Jon Crispin's Notebook

DC From the Past (Update)

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Cities, Friends, Government, People by joncrispin on 15/10/2013

After I posted the shots of the capitol building yesterday, I found myself thinking about previous visits to the same location.  I took the above picture sometime in 1985 (when this Studebaker Lark was already over 20 years old).  It was this photo that popped into my mind as I was taking yesterday’s shot.

I took the above photograph on 19th January, 1985 the night before Reagan’s second inauguration.  Stacy Dabney (and I am not sure of the exact spelling) was living under these very same steps.  My friend Brad Edmondson and I were walking around the building the night before the ceremony and we were surprised to see this gentleman living there.  He was happy to talk to us about his situation.  He was a veteran and felt he was getting screwed by the VA.  The Capitol Police didn’t bother him much, but Stacy was pretty sure they would kick him out by the next day.  They did.  I remember thinking at the time that this was a HUGE story that no one was covering.  A homeless guy living under the capitol building.

Brad and I were back in DC that April working on a story about congressman Matt McHugh (D-NY 1975-1993).  We went back to the capitol steps and sure enough Stacy was still in residence.  We caught him late at night just as he was turning in.  It still seems amazing that not only was he living there, but the police never really hassled him.  This shot was taken on 24 April, 1985 and it was the last time I saw him.   Do any of you out there remember meeting him or reading about him?  I did a search for his name and nothing came up.  (UPDATE.  Thanks to reader DotRot for letting me know his real name.; Stacy Abner.  Here is a link to an article that explains the situation.  Still an amazing story.)

I really like this photo of Brad, taken that same evening just after we left Stacy.

4 Responses

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  1. DotRot said, on 15/10/2013 at 8:32 pm

    I found an article about Stacy, but it has his name as Stacy Abner. Here’s the link:,9759449

    I wasn’t able to find anything more about him under either name. If he was 85 in 1985, I’m sure he’s not there any longer.

    • joncrispin said, on 22/10/2013 at 3:58 pm

      DotRot, sorry for the delay in acknowledging your comment. It was so helpful, and I updated the post to reflect the accurate information. Cheers, jon

  2. PM said, on 16/10/2013 at 11:32 am

    Jon, thanks for you compassionate photo and ‘DotRot’ thanks for surfacing the article. The inequity and mistreatment of vets is even higher now than it was then. I WANT change!

  3. Hank. said, on 19/10/2013 at 6:36 pm

    Great posts, Jon…I’m thinking we saw Mr. Abner at the Capitol too, closer to 1987 or 1988. Wow. I’ll also not forget seeing so many homeless encamped near those warm air vents in the city.

    And hey–how long has it been since you couldn’t walk up the steps of the Capitol? Is that a post 9-11 thing? Speaking of changing times, my mom remembered being able to walk up to the door of the White House, which my grandmother apparently did, intent on speaking to Mrs. Roosevelt. The fellow who answered the door informed her that Mrs. Roosevelt was in New York, to which my grandmother replied, “I see. Then she must be visiting me,” and turned on her heels to leave.

    Which was probably best for all involved!

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