Early Voting Has Begun, Voting at Columbia Heights Community Center Begins Oct. 25th

Posted October 22, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Elections

Tags: ,

On Monday, October 20th, early voting began in Washington for the offices of Mayor, several councilmember seats, members of the school board, and several others races. This week, early voting began at One Judiciary Square (441 4th St, NW) and will continue through November 1st from from 8:30am to 7pm, (Closed on Sunday).

All DCBOEE early voting locations will operate starting on Saturday, October 25, 2014 through Saturday, November 1, 2014, from 8:30 am to 7 pm; excluding Sunday, October 26, 2014.

Early voting locations at DPR sites are as follows:

Ward 1 – Columbia Heights Community Center (1480 Girard St., NW)

Ward 3 – Chevy Chase Community Center (5601 Connecticut Ave., NW)

Ward 4 – Takoma Community Center (300 Van Buren St., NW)

Ward 5 – Turkey Thicket Recreation Center (1100 Michigan Ave., NE)

Ward 6 – King Greenleaf Recreation Center (201 N St., SW)
– Sherwood Recreation Center (640 10th St., NE)

A sample Ward 1 ballot is below.

Ward 1 Sample ballot

Late 19th Century Stereoview Offers Rare View of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at Rock Creek Cemetery

Posted October 21, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Architecture, Cemeteries, Churches, History

Tags: ,

Here’s another great 19th century photograph I was able to get of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church (aka the Rock Creek Church). This photo likely dates to the 1870s or 1880s and is a good companion to the snapshot I posted on September 4, 2014, which dates to around 1899. But whereas that photo shows the church’s south elevation, this image shows the north elevation, or rear of the building.

As I noted in the earlier post, the church largely burned in 1921 and was rebuilt. While the new structure was able to keep and incorporate three of the original walls, the church that visitors are familiar with today is markedly different than the one that was familiar to visitors a century ago.

Rock Creek Church

Pepco Planning Harvard Substation Upgrade

Posted October 20, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Pepco, Restoration repair and maintenance

Tags: , ,
Pepco Substation No. 13, at Harvard and Sherman Avenue, with 2914 Sherman in the background.

Pepco Substation No. 13, at Harvard and Sherman Avenue, with 2914 Sherman in the background.

Here’s some interesting news. Recently, Pepco purchased the property at 2914 Sherman Avenue, NW. This purchase is part of Pepco’s ongoing efforts to provide safe and reliable electric service to residents. As part of their efforts to do this, they identified the need to upgrade the Harvard Substation located at Sherman Avenue and Harvard Street, NW. This substation is an early substation in the Pepco system (it’s no. 13) and was built in five stages. The original 1907 building was designed by architect Frederick B. Pyle. This was followed by additions designed by Arthur B. Heaton in 1920 and 1921. Further additions were added in 1929 and finally in 1944.

According to an email from Pepco,”they have determined that the Harvard Substation needs to be upgraded for several important reasons, including the age of the existing infrastructure and capacity requirements, and to ensure [that they] continue to provide safe and reliable electric service to … customers. The equipment and building itself is aged and needs to be upgraded.  In addition, electrical demand in the area has increased and improvements are needed in order to meet forecasted loads.”

2914 Sherman Avenue will be razed as part of the substation project.

2914 Sherman Avenue will be razed as part of the substation project.

Upgrades to the Harvard Substation must be complete by 2021. To facilitate these upgrades, Pepco purchased the abutting property at 2914 Sherman Avenue. As recently as January 2013, there were plans to renovate the building into 20 market-rate condos. After the developer gutted the building, work seemed to grind to a halt.

Pepco plans to demolish the existing multi-unit building and use it temporarily to complete the renovations and upgrades to the substation. While the project details have not been finalized, Pepco anticipates that the substation improvements will likely proceed in five phases, which they have outlined below:

  • Establish a temporary substation. Before Pepco begins replacing existing infrastructure at the substation, they will first establish a temporary substation on the property adjacent to the substation.  They will need to create a temporary substation so that they can continue to provide electric service in the area while the existing substation is out of service.  Work to construct the temporary substation will likely start in 2018.
  • Transfer electric load to temporary substation site. Once Pepco has established the temporary site, they will transfer the load from the Harvard substation to the temporary substation.
  • Rebuild Harvard Substation. Pepco anticipates the rebuilding work at the Harvard Substation to begin immediately following the electric load transfer to the temporary substation. Plans for the rebuild have not been completed; however, Pepco intends to work with the community to ensure the design is harmonious with neighboring architectural themes and the property use is appropriate for continued operation.
  • Transfer electric load back to Harvard Substation. After the upgrades are completed, the electric load will be transferred back from the temporary substation and the Harvard Substation will resume providing electric service in 2021.
  • Disassemble the temporary substation. Following the load transfers, the temporary substation will be disassembled.

