Caroline Street Today

Caroline Street today is an American urban community in the best sense.

The area is stable. Seventeen of the twenty-four houses are occupied by their owners. Three more are owned by former residents who plan to return at some time in the future. One house has been in the same family for 76 years. Only five houses have changed hands in the last 10 years. Sixteen households have been on the street 10 years or longer, six for more than 20. While some major life events cause people to leave the street, retirement normally does not. As our senior resident said, "I don't want to leave Caroline Street except feet first."

Ethnically we are typically American: some whose ancestors were among the first Europeans to settle on this continent, some whose ancestors were brought here from Africa in chains over 200 years ago, some who were born in at least four other countries.

Ages run from a few months to 86 years. Employment and education run the gamut, though rising property values mean that new buyers are usually professionals with advanced degrees.

Many residents have created attractive garden spaces both in front and back of their houses. In the past, some of the gardens hidden in the back have been featured in a spring garden tour that was conducted by the former Residential Action Coalition.

Many residents use cars rarely; some don't own one. And that is hardly surprising, for in 10 or 15 minutes you can walk to numerous restaurants in Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle, and the developing U and 14th Street corridors; three supermarkets with another in planning; post office; banks; doctors, dentists, lawyers and drug stores; theaters, movie houses, night clubs and even an occasional opera; a variety of churches - most everything considered necessary today. And for things not within an easy walk, such as the Amtrak station, National Airport and the major department stores, there is always the Metro, several bus routes, and numerous taxis. Recently, an hourly-rental Zip car was added to the options.

Caroline Street is a neighborhood where people not just know but take care of each other. There are fond thoughts of the late Caroline Evans' day care services from years past, as there are of the fresh produce that the late George Evans frequently provided neighbors from his country garden. The Williams household continues to serve as a temporary repository for packages delivered to the street from the US Postal Service, FEDEX, and UPS whenever the intended recipients are not home to receive them. Residents, particularly those retired or who work at home, pay attention to what is happening outside, to help ensure area safety and deter crime. Dog walkers add a visible deterrence at various times of the day and night. And several neighbors work on an informal yet regular basis to ensure that the street is as litter free as is possible in a dense urban area.

This then is Caroline Street at 126, a community with all the pleasures (and some of the problems) of urban life. A street Jane Jacobs would love. We look forward, with our neighbors, to more good times in the future.

Last update 21 October 2005

Copyright Richard Busch, 1993, 2004-5
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