L’Enfant Trust completes first restoration project; former drug house ready for residents

It's a tale of second chances. Once home to drug users and vagrants, an abandoned home in Anacostia has been renovated and is ready to welcome new, full-time residents.

WASHINGTON — A historic Anacostia home, which eventually deteriorated into a run-down crack house, has been restored to its original grandeur.

The century-old home returns to the market after years as an eyesore and a source of trouble in the community.

The dramatic turnaround began about more than a year ago when the L’Enfant Trust purchased the property in Old Market House Square.

On Tuesday, the trust cut the ribbon at 2010 14th Street SE – its first Historic Preservation Revolving Fund project.

“Our job is to find historic buildings like this that the government and owners and for-profit developers can’t afford to develop,” says Carol Goldman, the trust’s president.

The Revolving Fund program has a second home in the works at 1347 Maple View Place SE. That home is scheduled to be finished in October.

Dewey Sampson and his wife have watched the rehabilitation up close.

The couple moved to the Anacostia neighborhood in late 2010. At the time, he thought a family lived in the house next door on 14th Street.

It did not. Far from it, actually.

“It’s been a source of trouble,” Sampson says. “It was prostitution, drugs — a lot of stuff I didn’t feel comfortable about with my wife around.”

He did everything he could with the city to get it boarded up. Eventually, the trust bought it.

“With my wife being pregnant, this was the most important thing to me was to make this house something we could live next to,” he says.

The three-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom Victorian home was built in 1912.

Over the decades, the owners left. The home’s appearance changed as different siding was layered on. Eventually, it was abandoned.

“Bad things happen in abandoned buildings,” Goldman says. “Squatters moved in. There were needles and bullets.”

The restored home will go on the market for about $300,000, significantly less than the cost of the purchase and rehabilitation.

The trust uses charitable dollars and funding only available to nonprofits to fill the funding gap.

The home is set to go on the market this summer and is ready for a new family to move in.

See more before and after photos and learn more about the revolving fund at lenfant.org.

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