Revisiting 1955

While some of you may be feeling like you are suffering from jet lag over the loss of an hour’s sleep – thanks to Daylight Savings Time – I’ve been scrambling to dig up something significant to write about FGC. That’s a difficult feat when there is nothing happening; nothing that I would write here anyway. So, to avoid having a page that looks like this

question mark

I will be filling the space with trivia. That’s better than a blank page. Would you agree? No? Well, you drew the short straw.

Step back in time for a few minutes. Imagine that the year is 1955. Dwight D. Eisenhower is President of the United States. Marian Anderson is the first Black singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Hurricane Diane hits the northeastern United States, killing over 200 people, and causing over a billion dollars in damage. Twenty-four year old heart throb actor, James Dean, is killed in an auto accident. And here is a little known history fact — Fifteen year old Claudette Colvin refuses to give up her seat to a white woman on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, and the teen is arrested. Few people outside of Alabama are aware that Colvin’s act of defiance precedes Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat. Thus, it is Park’s protest that ultimately leads to the 381 day Black boycott of the Montgomery bus system.

Did you know that in 1955 streetcars, not buses, transported people across the Nation’s Capital? As automobiles began to populate the city, Capital Transit, started scaling back street cars. After a strike that same year, the company ownership changed to DC Transit and began the switch exclusively to buses. The last streetcar ran on January 28, 1962.  WMATA — a new regional system, commonly referred to as METRO — was founded on February 20, 1967.

There is an old saying that “what goes around comes around.” In 2002, the D.C. City Council approved an expenditure of $310 million for a new streetcar project that will have lines at various places in the District including Georgia Avenue. The first street car was installed on H Street in December 2013.

Now you are probably asking yourself what does any of this stuff have to do with FGC. Absolutely nothing. The only thing relative is the year. The Florian Gardens Apartments were built in 1955 and converted to a cooperative in 1989.  For you members who did not know — that’s your FGC history note.  Maybe the news feed will be off the respirator next week, check back soon ya’ hear.

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