we were take—all the applications were in a pile and you’re supposed to that the one on top and work on it.
We had a lot of genealogists who were interested in Virginia. So they would grab the ones that had anything to do Virginia, even out of order, which left the southern states of North Carolina and Georgia, which nobody wanted to work on, to me because everybody had grabbed every—and then we had a couple people that would grab the ones from New England, which I knew more about. I got to learn a lot about North Carolina and Georgia research because nobody else wanted to do those until one day the boss decided this isn’t going to work and he began assigning them and gave me all the Virginia ones to work on. So I learned about Virginia. Then gradually as you stayed there you learned more about research, lineages—I would say one of the interesting things I learned about was migrations all over the country and who married whom and that sort of thing. Then we would go back originally, when I started, you went back a revolutionary patriot that somebody had already proven that they were a patriot. And gradually you would get to the point where you had to prove a new patriot that nobody had ever used before. So I really became quite an expert on Revolutionary War history and records and who did what and who served with whom. It was an interesting job and part of the thing I liked about working there was—it’s known as a conservative organization, but if you split that organization I would say half of the people are Democrats and half of them are Republicans. That’s the way our office was and we never talked politics. We just never talked. That was not part of our job and we didn’t talk about it in the office.
HOUSE: You worked there quite a while, right?
KREINHEDER: I was there for 26 years. Then we had a project to identify blacks and American Indians who had supported the cause of independence. One person on the staff was assigned to that project. Various and sundry other staff members were to assist her with the various colonies. I assisted her with Massachusetts and Connecticut. Another one did Rhode Island. We broke them down by states. She got about half way through the project and decided to retire, at which point I had probably been working with her more than anybody else and I was called to the president’s office and said, “You’re now in charge of finishing this project.” Fortunately my predecessor’s expertise had been in the south and she had done most of the southern states. She had done New Hampshire. She was in the middle of Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey when she decided to leave, so I had to finish that one. But she’d left the big ones of Pennsylvania and New York to the last because she thought they were going to be more complicated. I spent about ten years working on the project.
In the meantime, they decided that the Hispanics from Colorado, or descendants of Hispanic settlers of Texas, Colorado and New Mexico wanted to get into this action too, so we should do Spanish. We already had a group working in France. We had very good records on the French who had supported the Revolution. So then we got involved with what we called the Spanish Task Force. I’ve spent about ten years working on those, what ultimately became to be known as ethnic and minorities. I went around and gave lectures at various groups and conferences and so on.
But two of the most interesting experiences I had, were actually three, but the two most interesting was, I was invited out to Green Bay, Wisconsin because they had a difference between the Oneida group out there and the DAR. Somebody had told the Oneidas that all Oneidas supported the American Revolution and you can all just come in and join. That’s not the way it works. You got to prove that you’re descended from one of these people. [laughs] So anyway I went out and spent a week with the Oneida Indians in Green Bay. It was absolutely fascinating. They have a beautiful site out there. They have a casino but it’s separated from their research facilities. And they have school. It was really a very, very interesting experience. Then the Oneidas of New York found out that I had been to Green Bay, so the wanted me to come to upstate New York which is around the Utica area where they have their big casino. Their casino is part of the hotel. It was a lot more hectic there. But again the people were extremely nice. I got to go to an Indian pow-wow that weekend when I was there for that event. It was really interesting to meet these people and see their facilities and get to know them. I made some really good friends from those experiences.
I did go to the Fox Woods for a conference in Connecticut, but that was more of a conference. It wasn’t meeting with the people of the nation itself. Of that whole project it think—and we put together an exhibit at DAR that was called “Forgotten Patriots” and we had both the people that were supporting the black patriots, Revolutionary War Memorial which has still never been built, and some of these native Americans, American Indians. It was very interesting. I asked the Indians do you want to be called Native Americans or American Indians and how should be title this book that we were now working on? They said, “Use the title, American Indians. Don’t use Native Americans,” which I thought was very interesting. That was an interesting part of my career there. So I would do that and I would do the lectures on how to prove Revolutionary War service and go around giving my speeches here and there.
My husband had been retired from NSA for a long time. He really wanted me to retire. The kids were out of college. We were having a new [DAR] president come in and I thought this—DAR elects a new executive board every three years. I thought this is a good time to make a break. Bob was kind of bugging me on and wanting me to retire. They were going to computers and I didn’t want to spend all my days sitting in front of a computer. So in 2007 I decided to retire and I said “I want to leave while I’m on top.” I don’t want someone to say, ”Oh, she’s an old lady and we’ve got to force her out.” So, I left. They asked me when I left what I was going to do after that. I said, “It’s like in the Sound of Music, when a door [closes] another window opens.” I said, “I want to go back and reconnect with my community because when I was working I was spending 12 hours a day probably between commuting and the office and working at home, researching stuff at home at night. I’d really lost touch with Capitol Hill. So Bob and I had heard about the Capitol Hill Village being formed just from the Hill Rag or something, or maybe Restoration Society newsletter. Somehow we knew that it was being formed. There was going to be a meeting over in the North Hall of the Market [Eastern Market].
HOUSE: I was there.
KREINHEDER: We decided we would go over and listen to hear what they said. We thought that would be a good idea for us to join. I guess, and you may remember since you were there, if they gave a piece of paper and ask you if you wanted to volunteer or what you could do or something. I just said that I could work in an office. I could help out in the office. So they took me up on it and I was one of the very first office volunteers at Capitol Hill Village. We went and we joined. The office was in the Seventh Street [SE]. So I went and I was to work like two or three hours, half a day on Monday and somebody else was to work another half a day. But she couldn’t always come and I said, “Well I’m here. If I’m going to sit here and eat my lunch I might as well just sit here for the rest of the day and work all day long.” Basically my job was to—I did some compiled paper because we used to give out packets of information to prospective members. Helped with office tasks, but basically—run the photo copier—but basically answer the telephone and take requests for whatever the Village member wanted. Or we’d get phone calls from people that were interested in joining. Or, “My great aunt lives there and can you help her out because I live in West Virginia.” So there were those kinds of calls.
Gail Kohn was the executive director. When we first started out the first month Gail and I were there and we’d talk to one and another because we didn’t know one and another ahead of time. And the phone would seldom ring. By the time I left three years later the phone was ringing constantly. It was kind of interesting as more people knew about the Village and became members and needed various and sundry things, requests for services. I mostly manned the telephone. I could also use the computer and I could look up things that we needed to find out about, but I did not want to do data entry because it’s just too much strain on the eyes as far as I’m concerned. So I basically manned the telephone and through that got to know a lot of the members. It was very interesting because there were people like Sharon House who’s interviewing me today, whom I never knew until I joined Capitol Hill Village, and she’s been a resident of the Hill for maybe as long as I have. There were a lot of people like that that I never knew. I never knew the Cannings. Bob came in ’58 but basically I came in ’63. I didn’t know the Lewises. I didn’t know the Cannings. I didn’t know a lot of the people that—I did know Nancy Metzger because of historic preservation. But there are people like Larry Molumby who was the treasurer that I had known through Restoration Society or something that I hadn’t seen for 20 years. There were others that I hadn’t seen for a long, long time that—with whom I reconnected.
It turned out to be a very interesting experience and we thought that this is something that will be useful for us to support because it’s a good thing for Capitol Hill to have. Neighbors supporting neighbors. I had grown up in small town New England where neighbors did the same sort of thing. And even in my neighborhood on Capitol Hill—I had an elderly lady that I used to drive around to her doctor’s appointments. So we were doing, informally, doing lots of these kinds of things. Well after I’d been working in the office for about three years, my husband had major open heart surgery with complications afterward which I don’t have to go into. To make a long story short, he was hospitalized and in rehab for three and a half months and came home very run down and weak and needed a lot of things. While Bob was in the hospital I received a lot of support from Capitol Hill Village. One person I want to specially mention is Pam Weiss who checked on me every day to make sure that I had everything I needed. I would get rides to the hospital or Washington Home where Bob was after for rehab. After he came home we had numerous doctor’s appointments. So, Capitol Hill Village was the lifesaver because they transported us, provided us rides to all of these hundreds of doctor’s appointments to the hospitals. It would have been much more difficult without the support that we received from Capitol Hill Village. Finally we got to the point where they could drop us off some place and we could take a cab home. But at first people were taking us and collecting us. We had one incident while Bob was hospitalized that I had an emergency and had to get to the hospital. Late on a Saturday night I called Geoff Lewis and he immediately—he said, “Don’t panic I’ll be there right away and I’ll come and get you and I’ll take you up there and we’ll see what’s going on.” To me Geoff Lewis is a saint because he helped us through a very rough patch.
HOUSE: He was one of the founders.
KREINHEDER: He was one of the founders. Of course when I was working in the office Geoff was living—he lived on Sixth Street [SE]. He would come by quite often to check in the office because he was the president. I had gotten to know him quite well. The Village people just were there when I really needed them. I had neighbors that were also there, but it was primarily Capitol Hill Village people. When we joined we had no idea that we were going to need, in three years we were going to need the help that we needed. Then Bob was not able to drive and I had to have cataract surgery so people from the Village took me, along with some neighbors, took me to the grocery store, and so I guess I couldn’t drive after I had my cataract surgery. Even before I had my cataract surgery. Particularly the transportation. We had other people, we had people even went and picked up groceries for us and things. It turned out to be a wonderful thing and we still support it as we can. I help with some of the proofreading and will go in the office a do little things. My life is such that I can’t go in an volunteer on a regular basis. I’ve met so many people that I didn’t know, and wonderful people, and have made whole new group of friends from that organization. That pretty much brings me up to date now.
HOUSE: The group that you’ve supported of course is the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill Project itself. You’ve done some work in getting some of your old interviews, right? Getting them posted.
KREINHEDER: Right. In the course of the Historic District project I’ve mentioned that we did oral histories. They had all been transcribed. Most of them had been transcribed and typed up. But they weren’t in any form to be entered into the computers because back in those days we didn’t have computers. Put on the internet. Now they’re on [the Overbeck Project website]. I knew that I had them and that they should be someplace where—I was certainly aware of the oral history project on the Hill. One of the things I did after I retired, I said, “I really want this material to be someplace as part of this project.” Bernadette McMahon had been after me for some time to do …
HOUSE: Bernadette McMahon who’s the project coordinator.
