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Wakefield Hall: 1926

Wakefield Hall: 1926

1926. "W.H. West Co., Wakefield." Wakefield Hall was "an imposing new apartment edifice" put up by W.H. West Co. at 15th and V streets N.W. in Washington. Rents: $60 to $160 a month. National Photo Co. View full size.


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We regularly see ghost people, but I think that this is the first time I recall seeing a ghost truck in a Shorpy photo.

[That's a person crossing the street from the corner on the right. His hat is in front of the delivery van. - Dave]

Still there and still a rental

Though now, instead of sky-high rents, it's a rent controlled building. The church in the background is still there, too, but the steeples are gone.

Not So Sky-High Actually

Rent at $60 would just top a bit over $700 today, which for an urban location, no matter what city, is actually a bargain. There may have been a number of choices in the gap to $160 also, and many people today would jump at the chance to have that low a rent! Murphy beds and fold-in ironing board as well as dumbwaiter garbage collection and a doorman were in fashion & high regard and the smart set would be flabbergasted with these digs.

It rains only on one block of the street?

Why is only part of the street wet, and none of the sidewalk? Clearly it isn't from rain, but what would it be from?

[Street cleaning. - Dave]

Sky-high Rents

$60 to $160 a month was hugely expensive in 1926. The tenants must have been very well off to afford it. In most cities and towns in the 1920s and 30s one could rent a nice two-bedroom house with a yard and a garage for $20 to $30 a month, and frequently less. In the mid-1930s, my dad paid $15 a month for a comfortable house in Casper, Wyoming (not Washington, for sure, but fairly crowded with oilfield crews and railroad workers). He could easily afford it because he was making $75 a month as a telephone lineman.

Still there...

...and looking much the same, although the street scene has changed a lot over the past 83 years.

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