Thursday, March 18, 2010

Stories from 1960s Columbia Heights

When I was on the Kojo Nnamdi show a few weeks back, an older man named Larry Rosen called in. Rosen used to run a drug store at 14th and Clifton in Columbia Heights in the 50s and 60s, and was talking about how he started a blog with his memories. There's a lot of interesting stories, the most recent of which are the 1968 riots after Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, when his pharmacy was burned down. He talks about a lot of other things too: life in the area, his store, when boxer Joe Louis came to his brother's liquor store, World War II experiences, and a funny story about buying and selling a monkey.

It's a pretty interesting read, with some pictures as well. Pretty cool to hear about the history of the neighborhood first hand.

5 comments:

saf said...

Sign 12 on the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail has Larry's pictures and story. It's at 14th and Clifton, across from where his store was.

Susan Berger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan Berger said...

The History
of our parent's
and their parent's
blood stained banner
& hologram memories
that pace with us
to the giant
or speech
us with dialect
from ancient
love tones diverse
yet humbly
endowing
us to take
care of one another
strengthen keep
and build upon
strong blood lined
"co-mune it T"
Today's (new)
community speaks
loud to itself
and long enough
to bellow a
quick hello
from newly coordinated
and freshly installed
dry wall gates and additions
of surreptitiously perspectives. .
Mid-Town (Columbia Heights)
of old, very much
dance to the rhythm
melodiously choc-city
poets and artsy arts
on the stoops
of each others porch
music blaring chess playing
card shuffling
church going
living good
loving long
waiting for our fathers
forefathers and ancient man
to return from long hour angling
with tons of pure water fish
in giant water coolers
at the top of the alley
and watermelon man yelling
"fresh cold water MELON, fresh cold... “
how sweet it is 2b loved by you
ah baby, four corners, dodge ball
and deep throat tongue kisses
spinning
my head with the stealth of deep
inhales of the 70’s red and gold
it has all gone up in smoke
we grow old, but look we fade
not away and new
will never cut it because
old stained it. . size
"aint nothin new under the sun
different for mayBE. . . but not new

S Berger

Susan Berger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Weinstein said...

Mr. Rosen's blog is a valuable contribution to the written history of the District. Obviously, it is not the full history, or the only perspective on the events and people discussed, but this first-hand account is an important part of the picture and a very enjoyable read. Thank you Mr. Rosen for the history lesson and the context.