KREINHEDER: Project coordinator, who had been after me for some time to do an oral history anyway. I said, “I have all these that we need to work into the system.” She and Sharon House and Paula Causey and I met. Paula agreed, or was volunteered to digitize all these oral histories that I had because all I had—I did have the original tapes and Bernadette did make copies of the tapes that I had. But I also had transcriptions. So Paula took all of them. I think it took us about two years to work through them particularly since I had some tapes that I had done that had never been transcribed at all.
HOUSE: Some of them were just typed on a typewriter not electronically.
KREINHEDER: Yeah. They were typed on a typewriter and I had tapes. But then I had some tapes that had never been even typed on a typewriter. Paula spent a great deal of time working on them. We worked together on editing and she did research to look up some locations that some of the people mentioned as so on. She was a wonderful person to work with. We worked very well together. We finally—I can’t remember—maybe it was I think 2014 when we finally got the project finished because I had given everybody the material just before Bob had his major surgery and I was really not in any position to do anything for quite a long period of time.
HOUSE: How many interviews was that?
KREINHEDER: Maybe seven or eight. Certainly no more that ten. [The ten 1970s interviews are summarized and posted on the Overbeck Project website.]
HOUSE: Ones done back in the early 70s.
KREINHEDER: They were all done in the 1970s. Some of them were done after the Historic District [was established], but one of them was done when I was working at the Columbia Historical Society, because one of the members of their board had grown up on the Hill and knew a great deal about the Hill. So I did interview him afterward because he had so much information to share. He was a doctor and he recommended—and also a graduate of Eastern High School, I think maybe class of 1912. That’s Doctor Ramsey. He mentioned Clarence Rice who was also a physician. It turned out that Clarence Rice had lived down my block. So I interviewed Clarence Rice because I was just personally interested in what he had to say. This was done after the Historic District had been created. Those were only on tapes. They had never been transcribed. Then we did some more interviews with the Leukhardts, and I mentioned that in context of the Yost house. Also when we obtained the Yost house, so some of that was done after the historic district was created.
HOUSE: Shall we move on to some of the subjects that you have been involved in? Topics around the Hill?
KREINHEDER: I started to mention the beer garden, so I’ll pick up from there. As I said, I live in the 100 block of Kentucky Avenue SE. We talked about the house around the corner was prostituting, gambling, bootlegger. But at 12th and Independence was the Carry Mansion. It was a huge mansion and it was owned by Carry who owned a beer garden up about where—he’d been involved with the beer garden near where Stuart Hobson Junior High is located now. But he also had a beer garden where the Safeway is at 14th and Kentucky [SE]. When the prohibition came along he had to stop running his beer operation, and he turned it into an ice cream factory. Ultimately the ice cream factory went out of business and the Safeway bought the property and is there now.
Carry had this big mansion on 12th, the northwest corner of 12th and Independence. When the neighborhood began to go down and he died, the family decided they didn’t want to live on Capitol Hill anymore, that big mansion became effectively a rooming house. There were all kinds of people living there. Not always the best class of people and the building was starting to deteriorate. The house immediately to the north was known as the Didden Homestead. Diddens—these are the Diddens of the National Capital Bank. One of the Carry's daughters married a Didden. Carry build the house next door for his daughter and her family, her husband. [Unintelligible] So they had these two properties there. The Didden house was never a run down as the Carry house. Saint Mark’s Church bought the Didden house to use as a rectory. When Jim Adams was the pastor or the minister at Saint Mark’s Church, he lived in that house with his family. Then ultimately Saint Mark’s sold the house and it’s just privately owned now. But the Carry Mansion was torn down in the 1960s. Barrett Linde who was building row houses all over the Hill—
HOUSE: The kinds with the driveways in front.
KREINHEDER: The kind with the driveways. There’s a bunch up on 11th Street below South Carolina. There’s another group up by Marion Park. And he built four houses on the site of what had been the Carry Mansion. If you go around the Hill and you see these groups of four or six houses you know these are Barrett Linde houses. There’s some over on Eighth Street SE I think also that he did. He would take an old, large structure …
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TAPE 2/SIDE 2
KREINHEDER: Barrett when the—primarily in the 1960s I would say, because we had a doctor that we went to that lived in one of them. He did any number of groups around on the Hill and they all looked the same. Because at that time if you built a new structure you had to provide parking. He had to get curb cuts and these driveways so people could drive in which is why we have all these curb cuts around on the Hill [laughs]. That of course has gone out of style. At that time he was required by law to provide the parking. He did that.
HOUSE: If you built a house you were required to provide parking?
KREINHEDER: You were, at that time. For instance, Tom Simmons who was—he lived in the 300 block of Ninth Street SE—was an architect. He built a very modern house, but he had to; his house in that block also has parking. You had to provide the parking, the driveway. Oh, there’s another group of, another place that he, Barrett Linde did was over on Eighth Street. He did a whole lot on Eighth Street between C and D. Bob Michel, former minority leader of Congress, lives in one of them. That had been the site of St. Cyprian’s School which is a Catholic school. It belonged to St. Cyprian’s Church which was a black church and the church was the corner of C and 13th Street SE. It was a beautiful structure. I don’t know that I was ever in it. Also that church was torn down and a whole group of the Barrett Linde houses were built at 13th and C SE. St. Cyprian’s merged with Holy Comforter which was another Catholic school. They were at 14th and East Capitol I believe. Then Holy Comforter Church closed their school and it’s now, whoever’s in it, it’s some kind of a charter school now. The two schools merged. St. Cyprian’s [School] was a much older looking structure. I think of it as a very dark red brick building. There were those kinds of houses [Barrett Linde-style] being built all over the place. When the restoration movement began on Capitol Hill it’s very interesting because people were leaving Capitol Hill because the movement to the suburbs had started after the Second World War. Brown vs the Board of Education was a big factor in a lot of families moving out. They didn’t want their kids to go to—the schools had been segregated. So families moved out. So you had this transition period. But in the meantime you had a group of people coming in close to the Capitol who were coming in to restore houses.
One of the people involved with this was Curley Boswell whose family had lived in the unit block of D Street SE for—I think his great-grandparents, his grandparents may have lived there. The idea was, well we should restore this but we should be like Georgetown. So they began to put all these Federal doorways and cornices and so on—on Victorian houses. Some of them still exist today. That was the early, part of the early restoration movement. We were going to look like Georgetown. As things evolved people realized we didn’t look like Georgetown. If you were going to preserve your house you should have it look like it looked when it was originally built. But you get the windows and the broken pediment doors and you’ll still see them on places on the Hill. Some of those houses maybe it was the right thing for the house. But in many cases it was totally inappropriate. That was the early restoration movement.
I must say that the real estate community here was very supportive of the Restoration Society and the renovations in the historic district. It was worth their while to be supportive because they were in business to sell houses. Now a lot of the real estate community doesn’t like the idea of historic preservation and they want to convert and they want to do pop-ups. But initially they wanted to—the various real estate companies were very supportive of the Hill being restored to its earlier look. I mentioned earlier that gradually the movement moved away from the Capitol and the Navy Yard and expanded to the east and to the north. There still are some very old houses down by the Navy Yard because people live close to where they worked or the Marine Barracks. I won’t go into the townhouses on Capitol Hill [Ellen Wilson/Townhomes on Capitol Hill Hope VI project] because I wasn’t involved with that, but that’s another group of people and I’m sure there are people that live closer that know more about those than I did.
The schools were segregated. One of the things I mentioned earlier that I met Pastor Dyson at Ebenezer Church when we were doing the Capitol Hill prospectus. They had, Ebenezer Church had the first [public] school for black children in the city.
HOUSE: That’s the AME church at Fourth and D Streets [SE].
KREINHEDER: It’s Fourth and D Streets. They decided they wanted an historic designation for their church. So I worked with them on that. They contacted me because Pastor Dyson had met me, and they contacted me. I worked with them and did some historical research for them so they could get their historic designation. I’m not sure what’s happening. It’s now, I think it’s now more affiliated with Capitol Hill Methodist which faces Seward Square but at the time I was involved with them they were separate entities.
[Some dialog about the correct name of the church was removed here. Further research shows that the church in question is Ebenezer United Methodist Church, at Fourth and D Streets SE.]
KREINHEDER: As far as the schools. My children would have been starting school in the 1960s. At that time you could only go to your local school. There were not lotteries, out-of-boundaries, anything else. The Brent School was getting going. People in the community getting interested in improving that. But we were out-of-boundary for Brent School. Our local school would have been the Bryan School which had, at the time my son would have started school, about 1,000 kids going to school there. One of the things that Circle on the Hill did, we began to look at the schools and we visited various schools to see what they were like. I went to the Bryan School. The principal was very nice. Some of the schools didn’t want to let us in. But I met with the principal or the assistant principal at Bryan School. She was a very gracious lady. But she said, “I wouldn’t put my …” The school administration told me they would not suggest that I send my kid there. He would be the only white kid, or one of the very handful of white children in a school with 1,000 black kids and it would be very, very difficult for him. They were quite blunt about it.
During that time period, two schools were being formed on the Hill. One was called Christ Church Washington Parish School, which was at Christ Church on the 600 block of G [Street SE]. The other was a school that was starting at Reformation Church. It was a Reformation Lutheran church. They were starting with the lower grades with the idea of adding a grade or two. My older son started at Washington Parish School because the one at Reformation hadn’t started by the time he was ready to go. His pediatrician thought he should be, not in a play group kind of thing, in a regular school. So they started a kindergarten. They didn’t have a pre-school. So he went to kindergarten for two years. By the time he got to first grade, the one at Reformation Church and Washington Parish had merged into Capitol Hill Day School, although they were still using the two churches. The lower grades were at Reformation Church and the upper grades were at Christ Church. They went up to sixth grade. My younger son went to the lower grades at Reformation Church. They used as their playground the Capitol grounds. I’m not sure they would be allowed to do that in these days.
HOUSE: How many people were in these schools? How many children?
KREINHEDER: I would say there were about 20 kids in each class.
HOUSE: And they met in the social hall?
KREINHEDER: In the social halls, yeah.
