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

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

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!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »