Interview with:   Dr. Joseph Stephen Hall
Interview Date:  

January 9 and February 3, 2003

Interviewer:   Nancy Martin
Transcriber:   Elizabeth Eck
    This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.


MARTIN: This is Nancy Martin. I'm interviewing Dr. Hall. This is the second tape, the second full tape, and the second interview on February 3. We did the first on January 9 and had so much material we decided we'd end that interview and come back and it's Monday morning, I'm in Dr. Hall's home here, on Eighth and Massachusetts, and he is ready to continue.

HALL: Yes, well thank you Nancy. When you came the other time, I had not had a chance to read your questions because you handed them to me on that occasion. But after you left I did go over your questions and I made a few little notes. Now, in order not to take too much of your time today, I'll just go through in one sentence answers, if that's ok with you. If then, you wish some elaboration on any item of which I am capable, then I'll be glad to do so.

OK, on your second page here you ask about how did you travel to your job. By car. Everyone had a car in those days, in the sixties and seventies, and oddly enough, I was working out of town so my commute was very very easy. I was going against the traffic. What was the transportation like? So far as I can recall, the transportation was good. We didn't have Metro but we had Capital Transit, at that time, and there was a real interesting character, as I recall, who owned Capital Transit, O. Roy Chalk. And Chalk fancied himself to be an aviator and he had a small puddle jumper airline, as I remember, and he worked the planes in the Caribbean taking people hither and yon. I can remember trolleys in the city as well. There were tracks all over and where the tracks were still there, and they'd put on buses, you would cuss them because it made driving uncomfortable. You'd have to drive over the tracks. There were two or three trolleys still running, I think the Georgia Avenue was still running when I first came here.

MARTIN: Again, this is in the fifties.

HALL: In the sixties.

MARTIN: Sixties, ok.

HALL: Well, late fifties, '58 I came into this area. Now, you ask about parking here, parking was ok. Nothing like the problem that it is now. I got rid of my car. Now that I'm retired, I don't really feel the need of a car that much for the insurance and the gas and all that, I can hop a cab every other day for the same money. Going on down your page two, we talked about where one would shop. I did speak about the various grocery stores. I think I did at that other occasion. In those days, Safeway had the policy of small stores but more frequently placed in neighborhoods.

There was a Safeway where that awful looking health building is now, across from Eastern Market. You know that health building, that weird looking building that should have never been allowed architecturally in that area. There was a Safeway that sat there, very small and at times, very understocked and sometimes rather messy. There was another Safeway that was built down here at Eighth and C [NE]. It had parking on the top of the store, that was a Safeway at that time. When they ceased operation as a Safeway on Seventh Street, across from the Market, that became the, that was the beginning of the flea market. They opened that building and let vendors go in there, and that was the genesis of the big flea market as we know it on the weekends today. There was likewise another Safeway on Seventh Street in the unit block of Seventh Street [NE], where those two big new houses were built right next to Contex Realty. Ernie Antignani's place. That Safeway was the one at which I shopped most of the time, and it was a nice little store than the one across from the Market. During the riots, '68, that building was broken into. They broke big plate glass windows, stepped right in there and looted the place big time. It was never reopened as a grocery store.

MARTIN: Did you walk over there and see that, during the riots, did you see any of that personally?

HALL: I saw it, after it had been vandalized, yes I did. During the actual riots, the three or four days, Mayor Washington said, everybody, he called a curfew and he said, "Everybody get home, and you stay in your house from six o'clock on," I think it was six o'clock. And I did that. My house was just a half a block from that Safeway. I was living at 708 A, just around the corner from that, where the Reeses are now. And I literally stayed in the house. I just felt that there was enough going on outdoors that I didn't have to add to it. So other than going to work during the daytime, I did not. Now, there was another store that I think you might find of interest. In those days the drugstores were all Peoples. Peoples Drug, Peoples. CVS took them over and they're scattered around. Do you recall, Nancy, in your neighborhood, you know the building that is between East Capitol to the north of East Capitol, between that and Massachusetts Avenue right down there? It's now a condominium.

MARTIN: Right, that was a drugstore. On this block? On your block, down there?

HALL: No, on Lincoln Square. At Lincoln Park, the big building that faces the park. From East Capitol to Mass. Avenue. That was a Peoples Drug Store. And it was vandalized during that period, that same riot of '68. They broke in there, ruined the place. The first floor of that building was a big Peoples Drug Store. The upstairs was always apartments. And then it sat there, derelict, vacant, for many many many many many years and finally somebody reopened and redid as a condominium.

MARTIN: So in the mid-seventies, was it that long between '68 and '72 or '73?

HALL: It sat vacant from '68 the riots, for most nearly of 10 years, I would say. When did you come to town?

MARTIN: '71.

HALL: Well, what was that building at that time?

MARTIN: I don't remember that at all, because we were living right behind the Supreme Court.

HALL: Oh I see, you weren't in that neighborhood. Well, it sat there empty except for a few brave souls who continued to rent the apartments on the upper levels.

MARTIN: I see. I see.

HALL: Because it always had access to the upper levels, independent of the store. But then when they finally redid and somebody was very smart to take it over and redo it, some developer, I do not recall. It may have been Beau Bogan and his outfit, I don't recall. Beau Bogan, in his day, when I first came here, was the same kind of power that the Dentons later became in real estate.

MARTIN: That's interesting.

HALL: Now, moving on to your next question. We talked about Jimmy T's, we talked about the Tune Inn, we talked about Mary's Blue Room. Boone's Market, yes yes. [Laughs] It's still there, but we don't call it Boone's Market anymore. Sherrill's was another fascinating place. You'd love to go in there and get insulted. [unintelligible]

MARTIN: That's required.

HALL: We mentioned the Eighth Street...

MARTIN: Did you go into Sherrill's?

HALL: Sherrill's? Oh yes, yes, You'd love to go in there and you got the greasy eggs and bacon...

MARTIN: Oh, it was awful.

HALL: ...on Saturday morning and sat on those terrible booths.

MARTIN: And loved every minute of them.

HALL: Down the middle. And these old babes would come and, "What are you going to have? Now be quick about it, I'm in a hurry around here!" OK, we've talked about Peoples on Lincoln Park We've talked about the Safeways. On down to your question number, well they're all number ten on here. I've made a little note about other stores. There's a very very interesting story about Stanton Park that I recall. On the northeast corner of Fourth and Mass Avenue. There's some new townhouses, between Fourth and Fifth, some older townhouses, and some newer townhouses, on the west side of that block. When I first came here, that was an enormous Esso Gas station. Now Esso was the predecessor of Exxon, and it was. Everybody went there because they were very handy, they had mechanics...

MARTIN: Full service.