HOUSE: So they divided them up somehow?
KREINHEDER: Right. They had room divider kind of things. In Christ Church one class was up on the stage. Reformation Church had more rooms. They had some rooms that they could use as classrooms. Christ Church did have a parking lot behind it that they could use for a playground area. They went as far as the sixth grade. Some of the parents wanted the school to go to the eight grade. They decided that they would look for another site. They hit upon the Dent School which is down at Garfield Park. I did some research for them on the history of that school because it was being used; it was owned by the District [of Columbia] but it was being used as a storage facility or something. It wasn’t being used for school purposes. They finally decided to lease, I believe it was a lease from the District, to move all of Capitol Hill Day School to the Dent School and give up the church sites which were becoming less adequate for the idea the school had. One of the things—and then of course the public schools—a group split off from the Capitol Hill Day School. They really wanted to support, give more support to the public schools. The other thing they wanted was they wanted daycare after school. When my kids started they were—most of the parents were home.
HOUSE: Mothers at least.
KREINHEDER: Yeah, mothers at least. Not everybody, but most of them. There was as group that decided they needed after school daycare. They got very active with Peabody School [Fifth and C Streets NE, at Stanton Park]. Then they got active in the Watkins School [12th and E Streets SE] and they formed the Cluster Schools with Stuart Hobson [Fourth and E Streets NE]. So gradually from one school to another, groups of people that lived in those neighborhoods began to support the school in the neighborhood in which they lived. There weren’t many local kids. There weren’t an awful lot of local white kids that went to Hine [Junior High School, between Seventh, Eighth and D Streets SE], to either of the junior high middle schools until this cluster school business became, got involved then they started going, a lot of kids started going to Stuart Hobson. Now some are going to [Eliot-Hine Middle School at Constitution Avenue and 17th Street NE] after the Hine school on Seventh Street was closed.
I saw the old Hine School built and I saw the old Hine School come down. It had a wonderful auditorium in it. They had a principal, they called her Princess. [Princess Whitfield was principal of Hine from 1982–1995.] She would go around the school with a bullhorn, and boy she really kept those kids in shape. They had a wonderful school band. They used to march in parades and stuff. Eastern [Senior] High School [East Capitol Street and 17th Street NE] has had its ups and downs. They had a very good principal who was transferred out to an administrative position. But there’s more going on at Eastern High now, so we’ll just see what happens at the school. Later, my next door neighbor’s children went to high school [at Eastern], black family that lived next door. By the time youngest daughter was ready for high school they sent her to a Catholic school. A lot of our kids on the Hill that are the age of my children would have been going to high school in 1970s, 80s went either to Catholic schools or private schools. They didn’t go to the public.
HOUSE: Don’t we have St. Peter’s right here on the Hill?
KREINHEDER: We had a number of kids that went to St. Peter’s. But even St. Peter’s then those kids would go to private Catholic schools. A lot of the boys went to Gonzaga [College High School at North Capitol and I Streets NW] which is pretty close to the Hill. Notre Dame which is next door to Gonzaga; I knew a few older girls that went there but I don’t know exactly what happened with Notre Dame but Gonzaga, of course, is still going strong. It’s a well known school. Most of the kids—St. Peter’s did go, I believe—you maybe know more about St. Peter’s than I do. I think it did go up to eighth [grade]. I think it did even in the time my kids were in school. And you’re right; there were a lot of kids that went to St. Peter’s School. That pretty much takes care of the schools unless you have any questions on that.
We had various community organizations and I’ve alluded to some. We had the Citizens Association and the Civic Association which were divided by race.
HOUSE: Which is which?
KREINHEDER: Citizens was white and there may be still some Citizens Associations around but not on the Hill. The Civic Association was black and it lasted longer. The Citizens Association and the Restoration Society were together a little bit. I have one story that I want to tell about them because they got together; those organizations got together to fight the Southeast Freeway which was going to be—the east leg.
HOUSE: Both of them?
KREINHEDER: Yeah. They sort of worked together. It was actually the Citizens I think that really took the leadership on that. The freeway was supposed to go along Virginia Avenue, which is where it was built. Then there was supposed to be an east leg that would come up 11th Street. Actually between 10th and 11th Streets. All of those houses would have been destroyed to build this east leg of the freeway which would have split what we know now as—what I call greater Capitol Hill. Some people say greater Capitol Hill, some say Hill East. But it would have been this whole community east of the United States Capitol. It would have divided the community had this road been built. So the organizations that were here—we’re talking late 50s, early 1960s that this proposal. One of the people instrumental in defeating that was Peter Glickert who lived at the corner of 11th and Independence. It’s probably in Peter’s interview but there’s a good story about this. As I said, my husband’s former roommates were living in Peter’s and Bette’s house, in their apartment. Peter was protesting this dramatically. One day he went out and he hung one of the city commissioner’s—at that time we had three commissioners running the city. We had an engineer commissioner that was in charge of these roads. And he hung the engineer commissioner in effigy at the intersection of Independence and 11th Street. And he got arrested for doing so because it was illegal; it was at that time illegal to hang someone in effigy in the District of Columbia. So that’s why Peter was arrested.
Philadelphia Row was a very interesting group of houses. They were there and they were built in 1862. But most of them, when Peter and Bette first moved over there, were painted battleship gray and used it as rooming houses. There were people starting to buy houses in that row. But a lot of them were this battleship gray. Now of course they’ve been restored. I don’t know that those houses would have been torn down, but they certainly would have been impacted had that freeway been built. There was a [Capitol Hill] Community Council, and some of these various organizations on the Hill belonged to this Community Council. I can remember going to a meeting of the Community Council at the Congregational Church at the corner of 10th and Massachusetts Avenue [NE]. It’s a beautiful building. It had a bowling alley and I think it may have even had a swimming pool. Then gradually people got older. They died. They moved to the suburbs and the building began to go downhill. It was ultimately bought by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. They have absolutely done a fantastic job of restoring that structure.
We had a number of organizations on the Hill, and I’ve already mentioned the Circle on the Hill. The Community Council was quite active and we had the Civic and Citizens. I’m not sure if there’s anybody in the Civic Association. The Civic Association was around—a lot of people lived around Payne School [14th and C Streets SE] in the eastern part of the Hill and they lasted really longer than the Citizens Association. They used to meet at the Payne School because I went to some of their meetings.
I have entertainment, recreation, parades [on a list of things to discuss]. At one point after the trolleys stopped running we tried to get the Car Barn as a community center but were never successful, obviously, in doing it. It would have been an early edition of the Hill Center [Pennsylvania Avenue and 10th Street, SE] as a recreation center. We did have the Boys and Girls Club down at—it was Boys Club first and then it became Boys and Girls—at 17th and Massachusetts [Avenue SE]. Then of course there was Friendship House that had a lot of activities for young people. There were some that were in conjunction with the schools. One of the entertainment things that happened in my neighborhood, in the Lincoln Park neighborhood, Halloween’s always been a big time no matter where you live in the world, in the country. The kids used to go door to door on Halloween to collect their treats. Two women in our neighborhood got a bright idea. They decided they would have the Halloween in the alley between Kentucky Avenue and 12th Street SE. One of the movers in this was Diana Quinn who lives [on] East Capitol Street. Her house faces Lincoln Park. She works for CBS and she had all these things. Like she had a casket and all these things that she could get from CBS from their various programmers. Then she had audio equipment that she got. She had a friend named Amy and I can’t remember …
HOUSE: CVS the pharmacy?
KREINHEDER: No CBS, Columbia Broadcasting. She’s now a big shot there. She’s always worked for CBS. So she could get all these tape recorders and things to make noises. There was a lady named Amy, and I can’t remember Amy’s last name [Jagodnik], who lived on 12th Street [112 12th Street SE]. They got together and they put this whole thing; and they would go in the alley and they would decorate it. They’d do spider webs across the alley. Everybody that lived on those streets, instead of standing in front of your house, everybody would go out behind their house into alley with their treats. The kids would come through the alley and it would be all dark and spooky and they’d have these sound recordings going [unintelligible]. Really was great fun for the kids. Then other people found out about it and busloads of children would appear from all over the city to go through this alley. So finally they had to stop it because it no longer was a neighborhood event and there just were too many kids to handle. But it was a neat thing while it went on. The children really enjoyed it a great deal. So that’s one of the things that they did.
The circus parade used to come around Lincoln Park because the circus was at the Armory [East Capitol Street beyond 19th Street SE]. You’d see the calliopes and the elephants. Eastern High School band always paraded around as far as Lincoln Park at least. They would parade when they were going to have football games and so on. They still come out to Lincoln Park and the band practices.
HOUSE: The circus went from the train station to the Armory?
KREINHEDER: Yeah, yeah. Not all but the elephants and the calliopes. Then they’d have some trapeze artists dressed up and so on. It wasn’t the whole circus parade but it was a parade. You could hear them coming and run up to the corner and see them go by. When my kids were small they went to Uline Arena [Third and M Streets NE]. That’s where the circus was. We never saw the circus parade up there but we would see it when they came from Union Station to the Stadium Armory [Metro station that now is next to the Armory]. They were there. Now I think they go to Verizon Center [Seventh and F Streets NW]. So we don’t have the circus parade anymore. We would have—of course, there were the Marine Barracks parades. The Marines particularly were very nice …
HOUSE: The parades meaning the ceremonies they do on their grounds.
KREINHEDER: The Sunset parades. They would also—if we had some event going on, on the Hill they would also provide a small group to come and participate. Then of course we had the concerts on the Capitol grounds. One of my first dates with my husband was to go to a concert on the Capitol grounds because I was living at that Young Women’s Christian Home which was practically across the street. We had a lot of that kind of entertainment.
Then I wanted to talk about some of the businesses. And particularly, I mean, we all know about the businesses that were on Pennsylvania Avenue. We had the five and ten which was tremendous loss at Seventh and Pennsylvania, the Kresge’s because you could go in there and buy all kinds of notions. One of the most prosperous real estate agents on the Hill was Arline Roback. Arline Roback always bought her window shades at the Kresge’s. She could have afforded them from anyplace but she loved going to Kresge’s. There was a place that we particularly liked called the Zebra Shop which was where the—oh that market business that has the photo studio upstairs. I think there’s a shoemaker in there. It’s called Market Square, market something [Market Place]. It’s behind—it’s just to the west of where the CVS store is.
