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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Carbery Mansion: 1901

Carbery Mansion: 1901

Washington, D.C., circa 1901. "Carberry [Carbery] Mansion." Built for Thomas Carbery in 1818 at 17th and C Streets N.W. National Photo Co. View full size.

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LOTS of wires on that pole...

So.. are the wires telephone/telegraph wires or "newfangled" electric wires? In 1901 electricity was relatively new, while telephone/telegraph had been around for 25+ years by that time.

What is interesting is that there was no such thing as a big trunk cable. Looks like everything was run individually. I can remember seeing other old photos here on Shorpy of city scenes that showed poles literally ready to fall over with the weight of so many wires on them.

Imagine what our cities, and towns for that matter, would look like today if poles were huge with tons of individual wires running on them!

"Miracle House"

I suppose I don't have the eye for spookiness which other commenters readily pick up on: before finding the following article I viewed this house as a typical run-down dwelling. Also, it seems to me (a non-Catholic) that Prince Hohenlohe received an inordinate degree of credit for Ms. Mattingly's "cure."

Miracle House

by Marie Lomas

Washington's Miracle House has again come to light. A water color painting discovered a few days ago by the curator at a local museum brings up a story stranger by far than many of the bizarre tales of fiction. Although separated from its identification marks, the picture has been established as a rear view of the Miracle House, or Ghost House, as it was sometimes called, down in the neighborhood of "Foggy Bottom."
Even as the residence of Capt. Thomas Carbery in 1824, it was familiarly known as the the Miracle House, for it was here that the famous Mattingly miracle occurred.

The legend, which will accompany the picture now carefully guarded behind locked doors of a display case in the D.A.R. museum, states: "This house, in 1824, was the residence of the Mayor, Capt. Thomas Carbery, and living with him was his widowed sister, Mrs. Ann Mattingly, a great sufferer and confirmed invalid. Marvelous cures were being made by Prince Alexander Hohenlohe, a Catholic Priest of Bomberg, Germany, throughout Europe. His Highness stated to the Diocese of Baltimore that he would offer up a prayer the tenth of every month at 9 a.m. for those living out of Europe.

"Mrs. Mattingly performed a novena, or nine days' devotion, commencing March 1, 1824, assisted by the pastor of St. Patrick's Church, and on March 10 she was relieved of all pain and, although bedridden, rose from her bed and opened the door to callers."

This miracle was sworn to before John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States, and immediately aroused great excitement throughout Washington.

No doubt the setting was partially responsible for many of the later stories in connection with Miracle House, which soon became and enigma to the residents of lower Washington. Situated near the canal and lock houses, which still stand on Constitution avenue and Seventeenth street, it was at the edge of what was considered a dense and dangerous jungle. The nearby shores were covered with an almost impenetrable growth of somber trees shrouded in tangled vines. Hoarse croaking of frogs and the screams of swamp fowl pierced the abysmal darkness of the nights.

Even Scott, the major-domo of the great marble edifice built by the D.A.R. on the site of the "Ghost House," vouches for the mystery of its unknown inhabitants. He recalls today his frog-catching expeditions into the swamps near the house, "We could see people in there and sometimes a light," he said, "but nobody ever came out."

In its later days it was deserted, but the latest happenings at the "haunted house," as it was called by the little Negro boys of Foggy Bottom, continued to be the news of the day.

The house was demolished in 1903 to make way for Memorial Continental Hall. Perhaps when shadows lengthen and the massive doors are locked for the night the spirit of the haunted house still lingers in the familiar surroundings of aristocratic Hepplewhites, Chippendales, Duncan Phyfes and shining Steigle glass. After all, it was in the basement of this museum, on the site of the Miracle House that the picture came to light.

Washington Post, Nov 3, 1937

On the Edge

The mansion was razed in 1903; Carbery was Mayor of Washington from 1822 to 1824 and I'm sure the mansion was in better shape back then!

Double-dare Spooky

Nothing in a neighborhood could fire a young boy's imagination quite like a huge run down and empty old house. I wish that I, along with my boyhood friends, could jump into this picture today.


This is what used to be called a handyman's special, needs a little work. I'm not a snob, but calling this a mansion is a bit of a stretch.

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