HALL: ...grease and oil, but it was a terrible terrible looking place. It was greasy and run-down. There were a lot of places on the Hill like that. The Hill was not -- it was a very ordinary redneck kind of an area. Just like, oh well, anything goes, you know, so spill the grease, don't bother, just step over it, you know, and that kind of stuff. Likewise, another store…

MARTIN: I want to picture this. The Esso station was on the north side of Stanton Park?

HALL: Yes.

MARTIN: OK, north side, where those beautiful new buildings are. Where the frame shop is, I think.

HALL: I think those are private homes along there. They're very large townhouses, brick townhouses.

MARTIN: But it faced right on the park.

HALL: It faced the park, yes. And the last half of that block, it's a short block between Fourth and Fifth, facing the park. And the west side of that block was where this -- and you drove in, it was building up on stilts, and you drove in to get your gas and have your servicing done, and there was a floor above that. I think that was just offices or, I don't think that was living quarters.

MARTIN: And then, catty corner from that was...

HALL: Lee Funeral Home.

MARTIN: Right. And next to that was a veterinary's. A dog hospital. Began with "B."

HALL: Catty corner from?

MARTIN: Right next to where the funeral parlor was. Or two houses in. He closed in the seventies. You don't remember?

HALL: Oh yes, yes there was. There was a veterinary. I never had a pet so I didn't... There was...

MARTIN: Began with "B."

HALL: Here again, a [unintelligible]. It's not part of this immediate neighborhood, but H Street needs to be mentioned briefly. I had a friend who came from Cumberland, Maryland. She had been the assistant manager of a McCrory's five and dime store in Cumberland. They transferred her because they needed an assistant manager at the McCrory's store on H Street. I don't recall the cross street, maybe H and Ninth or maybe Tenth. But it was a very pleasant store. It was a very pleasant store. She was put in charge of the basement. It was a very very pleasant store. You walked in, main floor, nice staircase that went downstairs. And the pots and the pans and the sewing stuff and the thread and whatever have you stuff was down there. Likewise, it was ransacked big time in '68. In the meantime, she had been transferred to a McCrory's out at Seven Corners so she was not there at that time. But there was a very pleasant McCrory's five and dime store that was a theater out through there. I never did much shopping there, but it was a very pleasant area, prior to the riots, it really was. It still is not as pleasant as it was in those days. In other words, that's an area of the city which has not come back up and revitalized itself. Likewise, there was a five and dime store where that hideous building is now over here at Pennsylvania Avenue and Seventh.

MARTIN: Where Bread and Chocolate is?

HALL: Bread and Chocolate, right. That funny looking gray and green brick building has no business being on the Avenue whatsoever any more than that funny building across from Eastern Market but. There was a woman architect at that time who was kind of in cahoots with the city and she could get permits to do anything. She built the building up here at Stanton Park, Sixth and Stanton Park on the north side of that corner.

MARTIN: You don't know her name?

HALL: I don't remember her name. The first redoing she did was a small building, it was quite, it fits in pretty well. Small building she redid at the corner of C and Seventh, across from the south hall of the Market. Then she got hold of the five and dime Kresge that I mentioned, where there was a very large five and dime, Kresge's?

MARTIN: Woolworth's.

HALL: Woolworth's. [ed: Dr. Hall was correct; the store was Kresge's.] Yeah, McCrory's here and a Woolworth's there. And it closed and somehow she got that building, which was a one-story at that time. And she built the whole thing up as it is now. I think it was one-story. Anyway, it was a fairly decent kind of a country store.

MARTIN: With the loss of the Safeway and Woolworth's, it changed shopping right on the Hill, didn't it?

HALL: Well it did. It changed shopping a good deal. And we went without grocery stores for a long time. And the one down on Kentucky Avenue was crummy as could be for many many years and there was the liquor store by it and finally Safeway saw the wisdom in acquiring the building where the liquor store was and enlarging and remodeling the whole thing.

Going on down to your next page, you ask something about the schools. We mentioned Hine before, we covered that. You ask about private schools. I think most of the children in this area who attended private schools went to Georgetown Day, because at that time Capitol Hill Day was not the school that it is today. The Daniels children up here, Leah and Edward Daniels, the son and daughter of Judge and Mrs. Daniels, trudged for years. For years, I saw them daily trudging back and forth with those huge backpacks to get the Metro, the buses to Georgetown Day, and they both finished there.

You ask about the publications, local newspapers. There were no local papers when I came here. The Hill Rag and later the Voice, fairly new things here on the Hill. I took, originally, when I came here, I took the Star, The Evening Star, which was the competitor of the Washington Post. The Post was the morning paper, the Star was the afternoon paper. It was a very fine paper. It was a much more elegantly written paper. It had a lot of sophistication. Much more unbiased than the Post is today. The Post is very very biased and they make no bones about it, and that's their prerogative if they want to be that way editorially. They let that attitude creep sometimes into their news stories. But the Star was really a very -- you don't think of newspapers as elegant, but it was -- a very sophisticated, very readable paper.

The movie houses, I think we mentioned, Nancy, before. The local ones, there was one on H Street, as I said. Then I attended, and I think I mentioned, the Grand and the Penn. The Grand is no longer. The Penn is no longer, though they made them save the facade. That was about the beginning of preservation on the Hill. They made them save the front of that building because it was quite an art deco building. So they made them shore that up and they built the big building in behind it. Now where that Market Place is, across the street, is where the Grand was. And I remember a very interesting little anecdote of when they tore the Grand down to put in that building.

MARTIN: The Market Place?

HALL: The Market Place. They found what they thought to be the oldest Coca Cola outdoor sign on a building, on the building that was just to the west of the Grand that had been there and had been covered up when the Grand was built, apparently, and when the Grand was torn down there was the old sign in very pale lettering there on the other building. Now you mentioned...

MARTIN: And it is preserved now, isn't it? The Coca Cola sign...

HALL: I think it is. I think it's still there, right, right. Now you mentioned antique stores here, along the way. We mentioned Libby Sangster, and where her store was originally, in what is Hawk and Dove now. And there was a little cobbler's shop, I mentioned that. But that was over on Pennsylvania Avenue, before she moved to the Market area.

Community organizations. The Restoration -- there were no arts groups that I can recall. Public service groups. Other than, I think, a Lions Club, here and there, or a Rotary, I think was here. But the restoration group [Capitol Hill Restoration Society] formed about that time. I belonged in the early, early days. And one of the characters of Capitol Hill was this Curley Boswell who headed it up for a long time.

MARTIN: Tell me about that.

HALL: Well, Curley Boswell was a man of many interests and many talents. He had his finger in a lot of pies. He owned a lot of real estate. He owned some very elegant houses here and about. And he was interested in restoration, and I don't think he started the Restoration Society, but he was the first outstanding president that they had who really began to push the idea of restoration. And, of course, restoration is a -- to restore means to put it back exactly like it was and we don't do that. We modernize, but we remodel and preserve what we can today.

Police substations. What can you say about -- not much. The one down here was not a substation. That was a small store of some kind, I think. Where the 1D1 is now. But it was not a substation at that time.