HOUSE: Oh, right here on Pennsylvania [600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE, south side of the street].
KREINHEDER: Yeah, right on Pennsylvania. There was a shop in that area that was called the Zebra Shop. It was a gift shop and a card shop. It was a wonderful card shop. Of course there was Trover [221 Pennsylvania Avenue SE]. But for us the Zebra Shop was a lot closer than going all the way down to Trover.
HOUSE: There’s still a card shop upstairs there now. MotoPhoto in there.
KREINHEDER: Yeah MotoPhoto moved up there [renamed Capitol Hill Frame & Photo], but this one was a much, much bigger card shop. Of course people didn’t have computers so they weren’t sending email cards and this kind of thing. I wanted to mention the drug store because Bob mentioned that there used to be a lunch bar in there. I never remembered it.
HOUSE: What kind of bar?
KREINHEDER: A lunch bar. He remembered it from when he lived on G Street. I do remember one thing specifically about that CVS which was Peoples, and Peoples had these stores all over the city of Washington. When you came in a plane from the northeast, the planes came in over Capitol Hill. They were so low coming in over that drug store that you could read the clock on that drug store and the plane came in to land at National Airport. When Bob lived on G Street and I lived in northwest he would call me. If a plane was going over it was so low over his house you couldn’t talk on the phone until the plane went over. But, you could literally read that clock coming in over Capitol Hill in a plane.
HOUSE: Where was the clock, off the front?
KREINHEDER: It was off the front up over the front door. There’s still something up there that’s a round circle. But it was a clock, a regular clock that was up there.
HOUSE: I think we need to take a break now.
END OF TAPE 2/SIDE 2
END OF INTERVIEW 1
TAPE 3/SIDE 1
HOUSE: We’re here to do a continuation of the interview started earlier with Hazel Kreinheder as part of the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Today is February 2nd, , and we’re at my house. My name is Sharon House. So we were talking last time about businesses and you had told us about the Peoples, the Kresge’s, and [unintelligible]. Did you want to go ahead and talk about things from then, Hazel?
KREINHEDER: OK. I don’t know if I mentioned the Safeway which was on Seventh Street [SE] directly across from Eastern Market. It was a small Safeway. There was also a Safeway on Eighth Street, and I had an interesting experience there. My then boyfriend, now my husband, lived in the 600 block of G Street SE and he was at work and his roommate and I were going to make dinner and I said we needed a pound of sugar for whatever we were baking or something. And George said it wasn’t safe for me to walk from the 600 block of G Street up to Eighth Street [SE], to the Safeway on Eighth Street, so he insisted that he had to walk with me. [The DC City Directory for 1954 includes an entry for a Safeway at 541 Eighth Street SE.]
HOUSE: Where was the one on Eighth Street?
KREINHEDER: It was just above G; I think it’s kind of where that movie theater is now.
HOUSE: There was also one in the 500 block of Seventh Street SE, that same block.
KREINHEDER: No this was on Eighth Street, and he said it wasn’t safe for me to walk up there in the middle of the day by myself, and we’re talking about late 1950s. So there were two Safeways, but Bob and George went up to … well, the Seventh Street one was across the street from [Eastern Market] and that’s where they went more often. So there were stores around along Pennsylvania Avenue. There was a pet store that we liked to go there with the kids. And Antiques on the Hill was originally on Pennsylvania Avenue too and then she moved up to the corner of Seventh and North Carolina.
HOUSE: Whereabouts on Pennsylvania was it?
KREINHEDER: It was in the 600 block.
KREINHEDER: And then, of course, there was always the Trover’s which we went to. I’ll talk about the ones in our neighborhood when I get to the Lincoln Park neighborhood. We had a couple of hospitals. We had what we called Casualty, became Capitol Hill Hospital. We went there a couple of times in an emergency and I went there once in probably the 1980s into the Emergency Room and they sent me on to Washington Hospital Center. They didn’t keep me there. We had a number of different doctors on the Hill. There was Dr. Gay who was a lady doctor and she was across the street from Grubb’s at Fourth and East Capitol Street. I went to her for a long time, and then we went to a Dr. Lynch, and Bob liked Dr. Lynch because he was at Third and Pennsylvania on the second floor; there’s a various string of fast food places that are in there now. But Dr. Lynch had evening office hours which was convenient for people that were working, and his wife decided she wanted to move out to the country because they had small children so he moved out to Virginia. At that point we started going to Dr. Daniel Waterman. And Waterman’s office was in the old Penn Theater when we encountered him. And I know he’s been interviewed, and so he tells about his various offices, but obviously he ended up at Sixth, no Seventh and Pennsylvania Avenue where Washington Primary Care. So we had the two hospitals and the next thing, of course, is the cemetery, and the big cemetery on the Hill is Congressional Cemetery and I’m sure you have a lot of information on that.
HOUSE: Let me add for one second. You said two hospitals. You mentioned …
KREINHEDER: Oh, I forgot DC General. Mostly you didn’t go to DC General, although I had a neighbor whose mother was there. She had a heart condition or something, and she was there for several weeks and they were very pleased with the treatment she got there. But Bob was brutally attacked; he had his head split open by a bunch of teenagers who threw bricks at him. And the ambulance took us to DC General.
HOUSE: Bob your husband?
KREINHEDER: My husband. He was attacked the same night that Roland’s was, this was the 16th of September, 1976, because it was my father’s birthday so I remember it. But Roland’s was robbed the same night so we couldn’t get the police to come because they were all up at Roland’s, and Bob is lying in the street with his head split open. But the ambulance finally came and when they finally came they took him to DC General, and they couldn’t have been nicer to us. They were really wonderful. Of course, you come in with a police escort and his head was split open, you get attention, but they were really, really very nice to us but mostly we didn’t go to either Capitol Hill Casualty or DC General.
HOUSE: DC General knew how to deal with those kinds of emergencies.
KREINHEDER: Emergencies, right. And, mostly, my first son was born in Maryland because we were living out there. My second son was born at GW Hospital, so we gravitated pretty much to GW because Washington Hospital Center was just being formed then. And then the big cemetery on the Hill of course is Congressional, and I did research there and I used to give tours there and my son John adopted a tombstone to take care of. They now have the same sort of program but this was, oh probably in the 1970s. We would take this lawnmower down there and mow around the tombstone that he was supposed [laughs] to take care of.
HOUSE: So people actually mowed around their individual tombstones?
KREINHEDER: Um hmm. Well you had to, or cut it because the grass was probably five feet tall in a lot of places, and the other …
HOUSE: Was every tombstone adopted?
KREINHEDER: No, but Audrey Jones, who lived on the Hill, was the superintendent of the cemetery at the time. She had a son, well actually she had more than one son. But the one son was in school with my boys, and Audrey was the cemetery superintendent, so she had asked for people to adopt a grave. So John, he must have been about 13, but she knew us and so John started going down and he looked for these graves and it turned out to be a very interesting project which is really his story. But he found a grave with painter’s palettes and paintbrushes on them and they intrigued him. There turned out to be three in a row that he finally ended up working on who were fresco artisans at the US Capitol in 1859 when they did the extension and they worked under Brumidi. So he researched them and did research at the Capitol and so on and did research about these fresco artists and has a whole lot of information that maybe someday he’ll do something with … but that’s his story. But that’s how we first got really interested in Congressional Cemetery so we’ve continued to sort of be interested and supportive and bought a gravesite there for ourselves.
And then I’ll talk a little bit about the churches. We went to Reformation Lutheran Church which was on the 300 block of East Capitol Street, and there were the two big Catholic churches, St. Peter’s if you lived in Southeast and St. Joseph’s if you lived in Northeast. And St. Joseph’s had been a German congregation and St. Peter’s was more Irish, and of course St. Peter’s had the school too.
HOUSE: I remember that Lutheran Church of the Reformation; I did some tutoring out of it in the 60s. It was really into social …
KREINHEDER: It is very much so. Right, yeah. It got very much into social programs. Dr. Keller was there for many years and the Keller award that the, what is it, Capitol Hill Fund [Capitol Hill Community Foundation] gives an award, a $10,000 award or something every year to some group and they have the citizen of the year and so on and there’s the Arnold Keller award and it’s named for Dr. Keller who was the minister.
HOUSE: Do you remember what programs they had out of there besides tutoring?
KREINHEDER: Well they had, before Capitol Hill Day School was formed, they had a preschool there. And as a matter of fact, John, my older son never went there. He went to Washington Parish which is Christ Church on Sixth Street SE. My younger son went to preschool and kindergarten at Reformation Church and then the two church schools decided to merge to form Capitol Hill Day School. So I know that they had a—when we were going there and that’s one reason we started going there because the boys were, you know, they had a school there. And even though Capitol Hill Day School was formed, the two churches had representatives on the Board of the Day School, so they were very—they continued to be active and supportive of the school.
And, then let’s see, the Metropolitan Baptist was the one that tore down Mary’s Blue Room. They were at Sixth and A NE and most of those people lived outside of the city. They were people that had moved out for one reason or another. There was a beautiful church and still is—the building’s structure is there. It was a Congregational Church at Tenth and Massachusetts [NE] and again it was an old congregation of people that were gradually people leaving the city and moving out, and it kind of went into disrepair. It was a really beautiful church. It had a bowling alley in the basement. But the Seventh Day Adventists have gone in, and they have done a beautiful restoration. I’ve never been inside it.
HOUSE: Do they still have the bowling alley?
KREINHEDER: I don’t know; I haven’t been in it since they restored it. But they put a lot of money into it and they have done a beautiful job of restoring it. Some of the churches were made into condos like Grace Baptist, which is at South Carolina and D Street near Pennsylvania Avenue [SE] and, let’s see, St. Monica’s which was …well, St. James Church which was a high Episcopal on Eighth Street [NE] kind of just above, north of Massachusetts. And they had a, I don’t know if you’d call it a branch church, I don’t know what is the formal religious term, but St. Monica’s, St. Monica’s Chapel it was called, and that’s in the, I think it’s in the 1300 block of Massachusetts SE. And it was primarily for blacks, but it was an arm of St. James. And there is the Lincoln Park Methodist which has been primarily black in my day and it is still going strong.
