The Raymond Apartments

The Raymonds had apparently been thinking about apartment buildings for Del Ray for some time. They applied for permission to put up such a structure at the corner of Mt Vernon and Bellefonte in June 1931, but nothing came of it. Then in July 1934 they purchased land 103 feet deep along the east side of DeWitt Avenue from Bellefonte in the north to midway between Duncan and Mason in the south from Caleb and Amelia Roberts. That September they purchased from Hattie Duncan, the developer of East Braddock, seven lots that gave them almost all the SW and NW corners of Duncan and DeWitt, and a month later bought the missing piece at a default action.

 In 1937 Newesta received building permits for four large brick buildings, one at each corner of Duncan and DeWitt (1706, 1707, 1800 and 1801 DeWitt). Even as those were going up the firm bought two large plots of land in January 1938 from Mamie Slater, one each side of Duncan, extending east from the buildings under construction. On these were built four more apartment buildings (304, 305, 306 and 307 E Duncan), then a ninth building went up at the corner of DeWitt and Bellefonte (1807 DeWitt).

The building at 1800 DeWitt

Across the street, 1801 DeWitt

Each building had two floors, each with four apartments, two each side of a central hallway. The apartments were designated A-H and were one-bedroom units with floor areas ranging from 437 to 509 square feet.

The second-floor plan of a larger building, here at 304 E Duncan

The Raymonds owned and managed the apartments, actually living there starting around 1940, with Newesta selling them to Raymond Inc. in 1947, with the latter taking out $5,000 mortgages on six of the lots to pay, this presumably being a quick way to raise cash with some tax benefits. With the passing of Newman and then Esther the property fell to son Wesley and daughter Ruth and in May 1969 they sold it to Carson Fifer. Interestingly, the deal included four of the front-porch houses that were being rented out as double units, 217, 220, 308 and 309 E Duncan.

 In 1985 Carson and Sara Fifer sold the properties to CIH Alexandria Square Associates and in 1991 they filed plans to convert the properties into an 80-unit condominium (eight units in each of the nine main buildings, plus two units in each of the four front-porch buildings). With this the former Raymond Apartments were renamed Alexandria Square Condominiums.