Northeast, Southeast Public Library. She asks. They were there, and I was in those buildings in those days. I also went, in my studies, I also used the Carnegie Library, which is there at Mount Vernon Square, as well as the Library of Congress. I had a card, a stack card in those days, for the Library of Congress. The Carnegie Library was very good, and a very interesting building, if you've never been in that building. I am delighted that someone is going to redo it and make it the Historic Society headquarters out of that. It's a lovely building.

MARTIN: That was difficult to get to, though, wasn't it? Because there certainly wasn't any parking, you just sort of swirled that building. How did you manage that?

HALL: I don't remember. I know I drove in. I drove there. I don't recall taking the bus there. I guess I just parked wherever I could and walked over there. In those days, the walking was no problem for me and the steps were no problem. Such as now. But the Carnegie Library, in its way, was quite good. Some of the collections were better than others. There was not the Washingtonian collection that we now have. Washingtoniana. They were strong, as I recall, that library was strong on early American history.

Now, you mentioned here what was Union Station like. At times, that place was terrible and they had so many changes of mind about it. And I thought the poor thing would never come round and get off the ground as it is now.

Another interesting place, I made a little note here, was Hechinger. Hechinger was always at the five points out here, at Benning Road and H Street and Bladensburg Road. And the original Hechinger that I remember was a small building which contained the hardware items and the cashiers and that. But then to get lumber, you went outside into a barn-like structure that was never heated. It was just a barn-like structure right on the ground. And you went down aisles and here were two-by-fours and here were four-by-eights and here were other kinds of lumber, siding and so forth. And you got what you wanted or told them. And then you went into this small building and paid. But you didn't go there much in the wintertime because it was a very unheated. Finally, they got modern enough to the point that they would let the lumbermen, you could go in and order what you wanted and they could bring it out to you if you have a truck to take it. Out of this old barn that was cold.

MARTIN: What I remember is, most of us were renovating or, we thought, restoring houses, at that time. So Saturday mornings we'd be either at Frager's or at Hechinger's. It was just a standard. That's where we'd be.

HALL: Yes! Oh yes. And Frager's was, and still is, a marvel. You know, it takes you back a hundred and fifty years. I love to go in Frager's.

MARTIN: You what?

HALL: Love to go in Frager's. OK... moving on down. Spent time in the Library of Congress. Now, you say, what was the Navy Yard like? The Navy Yard, when I came here, was pretty much abandoned for the purpose for which it was built. When Capitol Hill, for instance, when this house was built, the Navy Yard was a big source of employment. The big employers, at that time, were Federal government and the Navy Yard. People who lived in this area generally worked either on the Hill as some sort of a clerk or other, or at the Navy Yard. And most of these older houses were homes of the just common people who worked at the Navy Yard. You know, these were not elegant homes at all. I have, in my collection here, best addresses that are no longer, Washington Lost?

MARTIN: Right.

HALL: In the block where the Folger Library is now. I have a picture of that block. It was the most elegant block at that time, for a few years, in the city. When they first started the residential part of the city, they thought that it would grow east of the Capitol. That was not to be. But some builder did build some beautiful, three-story, and raised basements, English basements. In that block. And it was a very handsome, handsome block. Stone, the first two floors, as I recall. Brick above that. Very elegant houses that were torn down later for the Folger Library. But that was even before my time, if you can believe it.

OK, moving on down. Were there concerts at the Supreme Court? Library of Congress? Marine Barracks? The concerts that I remember were at the Watergate. You would go down and sit on those steps and a barge would come in and bring the Marine Band or the Navy Band or the National Symphony, at that time, was just getting started. It was not really very good, but, you know, everything has to start someplace. The art galleries, the Mellon was there. The original art gallery on the Mall, and of course, the East Building was built in our time. Botanical Garden, yes, was there. It's had its ups and downs, and finally it has been restored. What was Eighth Street like? What was Pennsylvania Avenue like? We talked about Pennsylvania Avenue. Eighth Street was very scruffy, as one block down there still is, several blocks still are. And I'm hoping that they can really do something, but Eighth Street was very very scruffy.

I talk about Seventh, I've mentioned Eastern Market enough here. Independence Avenue, I mentioned the Adams Building was torn down [correction: houses were torn down to build the Adams Building] and the people who lived next door when I came here had lived in a house in the block where the Adams Building is now. And they loved that part of town. They claimed Independence Avenue as their home 'til the day they died. Even though they had to leave there. Likewise, I think I mentioned to you...

MARTIN: And that was fairly recent. That was in the seventies, wasn't it, when that was torn down? Those houses?

HALL: Oh no, no, no. You're thinking of the Madison Building. The Adams is the second library. It's the very plain, little building that sits immediately to the east of the original Jefferson Building. The Jefferson is the lovely big original building. Then they...

MARTIN: But this family had lived right behind the Jefferson Building, where the Adams...

HALL: Right, right. There were townhouses there. Big old townhouses. In other words, they lived right across from what is now Trover's Shop. Faced. And she always said, "That big brass door there on the Adams Building, that's where our house was. They took our house!" She was such an interesting character, next door.

MARTIN: Where did she go? She's not alive now?

HALL: Oh no, no. The Truseim sisters, two old maids. The nephew, who is now about my age, inherited the little house next door. But the two old maids were real Hill characters. They really were.

MARTIN: Tell me more about them. Anything.

HALL: Well, the one. There was Margretta and Eva. Eva was one of the first female school principals appointed in the District of Columbia. And this was in the late nineteenth century, because she lived into the seventies. And she was, at that time, well into her nineties. And then the younger sister, Margretta, lived for a number of years more. They were very very interesting women. In the early days, they would get out and work in their yard. They were very opinionated about things. I mean, any issue, you had no question as to where they stood. They would come right out and tell you, "Well, this president stinks, he's doing the wrong thing. I don't like this man."

MARTIN: How do you spell their last name? Can you sound it out?

HALL: T-R-U-E-... I'd have to look it up, my dear, in my book. T-R-U-S-E-I-M. Truseim. And they always claimed that they were Alsatian. German. French-German, that area of France and Germany, right in between the two, in the northern part of France, Alsatian part there. And they said, "Our name is quite French." Truseim. Truseim.

OK, Constitution Avenue. Much the same, only some upgrading. Well, you recall, of course, when this was a parking lot over here. These houses were built about three years ago. Constitution Avenue has not changed that much, come to think about it. Down here in the nine hundred block, this little house that was occupied by the serving lady, who served as the clean-up maid for the Truseim sisters. A woman, very very interesting woman, you would love to talk with her. Eleanor Meischour. And that little house of hers stood there. It's a nineteenth century building. Stood there. You can see it now.

MARTIN: Is that the single building?

HALL: No, no, down here in the nine hundred block.



HALL: No, dear, we're talking about Constitution. Constitution.

MARTIN: Constitution, OK.