We voted in—when we first came to Kentucky Avenue, we voted at the Bryan School which is in the 1300 block of Independence Avenue SE. Then the Bryan School closed so we had no voting place, so they moved us over to St. Monica’s on Massachusetts Avenue to vote, and that was sold, St. James sold it and it was made into condos, and then we had no place to vote again, so now we vote at 14th and Independence Avenue in a little church. It’s called Thankful Baptist Church and the people are very nice. It’s really quite small but it’s enough for their precinct so we’ve moved around as far as voting is concerned, but most has been in the churches.
The Restoration Society met, when we first joined it, met at the Presbyterian Church at Fourth and Independence [SE], and they had a very active minister there. And then we went to St. Mark’s Church, we met there, and they meet at St. Peter’s and now sometimes they meet at Maury School which is up around 1300 block of Tennessee Avenue and Constitution Avenue, up in that area.
HOUSE: Who met there?
KREINHEDER: The Capitol Hill Restoration Society.
HOUSE: Oh, OK.
KREINHEDER: … met in the various, oh they also met in the Capitol Hill Methodist Church. When we first came here, the Methodist Church had a great big brownstone building on Seward Square, sort of facing Seward Square. And that was torn down and they built the church that’s there now. We met in the new church there, we met at Ebenezer when I was working with the group on what is called the Capitol Hill Prospectus which was a group of people that represented different organizations on the Hill. We met at Ebenezer Baptist Church which is one of the very oldest black churches in the city and claims to have had the first school for black children in the city.
[Dialog about the correct name of the church was removed here; it is Ebenezer United Methodist Church, at Fourth and D Streets SE. It was the site of the first publicly financed school for black children in Washington, DC.]
KREINHEDER: I do want to go back to the hospitals a little bit because probably in the 1980s, it could have been 70s, it had to be late 70s, what became Capitol Hill Hospital did quite a bit of renovation at the time. And they renovated, they had put in this beautiful auditorium in the basement level. And the Restoration Society met there for several years in their auditorium. So they met all over the area, what I call greater Capitol Hill.
We had several newspapers. We had an organization which was called the Capitol Hill Community Council and what it basically was—was an organization, various organizations met together. There were Civic and Citizens Associations; there was the Circle on the Hill, which I talked about earlier. There were these various organizations and this Capitol Hill Community [Council] organization was an umbrella group. And they published a newsletter, and it was quite good. And they published that for quite a while, probably in the 70s. There was also a newspaper, and these things were handouts.
There was another newspaper called “The Capitol Hill Spectator” and Lily Spandorf—there’s an exhibition of her paintings right now down at GW in their museum—some of her artwork was in the “The Capitol Hill Spectator.” I don’t think that lasted quite as long. But these were basically in the 70s, and then there was “The Capitol Hill East Gazette.” And that was published by Sam Smith. Sam and Cathy Smith lived up on Sixth Street NE right near where Lexington Place comes in. They lived here on the Hill. And Cathy is the famous Cathy Smith of the Washington Historical Society, and she has edited several books on Washington. But her husband published this “Capitol Hill Gazette” for a number of years. And that again was in the 70s, and then they moved up to Northwest and sort of, Sam Smith kind of gave up on Capitol Hill.
So we had a number of local newspapers. Barbara Held used to publish a newsletter like once a month which was more real estate stuff. But all of these things were free, and you could pick them up at the Market and places around like that. So we had a lot of good community newspapers.
Now the only library that I ever really had much to do with was the Southeast Library. I mean I think I had been in the Northeast Library, but I always took my kids there [to Southeast Library]. We would go once a week to the library to get children’s books and so on so we spent a lot of time. I would periodically take books in and donate them to the library, and they would do whatever they wanted with them or sell them. So that was our library. We kind of got away from it as the kids got older and were old enough to go to the Library of Congress, and we were able to … They sort of were pretty good about kids on the Hill if the kids were well-behaved and chaperoned.
As far as sports were concerned, we weren’t very involved with sports. My younger son did play with Soccer on the Hill in its very early days, and I think we have an interview with Bryan Cassidy so I’m not going to go into Soccer on the Hill. But when Paul [her younger son] was playing, they had to go—they played in the Alexandria league. And Alexandria really didn’t like the Capitol Hill kids because they always won the tournaments [laughs]. Paul’s coach was a man named Dele [Akinsiku] and he was a semi-pro soccer player from Nigeria who worked at the gas station, the Exxon station at Fourth and Pennsylvania [SE]. So they had really good, you know they had really good coaches. And then Bryan Cassidy coached a team, although Bryan’s son Padriac was on Paul’s team. So we played mostly, we practiced, the boys practiced down on the Mall. This was elementary school age, and they practiced down on Ohio Drive so we just traveled a lot in order to play soccer. But then Paul, when the kids got to the age of junior high school age and they started separating and going to different schools, he played for his junior high school for a while and then he sort of gave it up.
As far as transportation, what I call the trolleys had just about gone out of business, but when I first came to Washington I lived up at the Young Women’s Christian Home which I mentioned earlier, and the trolley came across F Street and then it came in a tunnel through by where the Taft Memorial [Robert A. Taft Memorial and Carillon] is by the Senate Office Buildings. It was underground and went through that tunnel there. Now that’s all closed up and they use it for Congressional parking. But the trolley actually went through that tunnel and came down First Street. I mentioned that I was working on the site of what is now RFK Stadium, so we could take the trolley out, and the trolley went around Lincoln Park down to the Car Barn. But by the time Bob and I were married and moved back here, the trolley also ran on Pennsylvania Avenue, and Bob’s roommate’s girlfriend was hit by a trolley because she forgot, she had this little Volkswagen Beetle and she forgot you’re supposed to stop when the trolley has the right of way [laughs]. She wasn’t seriously injured, but she didn’t yield to the trolley and it used to come down the median of Pennsylvania Avenue.
But then they switched to the buses, so by the time we moved here there were buses and we’ve always had good transportation because that line still runs around Lincoln Park and it’s just buses now. Then they started building the Metro and they wanted to put a Metro stop, what’s now the Potomac Avenue Metro stop was originally scheduled for the intersection of South Carolina and Kentucky Avenue. It was supposed to be a little further north. There was opposition to that location because it would have meant taking down a lot of houses or a number of house so it was moved down to its current location closer to Pennsylvania Avenue. One of John’s classmates lived in the  block of D Street SE and they tunneled through there, and for at least a year if not longer, they had to walk into their house—they had like boards that went from the street into their house. That was the only way they could get access to their house so they were really inconvenienced by that. And of course there were boards crossing like Seventh and Pennsylvania Avenue [SE]. The Restoration Society had a tour of the Eastern Market station before it opened, so we got to go down with hardhats and take—and be introduced to the Metro before the station was ever opened. That was kind of a fun adventure.
HOUSE: I remember when the Metro opened and I was here and excited about that. How did people feel when the trolleys ended?
KREINHEDER: There was mixed emotion about it. There was a problem with the trolleys because they couldn’t run in the snow. It’s just like the Metro today, the third rail. Well, if the tracks got too filled in, and I remember when Bob and I were living in Laurel we got the last trolley out by the old Hecht’s at Seventh and F Street [NW] because there was a commuter train that we could take from Union Station and go to Laurel. So they had to shut the trolley down but I think they just thought buses were … It was a mixed thing when I first came to Washington. We had a combination of trolleys and buses going up 16th Street NW like if you were going up toward the Carter Barron, that was always, those S bus routes ran even there. There were buses that ran across like from Dupont Circle up to Northeast because Bob lived in Northeast for a while. They ran across P Street. There were some buses I think going to Georgetown; I can’t remember. The trolley did run to Georgetown. It went all the way out to Glen Echo.
HOUSE: So people really weren’t that sad to give them up. It wasn’t a nostalgia thing … would be better transportation.
KREINHEDER: And the trolleys I think stopped running at about 11 o’clock at night and I don’t know what time they started in the morning. They ran a little bit later on weekends, like Friday and Saturday nights and, of course, the blue laws were still in effect so all these nightclubs, there wasn’t much open on Sunday. I mean, maybe the Smithsonian, but you didn’t have the bars and restaurants. If you were going to go out, it was better to go on a Friday night because you could stay out later. Everything closed up about midnight on Saturday, so they didn’t, as I said I don’t know what time they stopped running, but I remember Mr. Sladen [Milton Sladen, who was interviewed by Hazel in 1974] saying that the last trolleys came around Lincoln Park around 11 o’clock at night because he always knew, you know his family always knew this is the last one exactly what time it was going to go pretty close to their house. So I don’t know, there were mixed emotions, but the bus was kind of going to be the in thing and easier to ride, maybe more flexible and carry more passengers. We did go when I lived at Dupont Circle, the trolley went under Dupont Circle, and that was, we went under the Circle to get onto it. And it was really nice and it was very efficient. I kind of was sad about it, but I don’t know how, I was only here a few years.
END OF TAPE 3/SIDE 1
TAPE 3/SIDE 2
KREINHEDER: Well, we had several types of beautification statues, what have you. When Lady Bird Johnson was First Lady, she was very much into beautification. Of course, she did all the daffodils on GW Parkway which are really beautiful. She also built a playground or had built a playground down near the Buchanan School. It was kind of strange and it was, Peterbug’s shoe repair place operation is down there. But just near there, it was below street level sunken in and a lot of the things were concrete or wood. My kids didn’t particularly like it, and it really wasn’t very safe because it was concrete, but she did plantings around there and that was part of her beautification project. But one of the things she did was she thought East Capitol Street should be beautified. And she got this architect, landscape architect, and I think his name was something like Halprin, Lawrence Halprin from California to come and make a design for East Capitol Street, and what he proposed was that all the front yards be taken out and be bricked over so you’d have uniformity on East Capitol. Well that obviously did not go over well with the rest of us on Capitol Hill [laughs]. And there was a big meeting in the auditorium at Hine School which probably held maybe 300 people. It was packed, and that idea did not last long at all because I guess his idea that everything should be uniform, but they should be bricked over and everybody had their rose bushes and iris and daffodils and everything and some yards of course were better than others because at that time you still had some remnants of the old rooming houses along East Capitol Street. It wasn’t quite as elegant as it is today. But you still did have those nice front yards and it just …
HOUSE: … and the variety, I mean the variety …
KREINHEDER: It just really caused an uproar and who wanted bricked-over sidewalks in the city when it was hot. I mean, the yards were much more pleasant.
