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Best House History of the Year: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin

by Shilpi Paul

Best House History of the Year: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin: Figure 1

UrbanTurf usually stays away from publishing rankings or lists…except at the end of the year when we look back at the best that DC’s residential real estate scene had to offer during the previous 12 months. So, this week, we are looking at not only the best, but the most intriguing and peculiar things that came across our radar over the course of the past year.

With so many homes in the area dating back more than a hundred years, house histories can get pretty juicy. But of all the properties we’ve featured this year, the story of one Capitol Hill home stuck in our minds for its criminally intriguing past.

Built in 1860, the 3,100 square-foot four-bedroom home on D Street NE has a timeline that includes life as a pie factory and as a clearing house for illicit substances.

Best House History of the Year: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin: Figure 2
1125 D Street NE

In the late 1870s, Henry Kern bought the original one-story building from his father-in-law, and a few years later, built a two-story addition on adjacent land and raised his family and ran a bakery out of the space. Kern’s Pies were a neighborhood staple for the next few decades.

Upon retiring, Kern decided to rent the building to a bottler, Ellis Duke. Here’s where the story of the property takes a felonious turn. Duke distributed beer, whiskey and wine from the address during Prohibition until the building was raided in 1928.

The address was raided yet again in the 1970s, when a company under the name of R&R Driftwood was caught smuggling heroin from Thailand into the US through the home.

Now, the space is a near million-dollar loft with some street cred. With high ceilings, an acid-washed concrete floor, exposed steel beams, a floating cement staircase, and sliding barn doors, the living area has an industrial feel. The cozy bedrooms help soften the vibe, and the house also has a roof deck with a pergola and an above-ground in-law suite.

While a 2001 renovation created a number of the aforementioned features, the building’s history still may be the most fascinating thing about it. It sold for $975,000, slightly below its asking price, in April.

More photos and details below.

  • Address: 1125 D Street NE (map)
  • Asking Price: $983,500
  • Bedrooms: Four
  • Bathrooms: Four
  • Year Built: 1860

Best House History of the Year: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin: Figure 3
Rooftop Deck

Best House History of the Year: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin: Figure 4
Kitchen

See other articles related to: dclofts, best of 2012

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/best_house_history_of_the_year_from_pie_to_hooch_to_heroin/6340

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