More Awesome Before and After Pictures – U and 14th Street Area 2004 and Today


It was great fun looking at the changes in Columbia Heights from 2002 to today. Another kind reader, the Shah of Shaw, sent in some great photos of the U Street area from 2004. I have to say it’s equally wild. Above is a photo of the Beauregard building located at 11th and V Streets, NW. Here’s what the area looked like in 2004:



After the jump you can see what the PNHoffman building, Union Row, looked like on 14th and V from 2004.


And in 2004:



23 Comment

  • This is definite improvement. The places are not the most affordable but no one had to be displaced. High density, near Metro and attractive. The Lincoln Condos on 11th (I think) got the ball rolling on New Condos in U street area back in 1999(?)

  • I liked my old neighborhood better!

  • I like it better without the rampant crime, numerous shitty empty lots, and streets I wouldn’t walk down accompanied by the cops.

  • Better, but the architecture is kind of blah; that, and there aren’t enough mixed income units. but the before/after shots are cool. Any photos from the 70s-80s of these areas floating around?

  • Cool stuff. Anybody have pix of what 2109 and 2117 10 street looked like before the new buildings (Visio and Murano)? By the way, there is still PLENTY of rampant crime over here. And there is so much of the previous neighborhood still here that I don’t understand the hostility of some neighbors towards newer residents.

  • The new building is beautiful, but it makes me really sad to see that little bit of history (the family-owned luncheonette) erased forever. But I’m an archivist so I know others see the world through a different lens.

  • as a 30 year old DC native. I am happy my hometown is doing so well but it comes at a price. That’s all i’ll say…

  • I liked my old neighborhood better, too!

  • I was born here 50+ years ago and all I’ll say is that nothing stays the same anywhere; that’s life. Embrace change, and be active in your community to help shape the changes is the best model I’ve seen.

  • Yeah, I guess I have mixed feelings. I really like all the development, but it’s also sad to see a little mom & pop lunch spot go under and be replaced by a massive, architecturally boring building.

    I understand the hostility of a few people to “new” people moving in, but that’s life and that’s change. In life some win and some loose. Hopefully, nobody gets hurt and that’s why we have government, but also we shouldn’t have a government that gets TOO involved in picking winners and loosers in development…

  • the previous era of the neighborhood certainly had its charm. i feel for those like UPSET THE SETUP, though it wasnt my neighborhood. change does indeed have many dimensions.

    its still not my neighborhood,but i go there even more now than i did in the past. i started hitting u street first in 95 but more seriously starting in 97 when i had some friends that liked state of the union and islamabad a lot. then i’d hit pollys back when it was cheap and the food wasnt fancy. cafe nema had a bunch of activist meetings i used to hit. republic gardens had some poetry slams back then… havent been since they reopened..

    the saloon. and the old black cat before it moved to the cage. i used to hit the 9:30 more often. for a while there was an art gallery near there. Decatur blue. i liked it a lot, but it was grimy, and people were always coming up to my girlfriends and being really nasty. i got spit on. threatened. pushed. called racist, cracker, bitch often enough to note. there was a lawlessness to the area, which i can understand some find appealing. but decent folks didnt rule the sidewalks, though inside places were often really easy going. people were talking to me about dante’s just the other day. i cant recall dante’s.. where was it?

    i guess by 2004 none of that was the case anymore, but many of ya’ll know what i mean.
    its amazing when you’re talking to someone who hadnt been to the hood in years and they’re reaction. its a whole nother place now. now i’ll go there just to go for a walk. i’m always struck by how pleasant and calm it is.
    but, on the bus theres often a “you know white people like that punk” tore it all down things said. its sad. they say it and look at you for just a reaction really. some just got out of jail. some just reminiscing with friends they hadnt seen. some just moving back to dc. i know something was ripped from them and they feel pain for it. all replaced by something i like more. i’d react with more anger actually.
    i know you’re hooked up with it all Upset The Setup, but you’re in a position that can influence things. you’re tapped in. you know what things were like. you’re making the most of it. i hope you keep it up and dont lose faith. despite people like me, who do like the neighborhood even better now despite what we lost, we still know you hold something in your heart that has a lot of value.

  • Do we think that the owners of the lunchette were forced out by the developers? (Like in Batteries Not Included… Remember that movie?) Or did the business close for other reasons? Owners got too old, rampant crime drove away their customers…?

    I’m surprised I’m the first one here to wonder exactly how long that place had been locked up before the development deal was struck. That’s what makes the difference between greedy gentrification, and a reclamation of blight that we can all get behind.

  • I am not sure if the owners were forced out, but I am sure that no tiny Robots came to save them if that was the case.

  • Thanks for posting Dan- a few more pics I took are here:

    Unfortunately I don’t know the history of what happened to the diner.

  • Don’t all you nostalgia buffs feel so bad. I’m a DC native from generations back and I remember going to the DC premier of the movie Ben Hur at the Tivoli theater back in ’59 when I was barely old enough to know I was alive. The place had green velvet (or it looked velvet to me) seat cushions, green velvet with elaborate gold trim curtains covering the movie screen, ornate painted plaster ceilings and ushers in uniforms that escorted you to your seat. The state that its in now gives me pain. My parents moved to 16th street only for its proximity to 14th Street and its incredible shopping from Park Road all the way to downtown. I wish my family had taken pictures before the riots of ’68 because it was beautiful. All that said, I love and miss the old neighborhood but I’m thrilled to see it trying to come back.

  • I grew up in Tenleytown and have watched the city change dramatically, first for the worse, and then for the better in my opinion. The nadir has to be the crack-fueled murder and bankruptcy years of the late 80’s and early 90’s. DC is quickly moving away from its “small town” past. I sort of miss it but those dark years are a touchstone for me and I never want to go back.

    The elephant in the living room is how the change is happening. Black people (and even middle class whites) are moving out and wealthier white people are moving in. It feeds the notion of “the plan,” the idea that there is a conspiracy by white people to move black people out of the city. I don’t believe in “the plan” but it’s pretty obvious that, plan or no plan, the effect is the same.

    This American Life did a nice piece on gentrification that included talk about the plan.

  • Well, Centzon, if the tiny robots didn’t come, it’s probably because it wasn’t a worthy cause.

    Case closed.

    (But really… does anyone know the timeline?)


    The above article goes a lot towards explaining what 14th and U was once like; and before 1968 it certainly sounded marvelous. However the article paints a pretty grim picture of how things stood in 1988; Im a bit taken aback how the author’s (Juan Williams) fear that the neighborhood would one day be taken over by whites (like, gasp, G-Town!) seems to be coming true.

  • Photographer Jati Lindsay has been documenting U Street for some now as well..he has some shots of the Elllington when it was a parking lot.

  • @ Marco: Thanks so much for the link. What a fascinating article!

  • @Marco, you make me cry with that article.

  • Well said NewShawNeighbor, and thanks for sharing the memories MK!

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