HOUSE: Bricked-over yards?
KREINHEDER: Yards, yeah, because you know you needed that greenery and that growth to sort of break the heat and that got shot down.
HOUSE: It’s almost hard to believe.
KREINHEDER: Very quickly. The other thing that was done was, Stanton Park was somewhat redone with these little statues, the toys that kids could climb over and play on, and the Turtle Park was put in by where North Carolina and Seventh and Independence come in with the little climbing things for kids.
HOUSE: Was this part of Lady Bird still?
KREINHEDER: Well, I’m not sure it was part of Lady Bird, but it was around the same time and Lincoln Park was going to be redone, and it was redone. And the reason Lincoln Park was redone was for the Bethune statute to go in, and I remember and I hadn’t been living there that long, we’re talking early 70s, so possibly ten years. But the Lincoln statute, the emancipation statue, had faced the Capitol and when they put the Bethune statue in they wanted the Lincoln statue to face the Bethune statue so they literally turned it around and so Lincoln is facing east instead of west now. And I remember some long-time residents of the Hill being very upset with that statue with Lincoln standing with his back to the Capitol, but it was done anyway. And then after that, the only play equipment we had initially in Lincoln Park were two sandboxes, and where the Bethune statue is there was what they called a lodge, and it had restrooms in it and it had an area where they could store equipment like lawn mowers and rakes and shovels and everything they needed for the upkeep of the park. When the park was redone that lodge was taken down. So some of us got together and we finally convinced them to put in a playground with play equipment for children which they did, but that was …
HOUSE: Let me just clarify one thing. But Lady Bird was involved with this effort to, or hiring the architect anyway, the landscape architect, who wanted to brick over the …
KREINHEDER: Oh yes, she brought him in. She’s the one that brought him in.
HOUSE: I never heard that before, that’s interesting.
KREINHEDER: Oh yes, there may be somebody who still lives on East Capitol Street …
HOUSE: Anne Kraemer.
KREINHEDER: I don’t know if Anne Kraemer would have been there. I don’t know, she may have been. There’s a woman named Janice, her name is Hedges, something like that. She’s a member of Capitol Hill Village and she has been living, she lives in the 600 block of East Capitol. She may have been there, I don’t know about the Molumbys. The Molumbys were probably, Patricia Molumby may have been living on East Capitol Street. Of course, the other one that would have been probably was up there is Marie Hertzberg, but I don’t know what shape she is in. I can’t think of anybody else that I know that lives there that would know. The lady named Joan Gieseke who lives in the 700 block of East Capitol Street, she might have been on East Capitol and she still lives in her same home. So she’s up there.
HOUSE: That’s okay, we can…
KREINHEDER: Somebody like Anne Kraemer probably might know somebody that, you know, was living on East Capitol at the time. But, anyway, it did not go over well, not only with people on East Capitol Street but the community at large was up in arms.
HOUSE: Of course, of course.
KREINHEDER: So then we talked about Mary’s Blue Room and the demolitions and because of what happened with Mary’s Blue Room that prompted the creation of the historic preservation laws in the District and so on. That was one of the motivators to do something about that. Of course the other thing was tearing down the Rhodes Tavern and the Old Post Office downtown. The only reason I put down U.S. Presidents [in her notes for the interview] is because I wanted to mention what happened when Kennedy died. When Kennedy died they—of course it was a horrible tragedy and people lined up to go through the Capitol while his body was laying in repose there, and that line came down from the U.S. Capitol all the way through and around Lincoln Park. That’s how far people were lined up.
HOUSE: And, of course, at that time people entered from the east.
KREINHEDER: That was the east side.
HOUSE: That was the main entrance.
KREINHEDER: And that’s how long the line was. And I can still recall, we didn’t go because our son was about nine months old and when [Kennedy] was shot, it was a warm day, but by the time of the funeral it had gotten cold and so there were people standing out in that park at two o’clock in the morning lined up a mile east of the Capitol to go through the Capitol. It was, it was really something, I can still envision. We did go down to see the body removed and taken to St. Matthew’s and we stood down in front of where the Labor Department is now. But the day Kennedy was shot, I had a friend who lived in the 600 block of G Street—Gregory and Susan New. They were in the babysitting co-op and they were watching my son John, and I had come to pick John up and I was walking up Seventh Street and just as I got to Seventh and E Street this man turned the corner and stopped his car dead in front of me. And I thought why is this 1was on Capitol Hill the day the President was shot.
We could go down to the Capitol, and you may have been here at a time when you could go down to the east front of the Capitol and stand on the ground for the inauguration and we did go down for Johnson’s inauguration. Well, it would have been his second inauguration because the first time, of course, was in Texas, or when he was sworn in. But for his ceremony, we did go down and stand, and it was snow, it was cold and there was a lot of snow on the ground. But we did go for Johnson’s because anybody could just walk into the Capitol grounds and stand there and listen and you couldn’t see that much because you weren’t that close, but it was really quite open. I did go to George H.W. Bush’s parade, and the reason I did that was because I am a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and their band was in that parade so I wanted to see the band.
My younger son was born on January 20th, fortunately not in an inauguration year. So one year on his birthday Carter was being inaugurated so Bob took him down to see the Carter … and just as they got down to wherever they were along Pennsylvania Avenue … they had taken the Metro and the Carters got out of the car and started walking, so they got to see them [laughs], but normally we didn’t go to … I was out of town when Reagan died. My son John was here and he went down and stood by where the Indian Museum is now and saw the Reagan funeral procession. But I’m so short I can’t see that well, so it’s easier for me to see on TV. I did go down to that area by the Botanical Gardens and see the prisoners coming out that were released, was it Lebanon they were all held in?
HOUSE: Do you mean the Iran hostages?
KREINHEDER: Yeah, the Iran hostages. They came up in buses, what was then, they came up by the Bartholdi statue and made a turn right there to go on, let’s see, that’s Independence. And they came along there and I did stand down there and see them. But mostly, then we did go to the Bicentennial parade in 1976. We were down by the art gallery. That was an interesting event because they had the Marine Band playing the Stars & Stripes Forever, and it was very exciting. It was a regular parade with all these groups of people, a lot of military types and so on. But they had refused, we’re talking 1976, refused to let the Vietnam Vets march in the parade. They have a unit. And they decided they were going to march anyway, so they kind of just attached themselves, a group of them attached themselves to the end of that parade. They were all wearing fatigues, not in any particular formation, and when that group of mostly men marched by, everybody stood up and cheered because the Vietnam Vets were not well treated when they came back. And they said no, you don’t have an official unit, you can’t be in this Bicentennial parade, and people were so angry. I can still remember everybody just standing up and cheering loudly when they came by, but they were just kind of stragglers dressed in fatigues. It was sad.
So anyway, that’s some of that and now I’ll move over to Lincoln Park which was my neighborhood. I mentioned—I think we talked before we started the tape—that there was a Peoples Drugstore at the [northwest] corner of 11th and East Capitol. It was on the ground floor of the apartment building. It was burned out in 1968 [during the riots that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.]. They had a basement in it and you could go in that store. They also had a lunch bar, and our next-door neighbor would go over there every day to have his lunch. You would ask for something and they would go in this basement and they’d find it and they’d come up with it. That was burned out. There was another store on the west side of 11th Street just below North Carolina Avenue which was called High’s, and High’s sold dairy products, ice cream, milk and so on. [High’s was located at 109 11th Street SE.] And High’s was burned out. On that same side there was the Carolina Theater which was, they were doing some kind of filming or stuff, but you didn’t go, they weren’t showing movies there. It was at the corner of 11th and North Carolina. But a man who became quite well known, Bo Diddley, used to hang out there, when he was in his very early stages.
HOUSE: Was he from Washington?
KREINHEDER: I don’t know if he was from Washington, but he’d be there and you’d see these vehicles with Bo Diddley on the side of them.
There was a corner store at 11th and East Capitol Street, in the basement level where Surroundings has their greenery and then they have a delicatessen under there, but the corner store which we knew as Sam’s, they were more like a regular corner store. They sold a little bit of everything, not so much being a delicatessen. At the east end of the park was the Park Café and then Nunella, and now they’ve just changed their name again. There was a store which was called the Fruit Basket, and it was a Jewish family and two brothers ran it and they never got along with one another but you could order fruit baskets, you know like you’re going to send for a gift or to somebody in the hospital or something like that. They made these beautiful fruit baskets, but then they had other things too, it was kind of like a small corner grocery store. They kind of went out of business after the riots.
There was a little store at the corner of, southeast corner of Kentucky and Independence Avenue [202 Kentucky Avenue SE]. I didn’t go there very much because it was kind of not too great, but they did sell bubble gum with baseball cards and my son used to go there to buy baseball cards. And across the street there were several stores, it’s in the 200 block of, the address is the 200 block of 13th Street [SE]. Margaret Rolls came in there, and there was one building that had a lot of kind of equipment, heavy equipment in it. It had originally been a Sanitary grocery store, but there was a Chinese laundry in there, and when we first moved into our house we didn’t have a washing machine so I used to take my clothes down to this Chinese laundry. There were like three little structures there and they were commercial structures. So we had a lot more local, you know neighborhood corner stores that we could go to.
HOUSE: The Peoples and the High’s that were burned out, were they rebuilt soon and they became residences, or …?
KREINHEDER: Well, Peoples was on the first floor of an apartment building, so it became ultimately an apartment was built in there, and I can’t remember the time frame. Now the High’s, the structure is still there, but it was made into a house. There was a little store up on 11th Street NE and I think it was on the northeast corner of C Street. It was either C Street or Constitution Avenue and again it was a corner grocery store. My next-door neighbors told me about it. It had a neighborhood post office in it, and you could go up there and do your post office business. They didn’t deliver from there but you could buy stamps and all that kind of thing and it was one of these old-fashioned stores that actually had a post office in it.
HOUSE: So were you here in your home at the time they were burning?
