What Columbia Heights Looked Like in 2005

Photo by PoPville flickr user rockcreek

For the photo above rockcreek orients us:

Fourteenth and Irving Streets, NW DCUSA site, NW corner of 14th and Irving Sts., NW, 10/28/05. Looking SE to 14th and Irving from Hiatt Pl.

Yesterday we noted google street view’s awesome historical photos that go back to 2007. I was searching the PoPville flickr pool earlier today looking for a vacant lot and stumbled across these wild photos from rockcreek. We’ve seen this site before but it’s truly amazing to remember what parts of Columbia Heights looked like in 2005. For the photo below:

Fourteenth and Irving Streets, NW DCUSA site, NW corner of 14th and Irving Sts., NW, 10/28/05. Looking east to 14th from Hiatt Pl.

Photo by PoPville flickr user rockcreek

18 Comment

  • I remember this well. Walking from AM or MP to the metro and seeing that large vacant site and feeling like Columbia Heights was a little dodgy.

  • brookland_rez

    I remember that as well, that whole historic facade being propped up and all.

  • DC might not yet have all the urban amenities of a SF or a Chicago. But, the amount of progress that has been made in the past 10 years is pretty amazing.

    • DC has made so much more progress then those two places, it’s uncanny.
      SF prices are propped by extremely restrictive zoning. There is so much pent up demand there, it’s insane.

  • I moved here in 2002 and remember my realtor taking me to look at condos around there. She swore it was an up and coming area. I thought there was no way in hell I would pay $140,000 for a one bedroom in a sketchy neighborhood. I’m an idiot.

    • lol it happens. I keep trying to convince myself to take the leap and buy in a neighborhood where condos are still kind of affordable and I can’t. I know I’ll regret it in 10 years.

      • I don’t think it will take 10 years for you to regret it given how crazy the real estate market is these days!

    • Me too – in 2004 my agent wanted me to buy in Columbia Heights. I bought in Alexandria instead. After years living in (and disliking) the suburbs, I moved into the city in 2011 – to Columbia Heights. Kicking myself.

      • Since we’re trading real estate missed opportunities… In 1997 my partner and I had the opportunity to buy a fixer upper 3 story row house near 18th and Willard in Dupont/’AM for $220,000. Too much for us at the time. Ouch.

        • Oof. I remember in 1997 talking to a friend of a friend who was buying a nice rowhouse in Dupont for $300k. I remember thinking what an overwhelming amount of money that was.
          Even more recent, I came very close to buying the perfect condo in Shaw in November 2011. Because it was $10k more than I was comfortable paying (and I had just started a new job and didn’t feel super stable), I didn’t. It’s probably worth $150-$200k more today. And I’d get to be living in Shaw.

    • I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself, because there are neighborhoods that have been “up and coming” for a decade now, with little to show in terms of new amenities, in proportion to new residential development.

  • I’m so old, I remember when that wasn’t a “historic facade” but the only post office we had in the area (to pick up packages anyway). Skeevy doesn’t begin to describe that post office.

    • Yes, that was my post office! As I recall, this was a post office where heaps of undelivered mail were found near the dumpsters.

      • saf

        Mine too. (We lived in MtP before we moved over here in 1990.)

        That stupid post office sent back a whole bunch of my wedding present for no reason.

  • I remember walking a visiting friend past the propped-up facade and all the boarded-up (but not yet demolished) storefronts the month we bought our house. She said “Why are you showing me blight?” And I said “So the next time you come and visit you can be blown away by the change.” 🙂

  • What’s with all the hand-wriging about gentrification then if all these gentrified areas were formally no man’s land? Could it be that the activists have no idea what these places used to look like?

    • “No man’s land” for who? Think that through a little bit.

      • Like there was hardly any people in abandoned/undeveloped lots, and now there’s a lot of new buildings filled with lots of people. My presupposition in the comment was that anti-gentrification activists seem to be defending underdeveloped/undeveloped land. What they forget is that there are 7 billion on this planet and growing and that every study on urban-living has concluded is that its more environmentally sustainable than living in suburbs. I guess your comment was made to elicit some sympathy about the poor people that are left behind (forgetting about the Fed Reserve study that says that says everyone, including those forced out, benefit from gentrification). DC, NYC, Boston still have ~2x the poverty rate than the national average. We have real cities that have 4x+ the national poverty rate; they simply dont work. Cities don’t work unless you have a mix of rich, yuppie, poor, etc. When DC has a lower poverty rate than the national average, I’ll think things through a little bit again.

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