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Thanks to a tip from a smart reader, we checked into the Bo Diddley-lived-here thesis. It’s true. Diddley lived at 2614 Rhode Island Avenue NE in the ’60s. [OK—the reader had all the facts completely correct]. He talks about living here in a Washington Post feature published in 2006:
Diddley lived here from 1959 to 1966, building a studio in the basement of his house at 2614 Rhode Island Ave. NE, where he recorded 1960’s classic Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger album.
“I just wanted to be in Washington, D.C., around the Howard Theater,” Diddley explains. “I did everything from D.C. At that time, I was driving all the time — I didn’t start flying until 1968 — and it was close to New York and the South.”
I checked with The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The address has not been registered as a historic landmark. I will have more in a bit.
Update 10 a.m. June 4: The 2614 Rhode Island Avenue NE property is not listed as a landmark or part of a historic district, according to Kim Williams, the national register coordinator with the D.C. Historic Preservation Office. She goes on to say no application has been filed on behalf of that property in the last seven years. She’s “almost 100 percent sure” there has never been a landmark application submitted.
“If there are preservation organizations or neighborhood groups that are interested in having it designated, we will consider it,” Williams says.