Pepco has determined that upgrading substation no. 13 is essential to maintain and improve the overall reliability and electric service for residents in the communities surrounding the substation.

I’ll share more information about this project as it moves forward and more information is known.

MPD’s Tenth Precinct Stable, a Link to When Washington Patrolled with Mounted Police

Posted October 17, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Architecture, History, MPD

Tags: , ,

Mounted Squad of the Metropolitan Police Force(Major Sylvester’s review of the mounted Metropolitan Police Force in 1903)

MPD 4D Substation at 750 Park Road NW, originally the Tenth Precinct building.

MPD 4D Substation at 750 Park Road NW, originally the Tenth Precinct building.

I’ve previously posted some history about the Metropolitan Police Force and  the construction of the Tenth Precinct building on Park Road in 1901. The creation of the Tenth Precinct and the construction of the police station were responses to the expansion of the city limits and urban population into the areas now known as Park View, Columbia Heights, and Mount Pleasant. Reforms in the D.C. police department in the latter decades of the nineteenth century had led to the enlargement of the force and creation of the new precinct.

The Tenth Precinct covered a large geographic area — bounded by the District line [north], Queens Chapel Road NE, Eighteenth Street NE, Brentwood Road, T Street, First Street NW, Channing Street, College Street extended, College Street, Barry Place extended, Barry Place, Florida Avenue, Q Street, and Rock Creek — which could only effectively be patrolled by mounted policemen at the time it was established. The Tenth was not the only precinct to have mounted police. According to a 1903 article in the Washington Times, mounted police were also employed at the Third precinct (1 officer), Fifth precinct (5 officers), Seventh precinct (11 officers), Eighth precinct (1 officer), and the Ninth precinct (8 officers). The Tenth precinct had 5 mounted police officers.

The Tenth Precinct stable, now serving residential needs.

The Tenth Precinct stable, now serving residential needs (View from alley).

The Tenth precinct station house is one of the more impressive buildings in the Park View area. Rightfully so, it was place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986. But there is another building associated with the police station that isn’t on the National Register and, I’ll bet, unknown to all but a few … its stable.

The Tenth Precinct stable is currently privately owned and has been put to residential use, but anyone familiar with stables and willing to walk down the driveway to the alley behind the precinct building  will quickly recognize it. As far as urban stables go, its impressive. It contained seven horse stalls, a hay mow, and probably a hostler’s room.

Stable windows(The row of small windows on the east side of the stable are a clear indication of where the horse stalls were located.)

While many of the windows have been replaced over the years, by and large the building contains a tremendous amount of its architectural integrity, especially where the stable windows are concerned. Often times in old stable buildings, one will find that the window apertures for the horse stalls have been bricked in. In this police stable, that happily isn’t the case.

One of the two decorative corbels showing face detail.

One of the two decorative corbels showing face detail.

The building also has some rather ornate stone corbels on the alley elevation that are unusual for a stable. The highly carved corbels are organic in nature, but each also includes a face. Such decoration is most often seen on residential architecture.

The Tenth Precinct wasn’t the only police station house to have a stable, though its highly possible that it is the most substantial and complete example still standing. But, before that claim can be made a thorough inventory of police stables will need to be undertaken.

Floor plans for a smaller, though similar, police stable from the period are below. A review of them gives an indication of how the interior space was laid out and used.

Stable dwgs Police no 70005(First floor plan of a Washington police stable)

Stable dwgs Police no 70004(Second floor plan of a Washington police stable)

New EatsPlace Pop-Uppery a Great Addition to Park View

Posted October 16, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Development, Restaurants, Small Businesses

Tags: , ,

EatsPlace sign

EatsPlace's Katy Chang.

EatsPlace’s Katy Chang.