HALL: Which, in those days...

MARTIN: This is Eleanor Meischour's house.

HALL: Eleanor Meischour. And I think I still maybe have her name in my old phone book. I could look it up for you. Maiden lady who was known as the "walking lady" in this neighborhood. And she was known as the "serving lady." She had been a nun in early years and was very, servile, I guess would be the word. Very deferential. And she had that little single house that sat on three lots [ed: 920 Constitution Avenue NE]. You would remember it, Nancy. Down here, a little ramshackle wooden house with a little front porch on it, sat there for many many years, with a vacant lot here and a vacant lot here. And this Camero, Mario Camero, is building the new houses. He acquired the property somehow. The preservation review board made him save the wooden house. They would not let him tear that down. So he built around it and built a pleasant-looking townhouse out of it. And then on either side he built, with basements, unlike the original house, a house on each side [918 and 922 Constitution Avenue NE]. And they're now for sale. They may have been sold. But you can go down there and take a look at those.

MARTIN: I'm going to walk that way on my way home!

HALL: Yeah. OK. Now you speak here of doctors and dentists on the Hill. I always used a dentist in Northwest because a friend of mine had pointed me in that direction when I first came here. But as far as a general practitioner, Dr. Gay was the physician of choice here. She had a practice on East Capitol and was a very very fine woman. I never did go to her but many many many residents here on the Hill did. Lawyers. I never had an occasion to use a lawyer other than somebody at a closing or, real estate settlement when you buy property. But Jack Mahoney was a leading Hill kind of lawyer that people used.

DC Government. You ask a question about that. When I first came here, there were commissioners. We did not have a mayor. That happened after I came here. Walter Washington was appointed after I came here. Not elected, but appointed. We had commissioners, and I remember the chairman of the commissioners. There were three commissioners, going way way back. Old Boss Shepherd, for whom Shepherd Park is named and who did so much for the city but broke the city royally. But he put in sewers and streets and streetlights. The city was a mess before Shepherd took over. He was head of Public Works and he really did pull this city together. He got no thanks for it because they ran him out of office and nearly out of town. But following that, there were other commissioners, and when I came here, Tobriner, a guy by the name of Tobriner, was the chairman of the commissioners, and Hechinger, the original John Hechinger, was a commissioner. And one other whose name I cannot recall.

MARTIN: Who was the second one you said, Briner?

HALL: Tobriner. T-O-B-R-I-N-E-R. And I can't think of Tobriner's first name. But these were all very upstanding citizens of the city, and who had the interest of the city at heart. They were appointed, at that time, by the president with the consent of Congress to run the Federal City. And in those days, the city was run much better than it was later. We did not have a lot of the problems. Then, of course, Home Rule came in and with that, and it continues to this day, unfortunately. Cronyism, corruption here and there, you name it. But the commissioner form of government, when I came here, seemed to me to be rather honest and rather efficient.

Where did most of the congressmen and senators live? If they lived at all on the Hill, they lived here and there. There are more living here now than were then because the Hill has, quote, come up. But their staffers lived here. Many many many many staffers. There were staffers living in this house. As a matter of fact, you met Inez and her husband, John. Dear John Jones was the administrative assistant, as head staffer, for the senator from Oregon when he first came here. So, he was an example of staffers living here.

Famous people living on the Hill. Oh my. Roberta Flack, I would have to say, would be one of the famous people at that time. Curley Boswell. I can think of Barbara Held and her husband, Bob Reich. There was a very older woman named Battle Railey who was -- and that was her real first name.

MARTIN: Battle?

HALL: Battle. Battle Railey. She was one of the first women anywhere on the Hill to be licensed to be a realtor. And she did a lot of selling of the older places that were put up for renovation.

Town characters. Ha!

MARTIN: Besides you.

HALL: [Laughs] I guess I am now.

MARTIN: Yes you are!

HALL: Henry Yaffe would certainly be one of them. And he is still living and he is very very feeble and in bad shape. Libby Sangster.

MARTIN: Where does Henry Yaffe live and why was he a character?

HALL: Oh, you don't know Henry Yaffe?!


HALL: Oh, honey, well Henry Yaffe is the "Mr. Henry."

MARTIN: I see.

HALL: The Mr. Henry who did so much for the restaurant scene in this city. There's an interesting story, did I tell you, about his connection with Libby Sangster?

MARTIN: Go ahead.

HALL: They were great good friends. And when he acquired what was then the 601, a run down, terrible looking redneck bar, where Mr. Henry's is now, Henry Yaffe said, "Hmm. Well I'm going to do something with this place," and he decided -- it was very popular in those days, Victorian pubs was the thing in New York City, he had found out, you know. So he thought he would bring New York City to the wilds of Washington, you know. So he acquired that building, put in a new kitchen which is still very small and very inadequate. How they do what they do, I don't know. And he had his friend, Libby Sangster, come over there. I was in on some of that, because I was there one day when she was decorating. He must have said, "Now, Libby. Victorian. I want you to pull out all the old Victorian stuff you've got in this old place you have here, and you bring it down here and we'll just hang it up." And that's how all the stuff that's hanging on the walls now, gathering dust, through the years, happened. She came over there and Henry Yaffe would climb up and she would say, "No, a little to the left," and "Put a nail there," and "OK, hang it there. Hang it there."

Libby Sangster, and for many many years, Nancy, her picture, if you can recall, in the window of Mr. Henry's. There was a picture of a woman. Do you remember that? Beautiful face. Libby Sangster had a beautiful face. But a very weird body. It was almost as though her legs grew out of her armpits. I mean her body was so, so compact and so short but a beautiful face. And when she was young, she was an artists' model. And Henry Yaffe came by one of these pictures of her as a young woman, facial pictures. He put it on the body of a -- Henry Yaffe is a great prankster, one of the great pranksters. He put it on Theta Bara's body, cut out the face of Libby Sangster. I think it was Theta Bara, an old silent movie star. I'm pretty sure of that.

MARTIN: Is it still hanging there?

HALL: You go in there and ask him.

MARTIN: We've got to go look.

HALL: Ask him where that is. It's no longer there.

MARTIN: OK, what did he do with it?

HALL: What did you do with the woman's picture. It was a large, large advertisement-like. It was a large cardboard-like display.

MARTIN: Could you see it from the street?

HALL: Oh yes. It was in the window, right on Pennsylvania Avenue side of the windows there as you pass the front. And there were windows on the side there and the benches that are there to this day came from the National Presbyterian Church when it was torn down. There just off of M Street and was moved way out on, what, Wisconsin Avenue? But they got the benches that were in that old church. To put into Mr. Henry's. So he really did, he really was a character and did an awful lot for -- he was an inspiration for other restaurants to upgrade. Then we got the Hawk and Dove kind of based on that idea. Several others. And then Henry Yaffe expanded. There was a Mr. Henry's at Washington Circle. There was one put at Tenley Circle. The one in Georgetown, the Mr. Henry's in Georgetown was really quite an elegant place, there on Wisconsin Avenue. OK.

