Answer Man reveals location of Tally’s Corner – 11th & M NW
A couple of years ago while working the front desk of the Historical Society of Washington I came upon Tally’s Corner. Having previously read Hard Living on Clay Street , an ethnographic field study of white working class families in far NE (East Washington, although nearly monolithic in 2011, was ethnically diverse with large concentrations of whites up until the late 1960’s.), I picked up Tally’s Corner.
(The book was in HSW’s collection but I was lucky enough just a couple of weeks ago to find my own copy for $1 at the SE Library used book sale.)
The book focuses on a couple of characters whose common thread is the poverty they all live with, often self-imposed because of an inability to find a job and then once a job is secured the readers sees the character’s inability to maintain that job by not showing up on time or at all. Having taken place before the city was destroyed in April of 1968, the book, chronicling street life a short walk from Congress and the White House, provides insights into the conditions that led to soul brothers rioting in the city.
The New Deal Carry-out shop is on corner in downtown Washington, DC. It would be within walking distance of the White House, the Smithsonian Institution, and other major public buildings of the nation’s capital, if anyone cared to walk there, but no one ever does. Across the street from the Carry-out is a liquor store. The other two corners of the intersection are occupied by a dry cleaning and shoe repair store and a wholesale plumbing supplies showroom and warehouse. (pg 17-18)
To any liberal, libertarian, or conservative who cares about our city and the 2011 Tally’s Corners (16th & Good Hope Rd. SE, MLK Ave & Malcolm X Ave SE, etc.) the book is a must read.
I have since mentioned Tally’s Corner to many folks, many who have no idea what I am talking about. The couple times I have found someone who is familiar with the book the discussion often leads to the location of where was Tally’s Corner? I had always claimed, or rather thought, it was 7th Street NW as south as possibly L Street. Others said it was 9th & P Street NW.
Today Answer Man aka John Kelly gives us the answer; Tally’s Corner was 11th & M Street NW.