New Landmark Nominations Filed for Area Properties

Yesterday, the Historic Preservation Office’s listing of recently filed historic landmark nominations consisted of three new nominations. All three are located along the lower Georgia Avenue corridor.

The first one listed, and the one furthest to the south, is for the Standard Material Company – Gyro Motor Company at 770-774 Girard Street, NW. The Gyro motor company was formed in 1909 by Emile Berliner to pursue production of rotary engines. He built a small factory at 744 Girard Street next to another small factory for his Victor record players. Berliner’s designs were improvements of the Addams-Farwell rotary engine he used in early helicopter experiments.

In 1965, the small church at 625 Park Road was the home of Trinity A.M.E. Zion chuch, and one of the locations of UPO's pilot head start program.

In 1965, the small church at 625 Park Road was the home of Trinity A.M.E. Zion church, and the lead location of UPO’s pilot head start program.

The other nominations are two I had recently submitted. The first is for the Park View Christian Church/Trinity AME Zion Church building located at 625 Park Road, NW. The building is currently vacant.  The property is important for a few different reasons. In addition to serving the spiritual needs of the Georgia Avenue area since 1877, church’s active participation and supporting role in the creation of the Park View Citizens’ Association and the establishment of the Park View neighborhood’s identity is significant. Citizens’ associations regularly presented the needs of their communities to the District’s commissioners and Members of Congress, providing the highest level of local representation available to residents of the District of Columbia between 1874 and 1972.

Lastly, the church, while under the leadership of the Trinity A.M.E. Zion church, played a key role in the development of the National Head Start program. Head Start began as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society campaign. Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church’s selection as one of the five churches in which the pilot Head Start program was located, and the site that Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson visited on May 5, 1965, contributed in a significant way to the establishment of Head Start on the National level.

The Hebrew Home for the Aged, 1125 Spring Rd., NW.

The Hebrew Home for the Aged, 1125 Spring Rd., NW.

The last of the three nominations filed is for the Hebrew Home for the Aged & Jewish Social Services Agency at 1125 and 1131 Spring Road, NW. The Hebrew Home for the Aged was constructed in 1924 to provide social support for destitute Jews, many of whom were immigrants who neither spoke nor understood English. The Hebrew Home, located in what was at the time considered the northern fringe of Washington, was built to serve Washington’s growing Jewish community, particularly in the nearby Columbia Heights, Petworth, and Park View neighborhoods. The building was designed by Washington architect Appleton P. Clark, Jr., and  was expanded between 1951 and 1953 to the designs of Washington architect William St. Cyr Barrington. In 1940, a small building designed by Julius Wenig was constructed to the west of the larger Hebrew Home to serve the needs of the Jewish Social Service Agency.

The former Jewish Social Service Agency building at 1131 Spring Road, NW.

The former Jewish Social Service Agency building at 1131 Spring Road, NW.

The Jewish Social Service Agency of Metropolitan Washington has its origins in two different agencies. The United Hebrew Charities was incorporated in 1893 “to assist in relief of needy Hebrews” in Northwest Washington. The Hebrew Relief Society of the District of Columbia was organized to “provide relief for needy Orthodox Hebrews” in Southeast Washington. The two merged and incorporated in 1921 as the United Hebrew Relief Society of D.C. Services of the JSSA, delivered by volunteers, were tangible and personal – money, food, clothing and coal for widows with children, needy families, and new immigrants. You can read more about the JSSA in the landmark nomination or from the JSSA’s Web site.

In particular, I think both the former church and the Hebrew Home have great potential for new life.

Explore posts in the same categories: Historic Landmarks, History

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2 Comments on “New Landmark Nominations Filed for Area Properties”

  1. Angry Parakeet Says:

    How prescient that the church is on your masthead. The Head Start angle with First Lady Johnson’s visit is fascinating.

  2. PM Says:

    I see 625 Park Road has a building permit under review. Looks like conversion to apartments/


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