MARTIN: And is this the only one that's operating as...

HALL: That's the only one that's left operating as Mr. Henry's, you're absolutely right.

Major scandals on the Hill. Oh my. Well, other than scandals on yours truly, the one...

MARTIN: Start with that!

HALL: [Laughs] No no no no.

MARTIN: Let's not wait for that.

HALL: The one that I recall most vividly was when the fan dancer, strip tease, what do we call her, jumped in the Tidal Pool, Tidal Basin? That actually happened. Wilbur Mills was a sanctimonious old senator in town from somewhere and.

MARTIN: Fanne Fox. Fanne Fox, wasn't it?

HALL: Fanne Fox, right! Right, Fanne Fox. He was a notorious drunk. And he was roaring down the avenue one day, over there in Northwest, coming hard upon the Tidal Basin [doorbell rings]. Smitty'll get it. And the police got after him. For speeding, I guess, I'm not too for sure. But she literally opened the door, she said, "Slow down, slow down." She literally opened the door, in order not to be caught by the police with him, because she had a terrible reputation. I mean, she was known as everything for which a woman should not be known. And she actually jumped in the Tidal Basin and it was a real hoot. It was a real hoot.

Political issues. At that time, when I came here, statehood has always and will always be. I personally am not for statehood, but I am for annexation to another state. I am for giving us -- we're not really big enough to be a state and I don't think of it as a state. But I think we should be given back to Maryland, perhaps, or in some way given status where we would have representation in the Senate and the House. Unlike what we have now. Or else, let us stop paying the federal income tax, such as the case with Puerto Rico. You know, they have territorial status, part of the Commonwealth. But they don't pay federal tax. Oh! Packages. But anyway, statehood was an issue.

Korea was an issue. Going back into the fifties. Sixties, Vietnam, an issue. You name it. There's always been. And of course, it's the seat of federal government so federal issues and international issues will always be paramount here in the city because this is where it all ends up.

Now, you speak here of other major issues, renovation. Yes, big, big issue. Renovation, thank goodness, came big time on the Hill. Crime. During my time, has become a worse problem. When I first came here, I do not recall the degree of concern for, concerning crime. Moving. DC government, we discussed that. Taxes. City tax has always been very high because of this weird, weird arrangement we have with the federal government. We're neither state nor city nor anything else. We are an anomaly all on our own, so therefore has had -- do you know that over fifty percent of the land acreage in this city cannot be taxed by this city? Forty-three percent because of the feds, and...

MARTIN: And the churches.

HALL: And eleven, by universities and churches and other agencies which are not taxed. If the city could tax every acre in this city, we would not have the tax burden which we have now. And the local tax. Department of Motor Vehicles. Very inefficient, back as far as I can remember.

Race relations on the Hill. Until '68, very good. I do not recall any discord. I moved into a house on A Street Northeast, 708, and there were black people living on either side, back to the whole block, other than myself was black. Across the street, some of those were white people. There was no problem whatsoever. Neighbors helped neighbors out. I can recall Mr. Carr, immediately to the west of my house there, became very ill one day, I think it was on a weekend, and Mrs. Carr, the wife, came over and said, "My husband is very very ill. He needs help. Could you help us? Could you help us?" I don't know whether she called, we didn't have a 911 I guess, I don't know what she had done. Anyway, a friend of mine and I went right over, we took him by the arms and we walked him over to Casualty Hospital. We walked the man right over there, they took him in, and I guess it was high blood pressure or something. But I've always remembered that, an act of kindness that I would have done in a flash for anybody, for anybody. And he would have done this for me, I'm sure.

MARTIN: Had you been in their home before that?

HALL: Yes. I had.

MARTIN: So she knew to call upon you?

HALL: Oh yes, yes. We were neighbors. We were old time neighbors like you think of a neighbor as being helpful, you know.

Do you know anything about real estate practices on the Hill? Yes. There was a whole cadre of real estate agents and who were in with the developers. Beau Bogan particularly. Barbara Held, particularly. They would seek out, they would seek out people who would want to buy with the view of renovating, and they made especially, somehow they could find these people. Such as myself. As a matter of fact, Inez Jones was in on that to an extent, and she sold me the 708 A Street house as well as this house. And 1102 East Capitol. And I bought 1367 Mass. Avenue from her. And these people, there was Battle Railey in the early days, Rhea Radin was a big big star in those days. Barbara Held. And who's the little woman still over here at Formant? She is still working.

MARTIN: Chatel?

HALL: No. Millicent Chatel was another leading light of the realtors. I can't think of the woman's name, it'll come to me in a minute. But these people were quick to seize upon the idea of selling properties for renovation and they went big time. And the movement just kept on and on and on. I think I told you before, when I first came here and bought a house in the seven hundred block, people said, "[gasp] Ah, you bought east of Sixth Street?! How dare you?!" And then I bought east of Lincoln Park, and again, they said, "How dare you?" And how glad I am that I dared, you know. OK, I'm coming to the end of your questions.

MARTIN: Do you remember how much you sold the house for, on Mass, thirteen hundred block of Massachusetts Avenue?

HALL: I brought it for thirty-two five. It had had a lot of renovation done. It was a two unit. It's a double house. It's a beautiful house to this day. It's the house sitting out there with those two lions sitting up on.

MARTIN: Oh yeah.

HALL: That was my home for many many years. Where I moved from 708 A. I sold it to the Furnesses, Brian and Charlotte Furness. I bought it for thirty-two five. It had beautiful renovated baths in it, I remember. And I sold it for two twenty.

MARTIN: In what year?

HALL: I sold that house.

MARTIN: Must be in the early seventies.

HALL: I bought it in 1969. And I sold it, let me think, about the time. I didn't sell it right away after I moved out of it to this house. I moved from there to here. But I kept it as a rental. I had two tenants in there. At one time, I had a press secretary of, to Senator Muskee, living in that building. And this chap was from Maine. A guy by the name of Bob Rose. I sold that in the [clicking noise] eighties? Mid-eighties, I think it was, would have been. OK.

MARTIN: And now it would be eight or nine hundred thousand.

HALL: You could get more for that house now because it's a beautiful. It has the biggest living room I have ever seen on Capitol Hill.

Changes that you approve of on Capitol Hill. The stores, the restaurants, all the renovation that's going on.

Who else should be interviewed? You should try to get Henry Yaffe, while he's still living. And has anyone interviewed Tom Kelly?

MARTIN: Tom Kelly is...uh, yes.

HALL: Because you know, he's native. He was born here, unlike a lot of us. Now, when you were here before, Nancy, I had made some notes, not realizing you were going to bring your good list of questions. I got through the first page. Now let me go to the second page and I'll try to be really brief. I spoke of the Washington Coliseum over here, off of Florida Avenue, Third and M?

