[authored by Chase Taylor]
The more we learn about 219 E. 3rd, our future reintegration home for female Vets, the more I begin to feel like a part of its history. We know of at least four generations that have lived in that house and the Pamlico Rose Institute for Sustainable Communities (PRISC) is the next new generation and beginning for this house. It has been a great experience to help understand what this house represents to the neighborhood. We have learned a bit about some of the businesses that ran out of the house and how they really represent the industry in the local area. One of our goals is community sustainability, which is what this house was all about.
Recently we met with three generations that lived in the house. We visited the family just a few blocks from the home’s location. Excited, Dr. Robert Greene Sands and I sat down ready to learn what this house had been through. We met with three of the grandchildren of JW Duke, who owned the house in the 1920s through the 1970s. Alan Duke Greene, Patsy Virginia Duke Woolard, and Barbara Glenn Duke Jones began to tell us all about JW Duke and his blacksmith shop. Our visit was set up by Carla Mills, who was JW Duke’s great-granddaughter. JW Duke was a man that cared about his community. He worked with his children in the blacksmith shop behind the house, and eventually, they all became “JW Duke’s & Sons”. We also heard stories of how he would never let someone go hungry, even in the heart of the depression. After listening to the family of JW Duke, I realized that we need to carry on the giving and charitable nature of the Duke family. He was an embodiment of what community sustainability means, helping others to help ourselves. The community is as strong as the members of that community.
One story that stood out in particular was what happened when JW Duke’s barn burned down in the early sixties. Many members in the community joined the priest of JW Duke’s church and rebuilt the barn after the fire. The community really showed resiliency as they rallied to help a member of the community. This is what makes communities durable and lasting. One another helping each other to accomplish something great.
The work we are doing to our soon to be Rose Haven represents a new era for 219. It is also a new era of my life complete with the new experiences that I have had with my time with PRISC so far. But it also one example of several new businesses in Washington that are starting in historic buildings. The house is a symbol of the neighborhood and city becoming stronger.