85. 2715 P Street

2715 P Street, NW
Photo by Bob Rives

Wharton Family

Dorothy Wharton Thomas was born at 3708 Prospect Street the 4th of 7 children born to Florence C. Wharton and George A. Wharton.  Her mother’s family lived in Georgetown previously at 3708 Prospect Street.  The area around Prospect Street was called “Holy Hill” because of all the Catholic Institutions. During their time on Prospect Street, George Wharton was a physical therapist for athletes at Georgetown University and provided general maintenance for University facilities including the convent where he was the only man allowed entry. The family eventually moved to the home at 2715 P Street. The mother worked as a seamstress and her grandmother worked as a domestic for another family.

Dorothy Wharton’s mother’s family came from Ann Arundel County, Maryland where the family was given land after emancipation and built a house.  The grandfather could pass for white; fair with long brown hair. Her mother was from the Wharfield family and related to Wallis Wharfield Simpson, the wife of the Prince of Wales. Dorothy Wharton’s grandmother married a Curtis and continued to live at 3712 Prospect. The paternal side of the family lived in Georgetown for generations. The Great-Great grandfather was the child of enslaved parents and lived in Maryland.  Dorothy attended Wormley and Phillips School but couldn’t attend Catholic School at Holy Trinity Church.  One sister went to DC Teachers College; another to University of New Mexico; another to Howard University.   She met her husband Tim at the Armstrong High School prom.  She went to Cardozo High School and finished in 2 years. She also attended Howard University. She is the sister of Clarence Wharton.

Clarence Wharton lived here almost all his life.  He was born at 3708 Prospect across from Georgetown University athletic field. His father, George Wharton, provided physical therapy to athletes at Georgetown University and provided general maintenance for University facilities while living on Prospect. His father also sold popcorn, peanuts, candy at athletic events to bring in extra income.  George Wharton also did maintenance at the convent where he was the only male allowed entry. When the house on Prospect Street became uninhabitable, the family moved to P Street. The family was large; seven children; five girls and two boys. The Wharton family had to walk to First and O Street, rode the trolley car or took the bus to attend Dunbar High School.  After school the children played in the nearby Rose Park. Clarence Wharton was baptized at Trinity Church when African Americans had to sit in the balcony or back. In response to the prejudice, the family was instrumental in building Epiphany Church which African Americans founded to serve their spiritual needs without segregation. Clarence’s great-grandfather was a butcher at Sheila’s Market (29th and Dumbarton) and his aunt had a business at 1079 Wisconsin which was torn down when the owner refused to make repairs. He was an honorably discharged WW II Veteran.