MARTIN: Yes, yes.

HALL: I spoke of that. And I was there the first time the Beatles ever appeared in the United States. 1963? The first concert, and I remember paying four dollars.

MARTIN: [Laughs] This is great!

HALL: It was the first concert they ever had. That was our MCI Center at that time. I mean that was, you know, the Uline Arena. That was the Washington arena. We mentioned the Florida Avenue marketplace. We mentioned H Street and McCrory's. Over in that area of the Washington Coliseum was one of the Marriott root beer stands. I can't tell you the exact address, but it was on Third Street, close to the Uline Arena. The Marriotts opened a root beet stand in several spots in the city. And of course, that later became the big Hot Shoppes operation and the Marriott hotels and that. But the Marriott started over there with just this little storefront root beer soda jerk place. You'd go in and get a soda in a cup. And you could get a glass and stay there and give them back the glass, or you could get a paper cup. And as I remember, the paper cup in those days was cone shape. Unlike the paper cups we have now. Eastern Market we've spoken considerably about that. The theatres we've talked about.

I wish he was still living. One of the characters -- we mentioned the characters -- Jim Locke.

MARTIN: Oh yes!

HALL: Jim and Alice Locke were characters.

MARTIN: On Seventh Street, right?

HALL: Seventh Street. The Mayor of Seventh Street. As I am the mayor of Massachusetts Avenue...

MARTIN: Yes, you are.

HALL: And do you know, to this day, there is a little stone out in the tree box commemorating the residency of Jim Locke in that block.

We spoke of the Chalk buses here in town. See, I had written a lot of things down that you had anticipated with your questions. The Washington Star, Providence Hospital. I don't think I mentioned that when you were here before. Was down there on Third Street, where there's now a park? And it was a lovely, big, Romanesque, stone building, fortress-like, Richardsonian kind of a big, big, foreboding looking stone building that was later torn down and for many many years the wall around that whole block, do you remember? A granite wall. You had to go up a number of steps to get into the ground level of that hospital. It was set up on a hill, in other words. They eventually leveled that hill to put in the park that's there now. And then the wall and everything disappeared. And Providence was moved over into, way over in Northeast. Casualty we talked about.

Another interesting character, You'd say, well really not a character but a resident of the Hill. When I lived at 1367 on Mass. Avenue. The house is still a lovely yellow brick house down there was bought and renovated by Jim Vance, the anchorman? He and his wife at that time, they're no longer married, but they bought a house, and one of the most innovative things that anyone had done on the Hill. Several others of us have done it. Instead of going up five or six steps to get into the main level of the house, they took you straight into a foyer and then immediately you walked down to what was the English basement, or you walked up to what was the main floor. But the walking up or down, instead of being outside, was put on the inside. And you can see that house on, in the thirteen hundred block. Go by there and see it sometime. A yellow house, I think it's still yellow. But Vance did that, had that work done.

Oh, the Senators baseball. Griffith Stadium. Wow. That goes back a long time. The parks have come a long way, we mentioned that. We're lucky to have Stanton Park and Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park was real scruffy when I came here, really scruffy. And I think I mentioned the moving of the original statue and the placing of the Bethune statue in the early seventies. That would have been the early seventies. OK. Churches, we've talked about that to some extent.

MARTIN: Particularly, have you watched the history of the Seventh Day Adventist Church here?

HALL: That's on your prior tape. When I came here, on Eighth Street over here, that was a going white church. A lot of the neighborhood people would go to that church. It was called Ingram Memorial. It was a Congregational church. The denomination was Congregational. A denomination like Methodist, Baptist, what have you. They abandoned it in the white flight, and it went down, down. It was unoccupied for many many many many years. They let the roof go to pot. I told this story before, I'm repeating myself.

MARTIN: Yes. Yeah.

HALL: Anyway, it's wonderful to see that building come back because it is a lovely looking building. I regret the fact that they bring so many cars in here on the weekend but that's another issue. Carbery School, did I mention that to you before, Nancy?

MARTIN: No, tell me. Tell me about Carbery.

HALL: Well, Carbery School, like so many of the city schools, particularly the elementary and junior high schools, were quite good buildings when they were built. Some of them were quite elegant buildings, as Eastern is to this day. Wilson is to this day. Looked like college campuses really when you go down here and see Eastern. Carbery is in the four hundred block of Fifth Street, on the west side. It was abandoned as the city grew smaller and smaller. They had less need for schools because there were not students to fill them. It was closed up and finally somebody bought it from the city, as so many of the schools have been. And made condominiums out of, loft apartments, and that, it made a beautiful, if you've never been in there. It even looks grand from the outside. The four hundred block of Fifth Street, Northeast. Carbery School is quite an asset to the Hill and a good example of what can be done in the creative reuse of buildings. And I'm very much for that. Creative use of this old building over here, across from me. I would love to see something really done, creatively out of that. Other than just apartments. Another example is this church down on Ninth. Ninth and North Carolina, where they put in beautiful, beautiful condominiums in the church there, in that triangle.

We've spoken about Mass. Avenue and... Through the years, I met a family by the name of Kahlid. They were near Eastern, the Kahlid family. I think it was Jordanian. They, at one time, had a small shop, sandwich shop, that became Steak in a Sack. That was the name of their shop. They had a Steak in a Sack. The sack was the pita bread as we think of it now. And they did this great steak, very thin, with onions, and they'd stuff it in there. And you'd go in and get it. It was very very good. They had a shop, interestingly enough, here in town. The dad had it downtown. And they lived in the store that is now The Brasserie. They lived in the apartment that is above that restaurant now. And they recalled, the older members of that family recalled when they knew that I lived here on the Hill, and I met them in later years through another connection. They told me a lot about that area of the city.

MARTIN: Would they be available for an interview, do you know where they are?

HALL: No, they would not be, because they are all gone. And the one that's left refuses to come into the city. "Oh, I would never never never come in." She's one of these -- deliver me.

OK. Old Naval Hospital, I think we spoke of that. There's another sad sad situation that's sitting there going to pot and being neglected and something should certainly be done. Now, my dear, I have talked your ear off, but if you have questions.

MARTIN: I think this is absolutely fabulous

HALL: [Laughs]

MARTIN: And I want to hear more about yourself, and your own scandal. Here's your chance!

HALL: [Laughs] There are no scandals in my life.

MARTIN: Yes there are.

HALL: My life has been a good good one. I'm North Carolinian, I was born in Asheville. My father was British, was born in Wakefield in Yorkshire. My mother was a North Carolinian. They met in school, as a matter of fact, and married. I was very very lucky in getting good schooling. I was very fortunate. They saw to it that I got a fairly good education, and I'm pleased about that, and I was lucky enough to get fellowships here and there. I had a fellowship at the University of Tennessee where I studied and got a masters degree. And then I got a further fellowship serving, interestingly enough, on the staff of the Dean of Students at the University of Maryland, and finished up there. And taught there, as well as working in public schools for many many many years. And I have really had a very very good life and a very good career. Part of it is an interesting story, in that when I was a young teacher, I started as a junior high school teacher. And in those days, I taught real math to junior high school students.