KREINHEDER: Uh huh.
HOUSE: So you could see the …
KREINHEDER: I could stand in my front yard and see all the smoke from H Street.
HOUSE: Not so much from right in your neighborhood, not the …
KREINHEDER: I didn’t really wander over there that much. I didn’t wander very far from in front of my house. Now we did have a very mixed group of people living on our street. We had some elderly white people, there was a retired Episcopal minister who lived across the street. There were some other white people who lived down sort of toward Independence, and I’m up near East Capitol, who were still there. Our next-door neighbors [at 115 Kentucky Avenue SE], the gentleman was a plumber, had been a plumber at the Navy Yard, on the south side. Their names were Mr. and Mrs. Bierman. He was retired. And the next door neighbors on the other side had moved to Kentucky Avenue I think in 1952 [correct date is 1959], this black couple and they had three children. And they have been wonderful neighbors, mother and father have died, but one daughter is still living there with her husband. So we have had the same neighbors next door on the north side of our house since we moved into it. They are really a wonderful family.
But we had other neighbors who lived further down in the 100 block of Kentucky Avenue [at 140 Kentucky Avenue SE] that were involved in the looting [in 1968], and they came down the street with their grocery carts full of stuff, and my black neighbors next door to us [James Brooks family, at 111 Kentucky Avenue SE] were just appalled because they asked her if she wanted any of this stuff, and she didn’t want to have anything to do with any of that. She was so embarrassed by all of it. So it was a very mixed group.
Next door to them [109 Kentucky Avenue SE], the next house up was a couple that had, I think it was a second marriage or something, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, and they were very nice and they had a front porch and they used to sit out in the front. My father liked Mr. Williams very much, but he died. But her son was sent to Vietnam as a 19 year old and was there for about three weeks in a helicopter crash and lost his leg. So that was very upsetting for the neighborhood. He was just a young boy and came back.
And their house was ultimately owned by Jeffrey Stallsmith who became a dentist on the Hill forever, but his wife didn’t like living on Capitol Hill so they moved out to the suburbs someplace but he kept his dental practice here on the Hill. We had, what’s his name, Rick Santorum, lived around the corner on East Capitol Street for a while, but on East Capitol at 1213 we had an interesting house. It had a bordello, it had gambling, it sold bootleg liquor. And, of course, you couldn’t buy liquor in the District on Sunday, but our house faces the alley which is behind it and they would hang a little piece of like white sheet on their house, behind their house, on the gate, and you could go in and buy a Dixie cup full of some kind of booze on Sundays. And when it got closed down it was one of the biggest operations in the District of Columbia, but one of our neighbors was an Assistant District Attorney and he managed to get some people in there and close up that operation. The house has now been beautifully restored by two fellows who live there.
There was also a rooming house a few doors down [1227 Massachusetts Avenue SE] that Bob and I have a little bit disagreed because maybe it was dollar, maybe two dollars. They had a sign in the front window, “room for rent, one hour two dollars” or something like that. So we had a mixture of people.
We moved in in ’63. Jon Heiden and Jim Fisher moved further down the street, two fellows that lived together, were partners. And then Elizabeth Teferra, who was Elizabeth Segal at the time, moved in in about 1969 and we had some other … So we had a very, it was a very mixed neighborhood. The reason we bought the house was because we could afford it [chuckles] and the other thing was that Mr. Payne who was the head of, I can’t remember if it was called Eastern Liberty. It went through a number of names, but he was at Fourth and Pennsylvania before they built the big building that is now Citibank or Citicorp at Sixth and Pennsylvania [SE]. The president of the bank lived in the 100 block of Kentucky Avenue, and he was willing to give us good loan. As a matter of fact, he wanted us to buy a bigger house but we thought we couldn’t afford that one. He was still living in the block, the interesting thing that between his house at the south end of block and our house near the north end of the block, there were a lot of cheap rentals with not very nice people in them, and he owned all those houses with those awful people in them. [laughs]
On 12th Street, the Glickerts—part of the reason we moved to where we did was that we knew Bette and Peter Glickert who have been interviewed. They were living first on Philadelphia Row and then they moved over to 12th Street, and we knew them quite well, so we knew somebody that lived in the neighborhood. The old Carry Mansion, and Carry was, he would have been the great-grandfather of the Diddens who are associated, affiliated with National Capital Bank. He had a brewery, then of course when Prohibition came in, he started an ice cream factory which was down where the Safeway at 14th and Kentucky now is. His house was overrun with masses of people, the big old mansion, and the family didn’t want to live on Capitol Hill. Next to his house, though, he owned almost the entire west side of the 100 block of 12th Street. He built a house for his daughter who married a Didden, and that’s where the Didden family home is, and that house is still there and at one point St. Mark’s Church had it as a rectory for their minister and then the church sold it and it’s privately owned now.
And then Didden built what was called the Lincoln Arms. It’s an apartment building; it’s now mostly studios, it’s still an apartment building, it’s now mostly studio apartments and I think it’s maybe just called the Lincoln. And it wasn’t Didden, it was Carry that owned that, but the Didden house is still standing which was built by the Carrys. When the Carry house was torn down, they built some new houses which we were laughing about. My husband said you call them the new houses, they were built in the 1960s [laughs] and I think they may be Barrett Linde-type houses, and I made a mistake [during the first interview] when I said a lot of the—well it wasn’t a total mistake—but when they built those new row houses they had to put in parking so that’s when they did all the curb cuts with the garages supposedly in the front yards. But those houses on 12th Street had big enough yards that they have parking behind the houses, so they didn’t do the curb cuts there. And then they did, I can’t remember if I said that they tore down St. Cyprian’s Church, which was at the corner of 13th, C, just above South Carolina, which was a black church, a really lovely church. It was a Catholic Church, and they had a school over on Eighth Street and, where all those new houses where Bob Michel lives, Eighth, would it be the 300 block of Eighth Street on the [east] side, right across from Hine, that’s where St.—
END OF TAPE 3/SIDE 2
TAPE 4/SIDE 1
HOUSE: Sorry I thought I had guessed where that tape was. So, go ahead, you were …
KREINHEDER: Ok, I’ll just tell you a little more about some of the neighbors. On the corner of Kentucky and 12th Street, there is a house that faces the park and that was a large black family that lived in there. And they moved away and the property was ultimately bought by Diana Quinn who still lives there, and she’s a producer for CBS. And Diana and another lady who lived over on 12th Street whose name is Amy [Jagodnik]—and I’m not sure I ever knew Amy—were the ones that orchestrated our Halloween parties through the alley, and they closed the alley up because Diana worked for CBS, she could get all this equipment and they had these things that made noises and so on and the kids could go. Everybody went out their back gate and had candy and things for the children to come through on Halloween.
The house that Amy lived in [112 12th Street SE] had previously been lived in by Senator Bob Kasten from Wisconsin, and there’s a big house on the corner that faces 12th Street and East Capitol but the front door goes off 12th Street but the side faces East Capitol Street. It was originally named—lived in—by Mary and Parker Jayne who were pretty well known on the Hill lived there for many years, but before then there was a family named Christman, and they had one little boy and they moved out to the Annapolis area, and the Jaynes bought the house.
But one of the, if not the original, owner was the Fluckey family, and the son became an admiral. He graduated from Eastern High School, as did many of the people that lived in our neighborhood. And he took the first submarine into Tokyo Bay during World War II and he was very proud, I had some correspondence with him—he’s now deceased—because his mother was listed as the first owner of our house. He was very proud of the fact that all during his career as a submariner in World War II he never lost a single man, it would have been all men in the submarines in those days. But he’s renowned for having taken the submarine into Tokyo.
On [the 100 block of] 12th Street lived the man known as “Nuts” McAuliffe and I was trying to think of what his name was, his first name really was [Anthony]. He was the hero of the Battle of the Bulge. He grew up on 12th Street and went to Eastern High. And the Garske family lived there. They had children the same age as my children and the son Peder who was a year older than my son just died which was very distressing. Paul and Ann Cromwell lived across the street, and Ann—on 12th Street, on the west side—and they eventually split up and Ann moved out to Frederick, and Paul is still here active on the Hill. But through I believe the Circle on the Hill or Friendship House or one of those groups they asked for people to do volunteer eye screening for prevention of blindness for preschool, and Ann Cromwell and I were partners. Ruth Ann Overbeck lived over on 12th Street. She was Ruth Ann Perez when she moved there, and she and her husband George separated, got divorced, and then she married Robert Hughes who still lives over in the 100 block of 12th Street.
There was a couple named Flack [Jim and Jan] who lived behind us on 12th Street and they were there for a short period of time and then they moved up to Northwest, and Susan and Alan Dranitzke bought their house and built a big addition to it and the Dranitzkes have been there for a long time. And Linda and Bob Ewald lived I think right next door to them. There is one family on that block of 12th Street that’s been there. Their name was Holton—Bernadette Holton. The father was George, and they were a black family and one daughter still lives in the house. Her name is Sherron Davies now but it was the Holton family, and her family was, they were a lovely family and the one daughter lives there.
We still have a black family living on our block, in the 100 block of Kentucky. Her name is Jones, I think the father is James [correction: Willie], but Mahlon is the son, and Mahlon works for Frager’s. And that family has been there since before we were there on Kentucky Avenue.
I’m trying to think who, we’ve had various people come and go on Kentucky. Paul and Doreen, she was Doreen Day, she worked for the State Department. Her husband was Paul Zeisset. They had one son Jonathan. They lived in the middle of the block on Kentucky [129 Kentucky Avenue SE], and Paul was very active in the Restoration Society at one point and he worked for the Census Bureau out in Suitland so he did a whole study of the census of Capitol Hill from 1790 on to, or maybe 1800, I can’t remember when DC census really begins up to the period of time that he was studying and it was basically to show the composition of the neighborhood but of course he was working for the Census Bureau so he had all kinds of [laughs] information available to him.
The Pfeiffer family came and moved into the east side of Kentucky Avenue [122 Kentucky Avenue SE] and Cathy was a beloved, I believe she was a school librarian, killed in an automobile accident. And when they first moved in they just had two little girls and they had two more children after that so they lived there. The Tresolini family lived there for a long time in one of the houses on the east side of the block [124 Kentucky Avenue SE]. Roger Tresolini was pretty well known because he was a painter and you know, a house painter not an art kind of painter, and he did a lot of painting but he died unfortunately.
