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For the last two days, I’ve had the pleasure of driving around Ward 7—-specifically in and out of the Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE corridor.

I had spent a ton of time there four years ago for a story about a father who got burned out of his house after he started fighting the local hoodlums. The hoodlums had great nicknames and a terrible alibi. The father had amazing kids, an antique shop on 14th Street NW (that’s no more), and a failed dream to turn that home into a real home (it had a pool in the backyard).

Without a huge investment in development, it was interesting to see what has survived, what is boarded up, and what has overcome serious obstacles.

That particular pocket has a lot going for it—great access to transportation with a Metro stop nearby and of course, 295. It also has good green space including one well-kept park and a creek that runs behind Gault Place NE.

The Wendy’s is gone. The liquor store just off Hayes is gone. The key shop appears dead. The Dean Ave Cleaners is still around. I didn’t see Wiggles or Baldy or Beaver.

Their perch has grown boards like so many other properties.

My story took place along the 4400 block of Gault. The apartment building that was boarded up four years ago is still a shell. In fact, most if not all the boarded up places I saw then are still vacant.

The only change: the burned-out house is now occupied. There’s a vintage Volvo in the driveway.