HALL: Well, I was just saying to Nancy that you're self-conscious when you're speaking about yourself. But I do think one interesting phase of my life, at least which I found fascinating. When I was a young teacher, and I mentioned that I started out in junior high school, I was chosen in the early fifties, to be an exchange teacher. Now in those days, that was a prize plum, let me tell you. They had exchange teacher programs between here and Great Britain. Between here and Australia. There was a small exchange program between here and Canada, where a teacher in that country who had your similar credentials would come and teach at your school, and you would go teach at that school. Fortunately, I was chosen and I went in 1951. It was audacity if you ever heard of it. I was just one year of teaching under my belt. But I applied like I was king of the hill, and got it.

And I was chosen to go to a school in the west of England, close to the Welsh border, in their county called Herefordshire. The county seat is a country town called Hereford. Now they have Hertfordshire. And then they have Herefordshire. And these are two different counties, like Texas is not the state of Maine. You know, they're far apart. But Herefordshire, and Hertfordshire, two different places. And I was at a place called Leominster [spells it] -- Leominster, in Herefordshire at a small small private school called Lucton [spells it]. And I taught, it was a boy's school at that time, it's now co-ed fortunately. I taught students who would be what we think of about ninth grade up to about eleventh or twelfth grade. They call them forms. Third form, forth form, and so on. And I taught real geography and they were fascinated to know about North American geography, particularly United States geography, because you see, we had just helped them win the Second World War. And they were ever so grateful.

And I was the Yank master, the American master, who came to our school, you know and is going to teach about school. Oh my! I had to learn to understand them because accents vary all over England, as they do here. But it was wonderful, wonderful, enlightening, enriching experience for which I would not take anything.

They have a school calendar quite unlike ours. We hit it in September and go like mad for nine months with just a little bit of break at Christmas and what have you. They are sensible in that they go to school for three months and they're out for about six weeks. One of those breaks being at Christmas, one being at Easter time and one being in the summer. Then they have another session of three months, and then six weeks and so on. That makes the school year. Well, during those breaks, I was able to go spend five or six weeks in London and close around, Brighton, Oxford, just everywhere that I could go. Then at the spring break, I spent Easter of that year, that would have been '52, in Rome. And toured the whole of Italy which was a wonderful, wonderful experience. You may have France, you may have Germany, you may have Austria, you may even have Britain, and I am a real Anglophile. But give me [raps table] Italy and die. I mean, that is the place. Have you been to Italy? You know what I'm speaking about. A beautiful country, molta bella, Senora. Molta, molta, bella! Anyway, the summer months, I had ended up my teaching stint there and getting ready to come home. And so I chose then to do some more touring there in the British Isles, and I did go to Scotland. I went to the summer games in Aberdeen. Fascinating situation that they have there, all kinds of games that they have with their kilts and all. Did some other touring. Took the Grand Flyer back from Scotland. The Scottish Flyer to London, just in time to catch my ship to come back to this country. I had gone over to England, get this, on the QE I. The "Q-E-I." The QE II is now about to be retired.

MARTIN: How many days did it take?

HALL: How many days did it take? Five or six days. I think, six days, five nights, maybe. But the QE I was a marvelous, marvelous big ship. It's the one that was finally sold for scrap and they hauled it over to Hong Kong and it sank through an unfortunate fire there in Hong Kong Harbor. Now the Queen Mary, which was its sister ship. They were on the Atlantic for many, many, many years. QE I, was just called the Queen Elizabeth at that time, because there was no QE II. But the Mary is still going, it's out in Long Beach, California as a tourist attraction and hotel. When I went to England, George VI and Queen Elizabeth were on the throne. The year that I was there, George died. Elizabeth became the Queen Mother and the present queen became the queen. That was the year that I was there. She ascended to the throne.

MARTIN: In '51?

HALL: Mm-hmm. That was '52. I went in '51, came back in '52. Now, I went over on the QE I, as it later became known, and I came back on the ship that is such a sad, sad story for the United States. The biggest ship that this country ever built as a passenger ship was called the S.S. United States. It is rotting away in Norfolk, just rotting away. It was a beautiful ship, an absolutely. And it, to this day, holds the Atlantic "Blue Ribbon." The prize for the speed of making an Atlantic crossing. It, to this day, holds that because, following that, airplanes took over and they did not see the need of speed. Liners became vacation things, if you've ever been cruising. And I since then have been on the Norway, the cruise ship Norway, that was at one time the France from the World War II era. It was converted into what is now the flagship of the Norwegian line. Had earlier been a French liner that went out of service because it wasn't needed. They didn't need it. They put the Mary up on dry dock. They put the Elizabeth up on dry dock. Planes took over and these ships just sat around in all their glory and these were gorgeous big ships. I mean you can't believe how big they were. What ships have you been on?

MARTIN: I have not.

HALL: You have not cruised anywhere in the Caribbean? Oh honey, you can't believe the floating city, a floating city. Elegant, elegant, elegant. But anyway, that was a highlight of my little life. No scandals, my dear. I was not scandalous.

MARTIN: I know, you got excited when I mentioned scandals and you have one, I know you did but you don't want to put it on tape!

HALL: [Laughs} No no no.

MARTIN: Are you about to tell us a scandal?

SMITTY: Did you tell about your mother flying into Biltmore with Cornelia, and did you tell about your relatives, Ringo Starr, who is actually Starsky?

HALL: Oh no, no. That's way...

MARTIN: Go ahead.

HALL: That's way back in the history. Now you mentioned that you wanted.

MARTIN: We'd love to have photos. I want to take a photo of you.

HALL: Oh me with my black eye whenever I fell down. OK.

MARTIN: That's because your glasses hit, is that right?

HALL: Yes. I hit with my glasses. A matter of fact, I fell on this side. I have, and I did not show you when you were here before, but I will do quickly. Other photographs, in addition to these that I showed you. Now these are actual photographs. These, another descendant of the original builder of this house, made copies. And Nancy, just slip over here. You're welcome to take any of these.

MARTIN: We'll copy them and bring them back. Of course. This is right here!

[Remaining discussion is about photographs being viewed; some are reproduced here.]

HALL: In front of my house, right. You see, that's the railing that's there. This has been bricked, this was concrete. You see, the horse and buggy back there? There was a little chain link fence, this lovely wrought iron posts were there. And this tells who all this was. The family of. This is the man who had the house built, his wife and their four children had this house built for this family. It was one big house at that time.

MARTIN: Can you judge the year?

HALL: We know the year. 1914.