And across the street from us is this big house that faces East Capitol Street, 1207 East Capitol. When we moved into that house—our house, there was like a big rooming house with all kinds of people living in there. One of the people that lived in there was Ralph Dwan before he was married. But anyway, the house was ultimately built—bought—by a family named Boyer. And the Boyers had lived in the 100 block of Kentucky. It was, well actually it was a mother and a son and then they had a friend named Forrest Snakenberg who lived with them, and they bought that big house. But unfortunately they just didn’t really have the resources to fix it up, so Bob Herrema, who was a developer on the Hill, bought the property and he restored it, put an illegal addition on the back but that’s all right, and he and his wife Joan lived there and they had a place out in Virginia someplace, so they ultimately ended up living in Virginia. And Bob—he was not that horribly old when he died—so they sold the property on East Capitol Street.
Next to them there’s a lady, Miss Florida, or no Miss Florida’s not next door, she’s two doors over. She’s a black lady, she’s been there all, and she’s always been known as Miss Florida. She had a family, she had a lot of nieces and nephews who used to come and she used to rent out rooms to the boarders. Behind us were Mr. and Mrs. Little and he worked for NIH. There was a Mr. Erickson that lived behind us [on 12th Street SE]. There was on Independence Avenue there was a Kephardt family, and Mrs. Kephardt would get eggs, she lived at about 1216 Independence, and she would get eggs in from the country and we would go down there and buy eggs from Mrs. Kephardt. During the second World War she took in boarders and she served breakfast and dinner to 16 people every day, to people that worked for the Navy Yard because a lot of these people who worked for the Navy Yard. At least in our house we can see where they had people rooming in because there were holes in the door frames where they had towel racks and so on. Our house was lived in by Florence and I think her sister was Gertrude Casely, and Florence Casely was—we’re at 113 Kentucky. She [Florence] was a [French] teacher at Eastern High School and we bought our house from her estate, I believe she moved in probably World War II time. But all the houses were, you know, they had many, many people living in.
Next to the Kephardts on Independence Avenue [1200 block] were the Kilczewskis, and they had children the same age as my children so we got to know them very well, but again, as often happened in the city, time for schools people moved out because they moved to the suburbs and that would, that happened quite often. Jim McGovern who’s a Congressman from Massachusetts lives in the, let’s see it would be the 1200 block of Massachusetts Avenue, yes, it’s Massachusetts Avenue. Ted Stevens who was the senator from [Alaska], lived on the north side of the park for a while. And on the north side of the park was a big house that’s between 12th and Tennessee Avenue and that was a private home at one time, the people that grew up there tell me. And the people that lived there always flew a Confederate flag. They wouldn’t do that now.
But across the street on the corner, northwest corner of 12th and East Capitol [1126 East Capitol Street NE], was the Farnsworth family, and that’s a fairly good-sized house. Rather interesting house because it’s a big house, but the rooms are quite small which is kind of interesting. I mean, they don’t have a grand living room or anything of that sort. There were the two, Eunice and Gertrude Farnsworth, two maiden lady sisters. Their nephew, Tom Farnsworth, had just graduated from Eastern High School and he went to France as a flyer and was shot down and killed [in World War I]. A very young boy and it was a real tragedy for the Farnsworth family. But they had—oh no it was their brother that was shot down. They had a nephew named Tom Farnsworth who lived in Maine named after the uncle that was killed in World War I. You know, all these young guys from high school, that was the thing to go be a flyer in Europe. So, Joel Truitt bought the house from the Farnsworth ladies and he kept the basement apartment so Tom Farnsworth from Maine could come down and stay in the house when he wanted to so they kept the connection with the family.
The house to the immediate west of it was lived in by Miss Arnold, Ruth Arnold, and her sister Mrs. Johnston I think it was. They had lived in their house forever and they ultimately, Ruth Arnold, it was the Arnold homestead. Ruth Arnold never married but her sister had married but they lived together in the family home and they ultimately moved away and moved up to the Kennedy-Warren because when people left the Hill, like they still do today, they didn’t necessarily stay on the Hill, they went to an apartment someplace else. But they were very nice people who had lived in the neighborhood for a long time.
HOUSE: You know what I’m thinking is that, after we’ve done this recording, which we are just about ready to wind up, but when it’s transcribed, maybe you would be willing to walk around the neighborhood and get the addresses of these people’s homes so that if people are researching their houses, they would have this information, because otherwise it’s sort of hard to picture …
HOUSE: … since you know the neighborhood so well.
KREINHEDER: One thing I didn’t say was Philadelphia Row. When I talked about the, I don’t know if I talked about the funeral homes. There was a Chambers on 11th Street just below Pennsylvania Avenue. Then of course we know about the Zurhorst one, and then we know about the Lee Funeral Home that was kind of forced out by neighbors because they didn’t like the crematorium at Fourth and Massachusetts [NE]. But there was the Mattingly Funeral Home was at 11th Street on the west side in the 100 block [131 11th Street SE]; it’s now apartments. But Mr. Kephardt, I mentioned Mrs. Kephardt who sold us the eggs, her husband had his funeral at the Mattingly Funeral Home.
HOUSE: That’s the one that’s art deco, across from the old Frager’s?
KREINHEDER: Oh, that’s the Chambers. But this one, the Mattingly was in the 100 block, it was just below Lincoln Park.
HOUSE: Oh, okay.
KREINHEDER: And on Philadelphia Row we had a number of interesting people. Mrs. Lyons was there, Mrs. Barrow Lyons. Her name was Ruth Voris. She came to Washington during World War II to work on housing because of course that was a really big issue, finding housing for people. And married Barrow Lyons as his second wife, when she was in late 30s I think, he was already divorced. But her maiden name was Voris, and her father climbed the Washington Monument every year on his birthday until he was 95 years old. And they also had a place that she and her father had built up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire which she went to in the summer.
Leonard and Ruth Greenup lived on Philadelphia Row and they were kind of interesting because one or the other of them was an artist. They were the ones that Mimi Wolf talked about that Ruth Greenup had grown up with Carl Albert [Speaker of the House of Representatives from 1971–77] and when he wanted to tear down St. Mark’s Church and the Folger Library or whatever they were going to tear down Ruth Greenup got her Oklahoma friends [laughs] geared up and they killed that. So there were a number of, Mimi and Dick Wolf moved to Philadelphia Row in 1964, redid their home and it was done by Hugh Newell Jacobson who was starting out as an architect and he became quite a famous architect; he did the Wolfs’ home.
And there were other young couples that lived around in the neighborhood. In 1980 I did a paper which I never published but I did talk about the neighborhood and all the people that lived in the houses and who built them and so on. They were done by various and sundry architects or people that lived in the area that wanted to speculate and have some houses built and so it’s … But it’s been a very interesting neighborhood. We bought the house because we could afford it. We were out on the fringes. There weren’t too many …
Oh I didn’t mention Solveig and Matt McCullough. Matt is now deceased but Solveig lives on East Capitol still. They lived behind us [on the east side of 12th Street] with small children around the same age as our kids. They lived behind us then they moved across the street to [the west side of] 12th Street and bought a couple of houses over there. Some of the people that we knew, Marge and Bob Dodge. He was Foreign Service. They lived on the west side of the 100 block of 12th Street and they were friendly with a couple named Henriquez. The Dodges were very instrumental in getting the Montessori School started on the Hill. Marge Ann was really big into the Montessori movement. And they threw a big party for Rich Henriquez because he was going to Vietnam. He again was a pilot and three weeks, and about three weeks later he was shot down and killed. And I’ll never forget that party because it was such a happy party and three weeks later his wife was a widow and it was really sad. She did stay on the Hill for a while because they had some children, but I think she lived on Tenth Street.
But it was a difficult time and, you know, we had a difficult time after 1968 after the rioting. There were National Guard soldiers standing on all the street corners. You felt well protected but a woman named Mrs. Shoaf, who was to me an older woman, maybe in her 60s, was murdered in her basement during that time and they never found out who killed her. She had adult children but I think she lived right next door to the Glickerts, very close to where the Glickerts lived. So we had some good times and bad times. My older son said he never had to get into drugs or alcohol cause he could look out the front window and see it all happening in Lincoln Park and we did have some problems with Lincoln Park for a long period of time. [Beatrice M. Shoaf of 144 12th Street SE died April 11, 1968, according to her obituary.]
One thing that happens in Lincoln Park that is kind of a nice neighborhood thing and I’m not sure it’s legal but it happens every year. They bring fireworks and they set them off in the park. And because of the way the park is currently configured with the Lincoln statue and then you go down some steps into a lower level and around that lower level there are walls and people sit along the walls and they put the fireworks off the middle of lower level and it’s really kind of fun. And it started, I think, with some black kids in the neighborhood and, in all fairness to them, they have created a neighborhood tradition [laughs]. Now people go, we used to go down to the Capitol. You used to sit on the steps on the west side of the Capitol and you could see the fireworks from the Monument; I remember hearing the Air Force Band. But then it expanded and you started having these great concerts and mobs of people. When we first started going there it was like a neighborhood thing, you’d see everybody from Capitol Hill was down on those steps watching the fireworks. So now it’s kind of nice, we just go across the street and you can put these rockets up and sparklers and it’s kind of a nice neighborhood thing and the police really sort of know what’s going on but they kind of ignore it. Because nobody’s being, I mean it doesn’t get out of hand.
HOUSE: That’s a nice way to …
KREINHEDER: Yeah, it’s a nice neighborhood, the neighbors are out. When I’ve ever been out there, there are no fightings or, you know, no disorderly behaviors, it’s just people setting off fireworks.
HOUSE: Having fun.
KREINHEDER: Having fun.
HOUSE: Sounds like a nice way to wind up the interview too.
KREINHEDER: It’s been a great neighborhood. We’ve had our ups and downs but …
HOUSE: Well, I thank you, Hazel, so much for this interview. I’ve learned so much myself and it’ll be fascinating for lots of people I know who’ll want to look at the history of the Hill and the history of the homes. So, I thank you very much.
END OF INTERVIEW 2