Street Luging in Adams Morgan

Below is a great photograph that we found on Shorpy. The young boy riding down the hill is Clarence Sherrill, Jr., son of Col. Clarence Sherrill, the superintendent of public buildings in D.C.

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September 15, 1922. Clarence Sherrill, son of the Washington, D.C., superintendent of public buildings. National Photo Co.
September 15, 1922. Clarence Sherrill, son of the Washington, D.C., superintendent of public buildings. National Photo Co.

At the time of this photo, in 1922, the family lived at 1839 California St. NW. Below is the Google Street View of the block. It’s not a great view of the home, but move around and explore the area. Correct me if I’m wrong, but California St. is a little bit of a hill right? Does the above shot look like part of that street? Bonus points to the GoDCer who can identify the location.


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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  • Looks like the hill where California joins 19th. If little Clarence were in the Google Street View picture, he’d be heading for the blue awning, and inches away from taking out the person standing in the middle of the street who is talking to the driver of the beige car.

  • chungo

    yea i agree 19th and california ..heading towards old adams school where adams morgan gets its name from..adams was the white school..morgan was the black school..when things were de-segregated they referred to the area as adams morgan…i want to say the building in the picture was later converted into a group home that caught on fire but i have to go back and check.

  • LaQuare

    I knew someone who grew up in that era, and he said the most popular place for the pictured activity was the hill on Adams Mill down to Harvard.

  • ArrrB

    I’m finding quite a bit on this adorable young boy. His father was Clarence O. Sherrill who left DC in 1925 to become the first city manager of Cincinnati. The boy, Clarence Caldwell Sherrill is found on an Ellis Island ship manifest–from when he was five years old. He was apparently in the Panama Canal Zone. The family apparently stayed in Cincinnati, where Clarence Sr. would eventually die, and where young Clarence died in 1993 at the age of 82.

    • T Sherrill

      You are correct in all counts. My father is Clarence O. Sherrill’s grandson. We moved from Cincinnati to Buffalo in 1974. Clarence was military aid to President Harding and for a time to Coolidge. He was also supt. of public buildings and grounds. I have been told stories of the boy here (my grandfather) playing with a sailboat in the middle of the reflecting pool and not coming out for the police until his father came out to get him.

      • ArrrB

        That’s wonderful that you are able to find out so much information about your family from the internet! The homes in the background are still standing–you should take a trip to DC to visit this place!

  • HMA8

    The street in the photo is definitely too steep for California St.

  • Popeye D. Saylorman

    The kid looks like he is about 11, so he was born around 1911. Today he is about 114 years old.

  • Popeye D. Saylorman

    I bet the kid is going down 16th street. But anyone who can locate the exact location on google maps will be awarded $10k.