Tucker family, outside 802 Massachusetts Avenue NE, 1914. Front row, from left: father George Prescott Tucker (b. 1864), mother Elizabeth Ellen Stearns (b. 1860), Max Winfield (b. 1893). Top row, from left: Marian (age 17), Prescott (b. 1890, age 24), Edna (b. 1899, age 15).

MARTIN: Good. All right.

HALL: Any of the rest of these that you feel would be helpful.

MARTIN: This is the family? That would be excellent.

HALL: That's part of the family.

MARTIN: That's your front room.

HALL: Let me see. No, this would be -- they called it the library. This would be the den. This shows you a street scene of Mass. Avenue.

MARTIN: Oh yeah.

HALL: There's one of the boys. He served in the First World War.

MARTIN: This, I believe...

HALL: …is across the street.

MARTIN: the hospital here, and that is the building that's at Seventh. Isn't it, Seventh and Massachusetts? Which had been a...

HALL: No, this is across the street. It's the south side of Mass. Avenue. Mass. Avenue, 1920.

MARTIN: OK. Yeah, that's good.

HALL: Now this, is this corner right here where my TV is. In that room. They called it the library. Look at the kind of lamps they had at that time. And this would be the living room. And you see the curtains that they pulled between the rooms?

MARTIN: For heat, probably.

HALL: Christmas, 1920. This is interesting. This is my den, looking into what is now my bedroom, which then was a dining room. The fixture in the dining room. This is this fireplace, in the den there. One of the girls standing there. Well, you may copy...

Edna Tucker, in front of library fireplace, Christmas, 1920.

MARTIN: Right. Yes, let me take these...

HALL: I'd take the street scene, and the one with the horse and buggy.

MARTIN: Right. And this, this is the side of your house, with the awnings. 1918.

HALL: That's from out in this little park.

MARTIN: And the canna lilies. Mr. Tucker was a major. Look at this. Let me show these to Bernadette and she will make copies and we will bring them back to you.

HALL: All right.

Edna Tucker, with her fiancé Jim Homaday, in 1920 , inside 802 Massachusetts Avenue NE. They were married on Sept. 11, 1923.

MARTIN: We'll bring back the originals. But all of these relate specifically to this house which is pretty important.

HALL: Well, this is now one of the grand old dames of the Hill. This house has been on the tour. Now this gets rid of some. Now these are pictures of a cousin. Those were given me by one of the cousin's granddaughters. These two women are granddaughters of this man. The one granddaughter gave me those, the other granddaughter copied from her collection and kept her pictures. Here's the same picture that this granddaughter had. Here is this house before it was ever painted in 1922. Same picture. Same '22, and there's nice snow on the ground too. Family portraits. This is the side of my house from Eighth Street. Here is the living room. Here are the three windows right behind you. In there. Here, here's my back porch. And the balcony up there. Here's the fencing that was around the houses at that time. How they ever tore all that stuff out and put in chain link I will never never know. So many, many places on the Hill that happened to.

Just sing out any time you want to take some of these. They took a lot of family pictures. Now this is at the corner of my house. There's my little front porch, where you came in the door. This is the front corner of that living room. Now this is interesting, in that that's the staircase that goes up here. This wall, John Jones and I put in here. At one time, this was the reception hall. You came right in the reception hall. This evidently was Christmas. And they gathered on the steps out there in the hallway. It's marked Christmas. Now that's this park, next door. That's the street scene looking toward the seven hundred block of Mass. Avenue. This is Mass. Avenue, here little kiddies out in the snow.

MARTIN: Right. You can see how big it is by the size of the kids. That's before the pond, of course, was put in.

HALL: Right, right. I was here when that was done. And the clothing will give you a good example. So any of these that you want.

MARTIN: Right, let me take that with, and I will bring it over to Mrs. McMahon today and ask her to choose, make copies, and I'll bring them back.

HALL: Now, this is pretty interesting. That's the corner, that's one of the sons, of my living room, right in there. You can see the bay window. You can see my radiator is still there. And that's marked "parlor" and that's Max, one of the boys. There was Prescott and Max. And the daughters were Janet and, what was the other one? Now here's, it wouldn't mean that much to you but, this is what is now my bedroom. These sidelights are still there. I took out the French doors. These were French doors in the middle and I took them out but this is looking toward Eighth.

MARTIN: Is this on the main floor?

HALL: Yes. That's this back room. I'll show it to you before you go. And this is the family. George P. Tucker was a very distinguished man. He was the head legal counsel at the Patent Office. He was the M.I.T. graduate who later became a lawyer and he was the father of this clan. And, I think that must be Mrs. Tucker. But anyway, that's the paneling in this back room and I'll show you that room. Another picture in the front of the house. That's the side yard. The three windows are right back of you there. Those three windows, before the house was painted.

MARTIN: Do you know when the house was painted?

HALL: Oh dear, Inez did that. She said, "Joseph, I can't stand the look of this house. It's just too dark and gloomy. I can't stand it, I've got to paint this house." I could shoot her. I could shoot her.

MARTIN: Yeah, now it's got to be painted.

HALL: This is interesting because here again, this is what is now my bedroom, what was then the dining room.

MARTIN: These are the leaded glass?

HALL: Right. They had a china cabinet or something there on that one wall and they were gathered around the table. And the granddaughters say that Mrs. Tucker ruled the roost. You can look at her and tell she's a very stalwart, forceful woman, I gather. Well, we're about to the end. This is one of the daughters and, well they're all family portraits but they show somewhat of the house. This shows a good deal of the front. This is exactly as the front looks now, except it's been painted. This is where you came in the front door. That's the front door you came in. I have no idea who these birds are. I don't think that's George P. Tucker. That might be the two sons. And this, Lillian Tucker, this granddaughter, did not label things as well as the other one did for me. But.

MARTIN: I will take good care of it.

HALL: Well, please do because this all means a great deal to me as you know.

MARTIN: Absolutely. Where, what part of the house would you like to have yourself memorialized in, with my little photograph?

HALL: Do I have to?

MARTIN: Yes, it's required. [Laughs]

HALL: Well, let's, I guess that fireplace in the den. Then I'll show you that bedroom.

MARTIN: We're about to take a picture of Dr. Hall and I just want to say how much I enjoyed this interview and we will, of course, give you a copy of the transcript.

HALL: Do you have to? [Laughs] Yes, thank you, I would appreciate it.

MARTIN: And you can even listen to the tapes, certainly. But many people will thank you. This is recorded forever.

HALL: I pity the poor person that has to transcribe it.

MARTIN: They love it. They absolutely love it. Otherwise they won't do it. This will be one of their favorites. And thank you very much, Dr. Hall.

HALL: Well, thank you for coming, Nancy. I appreciate what you're doing. You're doing a real good job on this interview.

MARTIN: It is a wonderful project, right.

HALL: Yes.

MARTIN: All right. Thank you.

HALL: Thank you.


    [ Part 1 ]   [ Part 2 ]  
      End of Interview  
This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck
Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.