This Week’s Find: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin to Home

by Shilpi Paul

This Week's Find: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin to Home: Figure 1
1125 D Street NE

Built in 1860, This Week’s Find, now a 3,100 square-foot four-bedroom home, has a past that includes life as a pie factory and as a clearing house for illicit substances.

In the late 1870’s, 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.

This Week's Find: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin to Home: Figure 2
Living Area

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 1970’s, when a company under the name of R&R Driftwood was caught smuggling heroin from Thailand into the the US through 1125 D Street NE.

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.

More photos and details below.

This Week's Find: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin to Home: Figure 3

This Week's Find: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin to Home: Figure 4
Rooftop Deck

This Week's Find: From Pie to Hooch to Heroin to Home: Figure 5

  • Full Listing: 1125 D Street NE (map)
  • Price: $983,500
  • Bedrooms: Four
  • Bathrooms: Four
  • Year Built: 1860
  • Listing Agent: Tom Kavanagh, Keller Williams Capital Property

See other articles related to: unique spaces, lofts, dclofts, capitol hill

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/this_weeks_find_from_pie_to_hooch_to_heroin/5343


  1. Bess said at 3:47 pm on Wednesday March 28, 2012:
    I don't know what is more amazing -- the story or the house!
  1. JT said at 5:13 pm on Wednesday March 28, 2012:
    Just walked by this place a couple nights ago and was blown away by what I could see in through the front window. Great history! Is there any easy way to find out the histories of our own homes?
  1. Les said at 8:09 pm on Wednesday March 28, 2012:
    Why do both this house and the adjacent house have bars on the ground floor doors and/or windows? Is the neighborhood safe? I would hope so for a home that costs near $1M.
  1. Matt said at 8:17 pm on Wednesday March 28, 2012:
    @Les I work across from a house in Georgetown that has bars on the ground floor windows. It's just a part of city living.
  1. anon said at 8:18 pm on Wednesday March 28, 2012:
    <i>Why do both this house and the adjacent house have bars on the ground floor doors and/or windows? Is the neighborhood safe? I would hope so for a home that costs near $1M.</i> Are you serious? The bars on Hill homes became common in the 80s with the earliest waves of gentrifiers in response to serial burglars who used to bust out homes while the occupants were away at work. It's a byproduct, but many houses have retained bars as a practical security measure. It doesn't mean the residents feel unsafe. If you feel unsafe at this address, city living probably isn't for you.
  1. mona said at 8:24 pm on Wednesday March 28, 2012:
    already under contract
  1. Scott said at 1:48 pm on Monday May 14, 2012:
    To JT. There are local folks in DC that will do a complete house history for you, or you can do your own research at the Archives building downtown. Takes a little time, but very interesting.

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