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A Closer Look at DC’s Three-House Street

by Lark Turner

A Closer Look at DC's Three-House Street: Figure 1

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.”

See other articles related to: miller's court, hidden places

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/more_on_millers_court_dcs_three-block_street/8974

1 Comment

  1. MJ said at 4:44 pm on Tuesday September 23, 2014:
    This map from Ghosts of DC, from 1888 has them listed as "Tenements." http://ghostsofdc.org/2014/03/11/1888-map-east-capitol-street/ The alley's name is not listed on the map, but note that what today is called Frederick Douglas Court (on Block 785) , which is a block north, is listed as Lake Alley. The Alley a block south (on Block 787) appears as Walsh Alley. By the way, I would love to get some history on Lake Alley, because I live on that block and haven't found any history of it. Hope you enjoy the map. Did you know there was a candy factory on block 759?

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