27. 3410 Volta Street

3410 Volta Street
Photo by Bob Rives

Freed Slave Housing

Between 1852 and1855, Samuel Owens moved to 65 4th (Volta) Street. Owens was a painter by profession and probably the occupant when the carriage house/stable were built directly to the west and when the two Italianate houses went up in 1853 and 1856. Before 1858, Owens moved out and was replaced by carpenter William Crown, who was somehow related Horace and Lucy Howe probably through the marriage to their daughter per a 1905 property deed. The Crowns moved to High Street in 1862. In 1862, or shortly thereafter, the house was rented by the Howes to a “colored” woman name Mary Doynes.  Around 1864, another African American, Charity Butler, moved to the house. It is not known to date whether the two women were freed by the DC Emancipation Act of 1862 or were already free. They stay until sometime after the Civil War.  What is known is they may have been the last African Americans to occupy the house in the 19th century.