One of the unique things about Capitol Hill is that the surrounding area outside the defined Historic District is composed of fungible, evolving communities that carry their own history. A great example is Kingman Park. An agent on my team, Eric Halstrom, bought a home on 23rd Street NE in 2013 and calls Kingman Park “the calm in the eye of the storm,” surrounded by rapid change and development.
The neighborhood itself consists of the homes east of 15th Street NE, west of Oklahoma Avenue and 23rd Street NE, south of Benning Road, and north of East Capitol or C Streets NE, depending on whom you ask.
The neighborhood’s development began in the 1920s and ’30s with the first homes built by Charles Sager in 1927. This collection of 40 homes were located along 24th Street. The growth was steady, with roughly 230 homes completed by 1931, and at the early part of that decade, a total of 750 homes were planned for Kingman Park.
In the 1920s, middle class homebuyers in D.C. wanted Craftsman bungalows, made popular by Gustav Stickley, with their wide front porches, horizontal orientation (two stories), light-filled rooms and dormers. D.C. land prices were too high to build detached houses for the middle class market (i.e., the builders couldn’t make a profit), but these buyers could afford row houses. The majority of them were federal employees and almost exclusively African American. A staple of the neighborhood has been generational ownership for several decades.
More than anything else, the common theme with Kingman Park has been a refusal to allow major construction projects in the surrounding area. This area would have included the Oklahoma Avenue Metro station, which was proposed in the early 1970s to be the immediate stop after Stadium Armory on the Orange and Blue line. By 1977, efforts to build the station were abandoned entirely, with residents citing concerns over a proposed parking lot, as well as non-residents flooding the neighborhood to park along the streets. New stadium proposals for the RFK site were also proposed and subsequently dismissed due to concerns expressed by Kingman Park residents. The Washington (insert your favorite mascot here)(I like Bureaucrats) football team inhabited RFK stadium from 1961 until 1996, but after failing to receive city approval for a new stadium, the team relocated to Maryland in 1997.
The numbers — The year 2005 was a tipping point for Kingman Park, with more than 25 homes crossing the $300K mark. But the latter half of the decade, from 2005 through 2010, was truly remarkable. Home values leapt into the mid and high $400s and have in the last few years begun knocking on the door of $600K and more.
Investment/livability — A super-solid investment. Size will never go out of style, in a peaceful, easy setting, close enough to the action without being too close, courtesy of those who resisted change.
Best-kept secret — Kingman and Heritage Islands Park
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HillNow.com.