President Obama’s first DC home. Courtesy Yelp.
When Johnsie Walsh rented a unit in her Stanton Park apartment building to a newly-elected senator named Barack Obama in 2005, she had no idea that she would be turning 227 6th Street NE (map) into a future stop on a presidential bus tour.
“People would say, ‘He’s going to be the next president, you should keep a copy of those checks!’” Walsh told UrbanTurf. “I’d just laugh and say ‘Yeah, sure’.”
Then-Senator Obama lived in the one-bedroom on Capitol Hill for about three years, Walsh remembers, holding on to the place even after he started campaigning for the presidency.
The sitting president, who was a very good tenant according to Walsh, apparently had simple needs during those years. Walsh said the apartment is very “plain jane,” with an old bathroom, a tiny kitchen and a half-sized stove. “It was just a meager space in a convenient location,” she said.
Though he wasn’t president yet, Obama’s lucrative book deals meant that he surely had enough money to rent a pricier place if he desired. But Walsh admires his decision to keep things simple.
“I really respect people who have money or status or both and can live a minimal existence like he did,” she said. Walsh, who voted for her former tenant in both elections, identifies as neither a Democrat or Republican.
Even though she lives in California and never met President Obama in person, Walsh has a few memories of his stay. Once, a fire in the building brought her back to the property. In order to check out the smoke damage to in the apartment, she had to first go through Secret Service: the current president already needed protecting. Walsh remembers a very tastefully decorated place with a nice sleigh bed. The apartment wasn’t quite up to the tastes of the future first lady, though, who said in an interview that she would never have stayed there.
The lease on the one-bedroom ended when the presidential race started heating up in 2008; the Secret Service decided that it would be easier to protect Obama if he stayed in a hotel. The apartment has been passed on to various Obama staffers ever since.
For posterity, Walsh did hold on to a copy of a $1,200 rent check, dated May 2008 and signed by Michelle Obama. Perhaps it will find its way into a presidential library one of these days.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/obama_the_tenant_the_presidents_landlord/6518
Most Popular... This Week • Last 30 Days • Ever
The Somerset House, an 84-unit building at 16th and S Street NW, is converting from... read »
Political consultants Mary Matalin and James Carville purchased a 5,000 square-foot... read »
The trouble with open-concept kitchens; the elusive million-dollar home; and a NoMa... read »
UrbanTurf is taking a look at neighborhood-specific housing statistics with the help... read »
How to do concrete floors right; student debt keeping first-time homebuyers from... read »
Eataly has signed a letter of intent for somewhere in the vicinity of 30,000 to... read »
Small living is about to take on a whole new meaning on one of the city's hippest... read »
An oversupply of apartments and an undersupply of condos can't be fixed by... read »
A new Zillow study examined affordability by zip code in the country's top metros.... read »
How much does a deeded parking spot run you in the District? And what about renting?... read »
With this weekend's DC houseboat tour a day away, UrbanTurf thought it only fitting... read »
President Obama travels to Denver this morning to sign the stimulus bill that has... read »
At Wednesday night's ANC 2F Design Review Committee meeting, developers presented... read »
As The Wharf prepares to begin construction, DC's houseboat community heads to its... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader asks a fairly common question... read »
DC Real Estate Guides
Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market
We’ve collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!