Life in Jefferson District

Marital Cruelty and Divorce

A recently-discovered file of the Chancery Court for the county lays out travails of Rosie May Peverill and her divorce from Lewis Peverill in 1913. A form of cruelty we would not think of today was the refusal to provide sufficient coal each morning to run the cast-iron “Franklin” stove that would provide the only heat in the house in the winter.

The Electric Railway

The Washington-Mount Vernon Railway, originally envisioned as a means of carrying tourists to George Washington's estate, proved far more important in the long run as one of the earliest inter-urban trolley systems in the country.  It was this railway that spurred the development of Del Ray.

The Race Track Property

In the middle of the Del Ray neighborhood sit the developments of Mt Vernon and Abingdon, bounded roughly by Mt Vernon Avenue, Mt Ida Avenue and the curving Randolph Avenue. Not a large area, it has seen far more varied activity than any other part of Del Ray. Between 1872 and 1922 it was a hay field, a dairy farm, a race track (twice), an Army post (twice), a large illegal gambling shop/bar holding 500 patrons, dusty abandoned fields and development into housing. It saw hard work, gambling, quiet bovine grazing, drunkenness, beatings, hundreds of soldiers marching, bribery, citizen outrage, police raids and stupendous levels of legal chicanery.

Part I - The First Race Track (1890-91)

Part II - The Second Race Track (1894-95)

Part III - Racing Begins (and ends)

Part IV - The Gambling House Era

Part V - The Abandoned Track Grounds (1905-1917)

Part VI - The Army Returns

Part VII - The Birth of Residential Development