Three Things About the O Street Pumping Station

Your second major stop on the WABA “Down the Tubes” bicycle ride on Sunday is going to be the O Street Pumping Station, down by the Navy Yard. This is a beautiful old Beaux-Arts building from the early 20th century, and I’m a little jealous of you all, since I won’t be on the ride to see it.

So, our second “Three Things…” post in support of the WABA ride will be about this building.

West side of O Street pumping station (JDLand)
West side of O Street pumping station (JDLand)

1. Navy Yard wins two

In 1911, amateur baseball was big in Washington … really big. There were a number of leagues, and one of those was the Capital City League, and in September of that year, the championship for the southeast quadrant was held at Capital City park (South Capitol St. and L St. SE).

Navy Yard was playing the Sewage Pumping Station “Pumpers” for bragging rights and defeated them handily, 5 to 3 and 6 to 1. Check out the box scores for the two games below.

Box score from September 25th, 1911 (Washington Post)
Box score from September 25th, 1911 (Washington Post)

2. Lost boy found dead

This is a sad story fit for “From the Crazy Vault.” This is from August 4th, 1913 in the Post. Young Everitt Sherry had been missing for several days when he turned up dead.

The body of Everitt Sherry, the 8-year-old boy who had been missing from his home near the Anacostia bridge since Friday afternoon, was found floating in the Anacostia River near the foot of New Jersey avenue and Second street southeast yesterday afternoon by two youths who were paddling about in a bateau. The boys, Ballard Mall, of 518 L street southeast, and Noah Gross of 1250 Second street southeast, towed the body to the District sewage pumping station, which was nearby, and informed L. J. Barr, who is employed there, of their discovery. Barr communicated with the harbor police, and the body was removed by them to the morgue. It was soon afterward identified by the father of the boy, William Sherry, of 1312 Eleventh street southeast.

The boy’s father is inclined to the view that his son fell into the river from the top of a houseboat which is moored just east of the bridge, on which he often played. On the night following the boy’s disappearance there was a storm with an unusually heavy fall of rain, and it is thought that the flood waters washed the body down the river past the point where the dragging has been in progress.

3. Barefoot, without overcoat or hat, wandering in a daze

I came across an odd article from the February 5th, 1917 Washington Post, detailing the aftermath of a robbery near the Department of Treasury. The victim somehow ended up near the pumping station down by the Anacostia River, yet he couldn’t explain how he arrived there.

Barefooted, without overcoat or hat, cut, bruised and suffering from exposure, a man who said he was Dr. H. V. Treakle, 50 years old, of White Stone, Lancaster county, Va., wandered into the sewage pumping station at the foot of Second street and the Anacostia River southeast, yesterday morning at 5 o’clock. To the man in charge of the station, he said he was assaulted and robbed by three colored men in Fifteenth street near H street northwest, He said that these men, one of whom he knew, took his overcoat, watch and shoes, and between $15 and $20 in money. He was unable to tell where he had been between the hour and the time when he appeared at the pumping station–eleven hours later–or how he wandered from the vicinity of the Treasury into the southeast near the Washington navy yard.

This may have been reported as a robbery, but frankly, this sounds like a guy that got drunk, possibly robbed (crime of opportunity) and found himself stumbling the streets of southeast near the Anacostia River.

O Street pumping station (JDLand)
O Street pumping station (JDLand)

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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