Historic 1922 Photo of National Baptist Memorial Church’s Corner Stone Ceremony

Posted September 11, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Architecture, Celebrations, History

Tags: , , ,

On April 23rd, I posted an account of the ground breaking ceremony for the National Baptist Memorial Church on 16th Street that happened to occur on the same date in 1921. Surprisingly, I’ve just found a related photo to the construction of the church … showing the April 22, 1922 corner stone ceremony. You can see that photo below.

SCAN0125(Photo from author’s collection)

The following description of the event is a portion of an article published in The Sunday Star on April 23rd:

Before a gathering of several hundred persons attending the ceremonies yesterday afternoon incident to the laying of the corner stone of the national Baptist memorial to Roger Williams and religious liberty, at 16th Street and Columbia road, Charles E. Hughes, Secretary of State, the principal speaker, paid a glowing tribute to “the pioneer who first in American, erected the standard of religious freedom.”

“Religious liberty is distinctly an American doctrine, for here the principle first found effective expression in government institutions,” the Secretary said.

The memorial, in course of construction, Secretary Hughes declared, was “at once a tribute and a pledge. It is a tribute in this capital, where the services and ideals of those who founded and preserved the Union are fittingly memorialized, to one of their great forerunners — Roger Williams. It is also a tribute to that earnest group of believers who, amid scorn and persecution, were steadfast to their distinctive tenet which was to become the vital principle of our free institutions. It is also a pledge that this principle shall be held inviolate.”

The article continues with a recount of Hughes honoring Anabaptists, a listing of the the notable religious men and women in attendance, and a description of the articles placed in the corner stone box.

Below are two additional photos of the same event that I found in the Library of Congress collection.

Hughes cornerstone 1

Hughes cornerstone 2

More Details and Next Steps Concerning the Hebrew Home Development

Posted September 10, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Development, Housing

Tags: , , ,
The former Hebrew Home and Robeson School site at 1125 Spring Road.

The former Hebrew Home and Robeson School site at 1125 Spring Road.

After last night’s meeting (September 9, 2014) hosted by the Department of General Services (DGS), we now have a better idea of what is being considered for the redevelopment of the former Hebrew Home site (a slide deck from the meeting should be posted online soon The DCHA presentation slide deck is available here).

The primary speaker at the meeting held at Raymond Recreation Center was the Housing Authority’s Stephen Green.  Green reiterated the plan to renovate the historic Hebrew Home building into about 80 living units and replace the Robeson School building with new construction for a total of about 200 living units. Beneath the new construction would be a level of parking containing around 95 to 100 parking spaces.

As presented, the development would include a preference for seniors for a number of studio and 1-bedroom units. Overall, the development would include a mix of studios, 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and a few 3-bedroom units.

The estimated total development cost of the project is $50 million. The project as presented would be 90% affordable and 10% market rate, with the Housing Authority seeking a subsidy of around $18-20 million — which would be a one time subsidy coming from the Housing Production Trust Fund.

The proposed breakdown of the units and their affordability was presented as follows:

% of Area Median Income # of Units % of Total Units Rent Range Household Income
Market 20 10% $1,600-$2,400
60% AMI 90 45% $1,000-$1,500 $40,000-$64,000
40%-60% AMI (Seniors) 50 25% $750-$1,100 $30,000-$45,000
30% AMI 40 20% $550-$800 $20,000-$32,000
200 100%

In response to a question from a resident on the issue of housing vouchers, Green stated that there is no plan to include vouchers in the project, but under the Fair Housing Act anyone qualifying for a unit who has a voucher would be eligible to apply for one of the units just like anyone else.

The overall timeline for the project would be for completion in 3 to 4 years. This was based on 18 months of construction and about a year to finalize plans, get zoning approval, and get through the cumbersome permitting process.

The meeting was well ordered with several good questions and comments being offered. Among those were a request to consider some of the larger units for seniors who may be raising grandchildren, the need to look at how the project would impact available parking for both Raymond Elementary and Raymond Rec Center, and the need to get a good property manager for the site.

Overall, those who spoke seemed receptive to the break down and amount of affordability presented. A few members of the community requested that more units be available for those at the lower income tier, and a couple residents expressed concern that a 200 unit project was too large for Spring Road.

The September 9th meeting will be followed by a small working group meeting hosted by Councilmember Bowser on September 15th, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at the Raymond Recreation Center in the Multipurpose Room on the second floor.  The purpose of this meeting is to further discuss the development of the 1125 Spring Road, NW site and receive feedback regarding DGS’s proposals for the site. The small working group will assess the proposal and identify any recommended changes so as to inform Councilmember Bowser in her role as the Ward 4 Councilmember and Chair of the Committee on Economic Development.

Park View’s New Mural, “The Doors of Perception”, Completed

Posted September 9, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Art

Tags: , ,

The mural at the Rock Creek Market appears to be finished. I first reported about the mural on September 2nd, and you can see what it looked like then here. The mural is part of the MuralsDC program and the artist is Juan Pineda, and according to him, the title is The Doors of Perception.

