Posted tagged ‘historic landmarks’

Restoration of Park View Playground Field House Begins

April 15, 2015

The work to renovate the historic Park View playground field house began on Monday, April 13, 2015, after the contract with KADCON was finalized at the end of March. The work that began on Monday encompasses hazardous abatement which will continue until April 24. Demolition work is scheduled to begin on April 27th. The entire project is aiming for a completion date of July 31st, 2015.

Park View field house

Landmark Nomination Filed for Columbia Heights’ Kelsey Temple Church of God in Christ

February 12, 2015
Drawing of the Columbia Heights Christian Church ca. 1920.

Drawing of the Columbia Heights Christian Church ca. 1920.

Earlier this week, the Historic Preservation Office sent notice that the D.C. Preservation League has filed a landmark nomination for the Kelsey Temple Church of God in Christ, which is located at 1435-37 Park Road in Columbia Heights. The building was constructed in 1921 for the Columbia Heights Christian Church, which remained there until they sold the building to the Kelsey Temple COGIC in 1958.

You can read the entire nomination here, which provides a more in-depth history of both congregations that have called this building home.



Park View Christian Church (aka New Commandment Baptist) Officially on the National Register

January 14, 2015
The Park View Christian Church photographed ca. 1920 (Image from Library of Congress).

The Park View Christian Church photographed ca. 1920 (Image from Library of Congress).

The old Park View Christian Church located at 625 Park Road was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Placed on December 29, 2014. A very brief history of the church was included in a March 2014 post along with two other landmark application announcements that you can read here.

The overall plan for the church property as of July 2014 is to incorporate the structure into a condo development that will have a total of 38 living units. The majority of the development will be on the adjoining parking lot which is currently vacant. The image below provides and idea of what that project will look like.

Perspective 1 625 Park Road(Rendering of 625 Park Road project by Arcadia Design)

Park View Field House Renovations On Track for January

December 9, 2014
Field house at the Park View Rec Center in 2009.

Field house at the Park View Rec Center in 2009.

Here’s a brief update on where things stand with renovating the field house at the Park View Recreation Center. At this time:

  1. The construction drawings are 100% complete and have been submitted and approved by the Historic Preservation Office;
  2. The same construction drawings are currently being reviewed by DCRA so a building construction permit can be issued. It is anticipated that the permit will be issued anytime now;
  3. The RFP (request for proposal) was issued by the procurement office and a pre-proposal conference was held last week;
  4. A site walkthrough with interested bidders was held this past Friday (December 5);
  5. Contractor’s bids will be due on December 18th;
  6. Once bids are submitted, they will be reviewed and a contractor will be selected. The goal is to have a contractor on board by early January so the renovation can being mid to late January; and,
  7. A hazardous material survey will be performed while the building permit is under review and the contractor procurement is finalized.

This is all very promising, and I will continue to report progress as more details are known.

Bruce and Wilson Normal Schools Achieve Landmark Status

November 21, 2014

Bruce School 1900(The Blanche Kelso Bruce School, ca. 1900)

Yesterday, November 20, 2014, two landmark nominations, authored by me, were considered by the Historic Preservation Review Board and approved.

Both the former Blanche Kelso Bruce School and the James Ormond Wilson Normal School buildings were added to the D.C. Inventory of Historic Structures when the Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously in support of the nominations. Both schools currently house charter schools. The Bruce school building, at 770 Kenyon Street, NW, is currently the home of Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy, Chavez Prep Campus, and the Wilson Normal school currently houses the Carlos Rosario School.

For those wanting to learn more about these buildings, the Historic Preservation Office’s staff reports provides a concise overview.

The staff report for the Bruce school concludes (read full report here):

The principal significance of the school is as an educational facility, serving generations of African-American elementary students during the era of segregated schools. Like other neighborhood schools, it grew out of and grew up with the community, serving as a community center in all senses.

The building is significant as well as a great example of one subtype of school, a product of the “Architects in Private Practice” era of 1897 to 1910, as described in the Multiple Property Documentation Form Public School Buildings of Washington, 1862-1960. It also stands as an interesting application of Albert Harris’s extensible school design as an addition.

The staff report for the Wilson Normal school states (read full report here):

The property retains excellent historic integrity, including its original lunch-room ell, its chimneys, etc. It has the expected alterations and repairs for a building a century old, such as window replacements. Its appearance has changed with some entry features erected for the present occupant, a charter school, but these alterations are ultimately reversible.

The nomination proposes a period of significance from 1912, the principal year of construction, to 1987, when the school was vacated by the teachers school, which had been merged into the University of the District of Columbia beginning in 1978. While 1987 is a pretty recent date to be considered historic, such a terminal date has few implications for the preservation treatment of the building exterior, given its remarkable preservation from a century ago. Further, if the continuity of Wilson Normal including its mergers into more modern institutions is important, then recognizing this entire span is reasonable.

