Archive for the ‘Armed Forces Retirement Home’ category

Fall Fun Fest is this Sunday at the Soldiers’ Home — Here’s the Guide to Events

September 28, 2018

The Armed Forces Retirement Home & Friends of the Soldiers Home’s annual Fall Fun Fest is this Sunday, September 30th. Below is the Guide to the day’s events to help you decide when to go.

Armed Forces Retirement Home to Renovate Vacant Grant Building for Senior Assisted Living

September 4, 2018

(The Grant building entrance at the AFRH.)

Earlier today, the Armed Forces Retirement Home announced with a press release (read the full release) that is plans to sign a letter of intent on September 6, 2018, with Gragg Cardon Partners, LLC, to renovate and convert the historic and vacant Grant Building at the north end of the campus for use as an affordable assisted living facility for eligible seniors.

The press release states:

“We are excited about this proposal to revitalize this beautiful building, and put it to a use that fits so closely with what we’re already doing at the Armed Forces Retirement Home,” said Chief Operating Officer James M. Branham. “We look forward to working with Gragg Cardona and their partners over the coming months as we each conduct due diligence and, we hope, reach agreement on a lease later this year or early in 2019.”

The restoration and adaptive re-use of the historic Grant Building as an Affordable Assisted Living Community for low to moderate income seniors is a wonderful solution, and will be an asset to both the AFRH’s long-term goals as well as the greater communities surrounding the home. In the District of Columbia, there is an unmet and growing need for affordable assisted living for the DC senior community.

The Grant Building is a grand renaissance revival structure bordering Rock Creek Church Road and Harewood Road. It opened in 1910 to provide dining facilities, residential rooms, and community facilities for the AFRH’s veteran residents. It closed in 2001. The building is in the Home’s historic district which includes a national monument and historic site. Gragg Cardona approached the Home in July with the proposal and intends to pursue bonds and historic preservation and housing tax credits to offset some of the renovation costs.

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit the AFRH which included a tour of the shuttered Grant building. Below are some photos of the great spaces that will be incorporated into the new facility.

(The entry foyer of the Grant Building.)

(Balcony in the former dining hall of the Grant Building.)

(Looking down toward the entry foyer from the mezzanine.)

WAMU Looks at Past, Present, and Future of the Soldiers’ Home

August 2, 2018

WAMU posted a nice feature on the Armed Forces Retirement Home today authored by Martin Austermuhle (read/listen to it here). What I enjoyed is that it does a good job of providing insight into what life it like there for the retirees, provides some history of the home, mentions the challenges the home is facing, and provides a glimpse of their vision into the future.

The Soldiers’ Home is a gem and one that many residents would like to see greater access too. When the surrounding neighborhoods of Park View and Petworth were constructed, the grounds were open to the public. By the 1920s restrictions on use began to appear and with the creation of the Washington Hospital Center in the 1950s (built on land originally belonging to the Soldiers’ Home), the home began closing access to the home to prevent drivers from cutting through the grounds. This included the closing of the Randolph Gate in 1953 and closing the Park Road gate in 1955.

Based on the WAMU story, the Soldiers’ Home indicated that they are interested in exploring more public access to the grounds at some future date, but currently are focused on the development of their 80 acres at North Capital and Irving Street and restoring the financial health of the institution.

(The Soldiers’ Homes Scott Building in the ca. 1860s)

Area More Seasonal Following Weekend Events

December 18, 2017

Over the weekend, things started to look more like the holidays.

On Saturday, volunteers partnered with Wreaths Across America to lay wreaths on graves at the Armed Forces Retirement Home Cemetery.

… and on Sunday evening, neighbors in Kalorama decorated the lions on the southern side of Taft bridge on Connecticut Avenue.

You Can Support Holiday Wreaths at the Soldiers’ Home Cemetery

December 11, 2017

Recently, I learned about Wreaths Across America, which each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, participates by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,000 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad. The even this year is scheduled for Saturday, December 16th. Volunteers can participate in one of two ways. The first is by buying a wreath, which costs $15, to be placed on a veterans grave. The second is by volunteering to help place the wreaths at the cemeteries.

While the most well known cemetery is Arlington, there are many cemeteries that participate and many of them don’t have enough wreaths or volunteers to go around. One of those cemeteries  is at the Armed Forces Retirement Home (Volunteer or support a wreath here).

In checking out the details of the Soldiers’ Home wreath laying event, as of this this writing, there a total of 2,662 wreaths currently committed for 14,000 veteran graves. I think we can do better.

Details about the event is below and can also be found here.

Ceremony and Volunteer Information

Please join the young women of the DC metro area American Heritage Girls as we lay wreaths at US Soldiers’ & Airmen’s Home National Cemetery (DCSAHN) to honor and remember our deceased heroes. Please do not forget to register on the US Soldiers’ & Airmen’s Home National Cemetery (DCSAHN) to receive updates about the cemetery itself.

We will begin the ceremony at noon. Plan to arrive in time to park.  When you arrive, please gather around the flag pole for the ceremony.  Wreaths will be laid directly after the ceremony is over.

  • Everyone of all ages and backgrounds is welcome.
  • Ceremonies around the world will be starting at the same moment, so please be on time.
  • Please help ensure that all participants get the opportunity to place a wreath.
  • Please follow the instructions by volunteers on where to place wreaths, as well as “how” they should be placed.
  • We especially appreciate volunteers willing to help clean-up. Cleanup day will be in January.

The most important thing to remember is to have a wonderful experience participating in the ceremony and thank you so much for help Wreaths achieve our mission to remember, honor and teach.

Vintage Autos at the Soldiers’ Home

October 2, 2017

The weather on Sunday was fantastic, and I hope everyone had an opportunity to visit the Soldiers’ Home for the Fall Fun Fest. One of the events I particularly enjoyed was viewing the antique autos that were up near the Lincoln Cottage area. Below are a few of the cars that caught my eye.

Soldiers’ Home Spring Fling Scheduled for May 6th — Seeking Volunteers

April 11, 2017

The Friends of the Soldiers Home’s annual spring fling is scheduled for May 6th this year. It is a great event where you can enjoy the lower grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home. See the flyer below for more details.

Friends of the Soldiers Home is also seeking volunteers to help with the event. If you have some time to give, check out their Web site for details to volunteer.


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