While the surrounding Logan Circle neighborhood has changed dramatically in the last 10 years with the return of the middle class, the Kingman Boys' and Girls' Club continues to be the place where the children of the poor come to play.
It was formed in 1969 after the owner of a warehouse on Kingman Place took pity on the poor children who played in an adjacent garbage-filled alley and donated his warehouse for use as a club.
"The neighborhood was real poor then," remembers Cliff Webster, the director of the club. "I'd say we had about 90 percent welfare recipients, crime was really high . . . We could get 40 to 50 kids from Kingman Place alone with the big families that lived on the street."
When the big, often poor families who had rented houses on Kingman Place began to leave in the mid-70s, to be replaced by largely single and childless middle-class urban pioneers who bought and renovated houses, the number of children in the neighborhood fell sharply.
"I'd guess today maybe 10 kids live on Kingman Place," said Webster.
But the changes in the neighborhood have not changed the boys' club or its membership.The membership has actually increased slightly -- it is still 99 percent black -- and the club has expanded its programs.
The low-income youngsters who were moved out of the neighborhood still bus, walk and bike to get to the boys' club.
But the club has failed to attract the white children who have moved into the neighborhood.
"The neighborhood is less of a community than it used to be," said Webster, who grew up in the Logan Circle area. "People back then [before the urban renaissance] were more close than they are now. Many of the people moving in don't have kids. They have professional jobs. They're not as likely to participate in the neighborhood."
The neighborhood's new residents often complain about the all-night basketball games behind the boys' club and the trash and noise brought to the area by the club members. Some residents link small crimes to the poor children coming into the neighborhood to attend the club.
"Yes, the boy's club is noisy," said Charles Reed, president of the boys' club, whose backyard adjoins the club's property. " . . . The kids tramp through my yard, throw trash. It drives my wife up the wall . . . But the boys' club serves an important function."
Reed, who is white and bought his Logan Circle house in 1974, said two of his children have joined the boys' club. But his son ran into the problem many white children face when they join: he was beaten up, Reed said, after "mouth-off" to a bigger black child.
Reed said he hopes more whites will join the club as new people continue to move into the neighborhood.
"The boys' club has a purpose to serve beyond the change in the neighborhood," said Reed."Maybe it began as a facility for low-income neighborhoods, but it can be a place for poor black kids to meet white kids. It's probably good for low-income kids to get that exposure."
Reed said he is one of several new, white Logan Circle homeowners who have become involved with groups or clubs in the Logan Circle area since moving into the area. He complained that The Washington Post's past articles about displacement painted a disorted picture of white invaders pushing poor black people out of their houses.
Although Reed sees the boys' club remaining in the area and eventually starting to change with the neighborhood, Richard Peters, president of the firm that donated the club building and a member of the boys' club's board of directors, said he favors moving the club when the middle-class population becomes the dominant group in the neighborhood.
"If the neighborhood continues to change," he said, "I think we'll probably sell it [the building] and put the money into something in a poorer area."