EatsPlace has been open scarcely a week and I’m already hearing some good things about the place. EatsPlace it the result of owner Katy Chang’s desire to bring a “pop-uppery” to the area.  Katy has been working on this project for over two years. I first learned about it in May 2012 and posted an update in September 2012. As EatsPlace is a “pop-uppery” the menu and cooks will periodically change. Currently, Mason Dixie Biscuit Company (menu here) is serving up breakfast in the mornings and DC Born and Raised (menu here) is cooking up dinner in the evenings. According to Katy, both will be at EatsPlace through January. The EatsPlace Web site includes more information, including service hours, for each.

EatsPlace, at 3607 Georgia Avenue.

EatsPlace, at 3607 Georgia Avenue.

If the food isn’t enough to tempt you, the space is also very welcoming. It is cozy and intimate. There are a few seating areas in the front and rear of the main floor, as well as a front facing and rear patio area during nicer weather. Katy also mentioned a desire to have some live music — such as a jazz trio — from time to time. Below are a few photos from the restaurant to give you an idea of what you can expect. EatsPlace EatsPlace EatsPlace(The small patio in the rear of the building)

Halloween Decorations Begin to Appear

Posted October 15, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Holiday decorations, Holidays

Tags: , ,
3666 Park Place decorated for Halloween.

3666 Park Place decorated for Halloween.

Halloween is just over two weeks away, but I’m already starting to see people getting into the coming festivities. The photos today are  from 3666 Park Place, NW, which as you can see is really decked out. I like everything about it, from the cobwebs and spiders to the skeleton and gourds.

Over the next two weeks I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for more great decorations. Unlike years past, I’m going to broaden my search to all of Ward 1. I’m curious to see which neighborhood has the most Halloween spirit.

3666 Park Place Halloween

Scott Simpson: Candidate for the Ward 1 State Board of Education

Posted October 14, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Elections

Tags: , , ,
Laura Wilson Phelan, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education (image from campaign Web site)

Scott Simpson, Candidate for Ward 1 State Board of Education (image from campaign Web site)

The fifth and last in the series featuring candidates for Ward 1 State Board of Education is Scott Simpson. You can learn more about Simpson at his campaign Web site here.

Here are the questions each candidate received along with Scott’s answers:

Q: Which Ward 1 neighborhood do you live in?

A: I live in LeDroit Park.

Q: How long have you lived in D.C.?

A: I’ve been a D.C. resident for 12 years.

Q: Why did you decide to become a candidate for the Ward 1 Member of the State Board of Education?

A: I’m running because I want to help make sure our school reform efforts continue and are inclusive. I’m a professional civil rights and education advocate who can give students a representative on the State Board of Education who can navigate the bureaucracy of our education system to get things done, who can provide proper oversight to schools, and can push for the reforms that increase access to a quality education for all students –regardless of their identity, life circumstance, or zip code.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish on the State Board of Education?

A: It’s imperative that the next member of the State Board of Education view the role as an independent education advocate for students and constituents. I would champion greater community engagement from schools and the school system, more supports for teachers, greater access to meaningful data about student achievement, and reforms to ensure that disadvantaged students have access to the resources they’re entitled to under the law.   Our school reforms are working, but not for all students, we need an advocate to make sure that all students benefit from our progress.

Q: How does your professional and/or life experience make you a good candidate for the State Board of Education, and how will it help you be a successful Member of the Board?

A: I’ve volunteered thousands of hours with D.C. youth and understand how some students have had to trek across the city for a quality education or suffer with inadequate access to support services and the resources needed to thrive.

My first job in D.C. was at a youth center working directly with teenagers every day. I worked my way through career college and now I’m a professional education and civil rights advocate at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

My education advocacy at the state and national level has helped to narrow resource disparities in low-income schools, has promoted access to science and math learning, and has helped promote equity in the distribution of qualified teachers.

I’m the only candidate that offers this experience with D.C. students and the know-how to navigate the bureaucracy of our education system.

Q: Is this your first bid for elected office? If not, please describe other elected positions you’ve held, briefly note your accomplishments, and describe how the community benefited by your advocacy.

A: I’m one of the few candidates who has not run for another office. It’s important that the person who serves Ward One on the State Board of Education be interested in the job, not on other political ambitions.

Q: Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

A: I’m the only candidate in this race who has been a consistent presence at the State Board of Education for the past year, who has studied the office at almost every meeting, and who has taken an active interest in the job. I already understand how to make a difference on the SBOE and will put that experience to work on behalf of the District.

You can learn more at www.SimpsonforSchools.org or at http://www.twitter.com/ScottSimpson202. You can also email me directly at Scott (at) simpsonforschools.org.


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