In our last edition of Hidden Places, we took a look at Miller’s Court, a three-house street tucked away on Capitol Hill (map). Since that article ran, we’ve learned a few more things about 308, 310 and 312 Miller’s Court NE from their owner, Brian Stansberry.
Stansberry, who’s done a lot of research into the history of the court, tells us that though he refers to the little houses as “carriage homes,” it’s unlikely they served that purpose.
“The doorways are too small for (carriages), unless the doorways and front areas were redone over time, and it’s impossible to tell,” he said.
308, the dark red home on the far left in the photo above, was built first, in 1884. The other two came along in 1886. Each was built for around $500. When Stansberry painted them, the Historic Preservation Office directed him to choose bright colors, which was the order of the day for the tucked-away buildings.
“No one seems to know why” these interior courts got the special paint treatment, Stansberry said.
When the homes were built, there were plenty of similar courts in the city, but most were torn down in the 1930s. The homes Stansberry now rents as business abodes could have once been used for a similar purpose, housing artisans or skilled workers.
“A lot of Hill residents say it was not uncommon for the Federal government to build or rent these for particularly skilled workers that they wanted close at hand,” he said, noting they also may have been used as storefronts.
The biggest remaining mystery about the three-house street? That apostrophe.
“The only controversy is whether it’s Miller’s Court or Millers Court,” Stansberry said. “It appears both ways in tons of different city documents.”
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/more_on_millers_court_dcs_three-block_street/8974
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