On the morning after Thanksgiving, 2007 it took a small yellow machine with a claw-like scoop less than 40 minutes to reduce the Jesse Baltimore House to a block foundation more than brimful of splintered wood. The loss of the house was a shock but not a surprise. In August, an agency of the DC Government had circulated a draft Memorandum of Understanding that proposed mitigation measures for the house's destruction. In October, the Historic Preservation Review Board had turned down the house's nomination to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites by a 6-3 vote.
The four year struggle to save the house involved less actual fighting than lengthy periods of bureaucratic stalemate. A skirmish-by-skirmish diary of those years would contain little high drama and be wearisome to the any reader. The Jesse Baltimore House's simple epitaph is that the historical significance of this highly-intact, owner-constructed Sears Fullerton was not appreciated by those with the power to save it, part of the general bias for upper class architectural artifacts than vernacular ones.
For our Jesse Baltimore House Memorial, click here.