Doors of Perception

As a dog person, I was particularly taken by the portrait of the Scottie, which you can see in the lower right corner of the mural above, or just look at the detail below.

Doors of Perception detail

Another Neighborhood Alley Getting Rebuilt

Posted September 8, 2014 by Kent
Categories: alleys, DDOT, Streets and Trees

Map showing location of alley being renovated.

Map showing location of alley being renovated.

The alley between the 3600 block of Georgia and the 3600 block of New Hampshire is in the process of being rebuilt (also between Otis Place and Princeton Place). I’ve provided a map to identify the area in question better.

This is the alley behind Looking Glass Lounge and DC Reynolds. I’d brought it to the attention of DDOT some time ago as it was in serious need of repair. The alley is fairly long and quirky, and is also shared by the residents on New Hampshire, so its great that this one is being added to the list of alleys renovated in the past several years.

What I’m particularly pleased by is that it appears that DDOT is replacing the old brick alley with a new brick alley.

The photos below should give an idea of the work being done.

IMG_7235(Looking down the alley from Princeton Place)

IMG_7236(Alley as seen from Otis Place)

IMG_7312[1](Construction detail showing how the brick layer sits on an under-layer of concrete)

Save the Date: Friends of Soldiers Home Hosting Fall Fest on October 5th

Posted September 5, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Armed Forces Retirement Home, Lincoln's Cottage, Sports leisure and entertainment

Tags: , , , ,

I’ve just learned that the Friends of the Soldiers Home has scheduled a Fall Fun Fest for October 5th. See the flyer below, and stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

Fall Fest

Another New Mural on 13th Street

Posted September 5, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Art

Tags: ,

IMG_0924-1After I posted about the new mural being painted at the Rock Creek Market on Tuesday, a reader was kind enough to inform me about a new mural that has just been painted in Columbia Heights over on 13th Street. It’s actually on the side of 3609 13th Street in the alleyway. You can only see it when looking south and will completely miss it if you are traveling north.

According to the reader, the mural’s theme is “Communication” and the artist is James Bullough. The subjects are real people who are part of the Words Beats& Life (WBL) program (teaching, convening and presenting Hip-Hop since 2002.
This month, WBL is organizing a cycling tour of all the murals, which are part of the Murals DC program to curb graffiti.

Below are images of the mural as it was being painted, and some of the finished artwork, provided by community member.





Photo of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church From 1899 Shows Church Before Fire

Posted September 4, 2014 by Kent
Categories: Architecture, History

Tags: ,

St. Paul's Episcopal Church ca. 1899I doubt many visitors to St. Pauls’ church in the Rock Creek Cemetery give much thought to its architecture or ponder upon its history beyond it being an attractive colonial style building. While its well known that the church dates to the 18th century and is the oldest church in the District of Columbia (the church’s Web site includes a good history that you can read here), its appearance today is noticeably different than that which visitors encountered a century ago. This change in appearance is the result of a devastating fire that all but destroyed the church on the morning of April 6, 1921.

According to the church’s Web site, a church has been on its present site since 1719, when a wooden church building was first begun. This was followed by a new brick church building begun in 1721 and completed in 1775.  The building was again largely rebuilt in 1810 and it is this building that can be viewed in the image above which dates to around 1899.

???????????????????????????????The original building was about forty by sixty feet, and was originally arranged with the chancel cut off by a rail at the east end. Three windows faced the east and at the far end two entrance doors were located to the west. On each long side, north and south, were five windows, and above these a second tier, as if a gallery were contemplated for growth.

In 1868 the vestry built at the center of the north wall a wide apsidal chancel, with three windows. Around this time all the two-storied windows of the old church were run together into high, round-arched windows and the west doors were abandoned in favor of an entrance at the center of the south side. Finally, in 1909, a memorial bell-tower was constructed on the south side.

A little after 3 a.m. on the morning of April 6, 1921,  a fire was discovered in the church and the alarm called in. Engine companies 24, 11, and 22 and truck company 6 responded, but upon their arrival the flames were so advanced that efforts to save the property were all but useless. Furthermore, the firemen’s ability to douse the fire was hampered by the fact that there was no fire plug in the immediate vicinity of the church. By the time a nearby plug had been located some distance away and water brought to fight the fire, the building had been aflame for a full hour.

Depending upon contemporary reports, the damage was estimated at between $75,000 and more than $100,000, although the loss in many ways could not be calculated. The fire had reduced the building to its four outer walls. Not only was the building severely damaged, but the interior was a complete loss — not to mention the loss of the valuable memorial windows, irreplaceable relics, and paintings.

The congregation immediately set to rebuilding the church. In rebuilding, most of the brickwork was found substantial enough, but the north wall had buckled decidedly in the center and was taken down. The architect in charge of the rebuilding was Delos H. Smith, with the result being the church building we know today.

IMG_7277(St. Paul’s today)


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