November 10, 2009

LeDroit Park’s Private Streets

Your author spent this evening in the Washingtoniana Division of the MLK Library researching the original building permit for his 1908 house.  Afterward, he browsed the Washington Post archives and came across several interesting articles, including the one transcribed below.

Though the streets, sidewalks, gas lines, water lines, and sewers of LeDroit Park were privately built, maintaining such infrastructure is costly for a private developer.  These utilities are usually conveyed to the municipality if build to the municipality’s code.  LeDroit’s developer, Amzi Barber, tried to unload the streets and utilities to the city, but the District Commissioners, probably upset over Barber’s off-kilter street grid, refused to accept the titles.  Recall that at this point, LeDroit Park was still a gated community closed off to visitors.

The Commissioners Do No Want the Streets in LeDroit Park
The Washington Post
January 7, 1886

The Commissioners having recently decided that they could not entertain any proposition to build sewers in the streets of LeDroit Park, because the streets were private property, Messrs. A. L. Barber, David McClelland and others presented the District with titles to the streets.  The Commissioners have decided, however, that the streets as now platted are not such as conform to the street system of Washington and its extension beyond the present boundaries of the city, and until such conformity is established it would appear to the interests of the District that title to these streets should remain where it is now, and that the District should refrain from assuming any responsibility or expense that would attach to them acceptance to public streets.  Therefore the deeds submitted by the gentlemen named have been returned.

Categories: History

1 Reply

  1. […] street system didn’t fit with the L’Enfant Plan in either name or alignment—much to the dismay of the District commissioners—and the street names were eventually changed to fit the naming and numbering […]

    Old Street Names || Left for LeDroit - November 29, 2009 @ 1:25 am

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