Bloomingdale Bites – November 2017

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Pumpkin painting at the Common Good City Farm. Photo: Taylor Barden Golden

LeDroit Remembers a Dear Friend
The neighbors of the Park at Le Droit celebrated the end of the summer season with their annual Falloween in the Park. Kids and parents alike came dressed for Halloween and played on the equipment, painted pumpkins, and had their faces painted throughout the beautiful fall day.

While the festivities were a celebration of the holiday and the season, the day had a somber undertone as it was dedicated to the life and work of slain DC resident Tricia McCauley. McCauley was an avid supporter of Common Good City Farm (CGCF). She was CGCF’s resident herbalist and led the way in the creation of the herb garden at the site.

McCauley was last seen alive on Christmas day 2016, when friends began to worry and reported her missing. Her body was later found, assaulted and strangled, in the back seat of her car. In September of this year, Duane Adrian Johnson, 30, who did not know McCauley, pleaded guilty to her murder and received a 30-year prison sentence.

The crime shocked the local community, which knew the actress and yoga instructor to be a kind and generous friend who actively sought to better her community through gardens. She helped to start the LeDroit Park Community Garden, which sits right next to the Common Good City Farm within the park.

In McCauley’s honor, Friends of the Park at LeDroit invited practitioners to participate in the Falloween celebration. They hosted a nutritionist, an herbalist, an astrologer, a yoga teacher, and a tarot card reader – all things that McCauley was interested in or a practitioner of. A teacher from Yoga District taught a yoga class, and DC Acro Yogis performed and held a mini-workshop for event attendees. Quotes from McCauley lined the farm and garden walls, and neighbors fondly remember her kindness and warmth.

Maria Fyodorova, president of Friends of the Park at LeDroit, explained, “She meant a lot to many people in the community and it was important for the Friends of the Park at LeDroit to honor her at this event where we celebrated our community.”

Participants enter a stop on the Bloomingdale House Tour. Photo: Taylor Barden Golden

History Outside, Luxury Inside
The beauty of Bloomingdale was on full display at this year’s Bloomingdale House Tour. Hosted every two years by the Bloomingdale Civic Association (BCA), the tour provides locals the chance to sneak a peek into some of the most beautiful homes in Bloomingdale, most of which were constructed between 1850 and 1920. The proceeds of the tour benefit the civic association, and the event is the key source of funding for the BCA scholarship fund.

For the second time, the event included design and artistic workshops, the first of which focused specifically on Bloomingdale’s architectural history and its importance in the DC landscape. Architect Ahmet Kilic presented “Bloomingdale Townhouses: Then and Now,” describing the differences in internal and external design of the neighborhood from its completion more than 100 years ago until now.

Architect M. Jennifer Harty looked into the future with her presentation about reaching Bloomingdale’s greatest potential through the lens of urban design. The event culminated with a cocktail reception and art show featuring the work of local artists and neighborhood supporters.

The tour is always well-attended and grows in activities each year. Most of the proceeds support the BCA scholarship fund, which gives funds to two graduating seniors embarking on their first year of college. This year’s recipients are Kara Chamberlaine, who is heading to Dartmouth College, and D’Antre Judd, who is on his way to Morehouse College in Atlanta.

The homes on the tour range from Victorian to modern, but they all share a common chicness inside. All have had major renovations, but almost all have kept many of the features that make homes of their era unique, such as elaborate moldings and ornate fireplaces. With average home prices in Bloomingdale on the steep incline, the quality of the work has continued to rise.

Artist Marta Perez Garcia explained her love of her neighborhood: “I love the way Bloomingdale defends its identity, its history, and its diversity. In Bloomingdale we came for a house, and we found a home and a bridge to a vibrant community.”

Ride participants pose to win a prize for “best selfie with a stone.” Photo: Vaughn Edelson

Boundary Stone Celebrates Its Name
Bikes and beers abound at Boundary Stone’s fifth annual bike ride. The ride caters to history buffs, especially those interested in DC’s early years. The route takes riders in a literal diamond around the city – the city as it used to be.

Boundary Stone has always sponsored the event, which has grown in participants, partners, and activities over the years. The bike community has gotten heavily involved. An Eckington nonprofit, Gearin’ Up Bicycles, is a partner, along with metro-area groups Phoenix Bikes, Bikes for the World, and VeloCity Bicycle Cooperative. The ride is free, but rider donations support the shops’ community outreach programs.

The chairman of the Nation’s Capital Boundary Stones Committee, Stephen Powers, started the ride with some history about the stones and the process of laying out the city. In 1791, Congress authorized President George Washington to select a 100-square-mile piece of land along the Potomac River that was then Alexandria, Va., and Williamsport, Md. That territory, the original planned property for the District of Columbia, is lined with boundary stones, which have been in place since 1791, making them the oldest federal monuments. Of the original 40 stones, 36 are in good or near-good condition, including all those on land that was given back to Virginia in 1846.

Participants are welcome to ride as much or as little of the full diamond as they want, but this year the organizers handed out medals for those who made it all the way around the full 60 miles. They also awarded prizes for “best selfie with a stone,” which gave breaks to the trekking participants.

Organizer Vaughn Edelson explained: “The ride started as a way to introduce people to a piece of DC history, and our nation’s history, that they might not know about – and get a free beer for doing it!” The beer comes at the after-party, which is, of course, at Boundary Stone.

 

Taylor Barden Golden is a real estate agent with The Stokes Group at McEnearney Associates Inc. A former Hill staffer, Taylor lives in Brentwood with her husband, two dogs, and a cat. She’s always on the lookout for new places to explore and ways to spend time outside. Get in touch: taylor@midcitydcnews.com; @rtaylorb.