Both nominations will be forwarded to the National Park Service for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.

Details on the Park View Field House Renovation Project

October 1, 2014
The field house at the Park View playground as it neared completion on September 8, 1932

The field house at the Park View playground as it neared completion on September 8, 1932

Late yesterday, I received a list from the Department of Parks and Recreation that gives some insight into where things stand with the planned renovations to the historic field house at the Park View Recreation Center, as well as the scope of work that is to be undertaken.

Preserving, renovating, and putting the field house back into community use has been among my community priorities. I believe that restoring the structure and having it available for community use continues the progress we have already seen at Park View Recreation, and makes the playground much more flexible in supporting multiple groups using the center.

Funds to renovate the field house were a result of my testimoney on March 29, 2013, at the DPR Budget hearings.  Councilmember Graham briefly attended the hearing to lend his support for continuing the work already begun at Park View and announced the appropriation of $400,000 to renovate the structure on May 8, 2013.

Below is a list of what to expect with the Park View field house renovation in the coming months.

  • Queen Quinn Evans Architects has been retained to develop construction drawings for the renovation;
  • Queen Quinn Evans, DGS, DPR and HPO have been in communication in an effort to coordinate historical architectural details to make sure they are properly incorporated in the drawings;
  • Once drawings are complete, they will need to be submitted  to HPO for review and approval. It is anticipated that drawings will be submitted to HPO by late October;
  • The general scope of the work will consist of:
    • the removal of the porch enclosure to restore building’s historic integrity;
    • Restoration of exterior windows and doors;
    • Restoration of exterior brick;
    • Relocation of mechanical and electrical closets;
    • A new ADA compliant restroom;
    • Replacement of the roof;
    • Restoration of the interior stair case; and,
    • Installation of new finishes such as flooring, walls, light fixtures, etc
  • Upon HPOs approval, DGS will bid out the construction work to a general contractor for the construction and restoration.

I’m very excited about this and will share additional information as it becomes available.

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

September 11, 2014

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

Next Community Meeting for 1125 Spring Road Development on September 9th

September 3, 2014

The next community meeting focused on the redevelopment of the former Hebrew Home for the Aged at 1125 Spring Road and the neighboring Robeson School building is scheduled for September 9th.

The announcement from the Department of General Services is below:

The Department of General Services (DGS) and DC Housing Authority (DCHA)  invites you to attend a follow-up community meeting for the proposed redevelopment of 1125 Spring Road and The Robeson School.

Representatives from DGS and DCHA will provide an update on the proposed housing programs being considered for development based on the feedback we received from residents.  Meeting details are below:

Where: Raymond Recreation Center – 3725 10th Street
Date: September 9, 2014
Time: 6:30-8 p.m.

1125 Spring Road flyer

Update on 625 Park Road Project (Former New Commandment Baptist Church)

July 18, 2014

A lot has been happening on moving the redevelopment of the church property on Park Road along lately. Since the last time I posted about this in June, the Historic Preservation Review Board has considered the landmark nomination (staff report here) and voted unanimously to add the building to the inventory of historic structures at their June 26th meeting. In saving the building and adding it to the redevelopment mix, this triggered a request by the owner for some zoning variances, which ANC 1A considered at their July meeting and voted to support unanimously.

The next steps will be for the Board of Zoning Adjustment to consider the variance requests and the and the Historic Preservation Review Board to review the proposed design, both of which are scheduled for the week of July 21st. Should everything remain on track, the path will be clear for building permits to be issues and the project to move forward. When completed, the new building will include as many as 31 living units.

I’ll post a follow up after the BZA and HPRB meetings next week. You can review the overall plan being considered here.

Update & Survery on Plan to Redevelop Old Hebrew Home Property

July 8, 2014

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

The Department of General Services sent out an email on the evening of July 7th as a follow up to the surplus process for the Old Hebrew Home property. The message (in its entirety below), informed recipients that DGS has posted the Surplus Hearing presentation from June 17, the Meeting Minutes, and a copy of the Sign-In Sheet on their Web site, available here:

Equally important as a follow up from the meeting, DGS has also created a survey to get resident input on what should happen to the property, available here:

The survey ends at the close of business on July 18th, so please share broadly and quickly. It asks which ward you live in, which neighborhood you identify with, and then gives several definitions of types of affordable housing and asks participants to select how much they would like at 1125 Spring Road.

In related news, and not mentioned in the email below, the DC Housing Authority issued an RFP on July 2nd with a closing date of July 9th seeking Real Estate Legal Services in relation to  potential development of 1125 Spring Road. The property is still owned by the District of Columbia and will need to get Council approval prior to being officially surplussed. This likely won’t happen until Fall as the Council will begin a two month summer recess starting July 15, 2014.

Below is the full email from DGS:

Dear 1125 Spring Road Community, 

Thank you for attending our, The Department of General Services (DGS) and DC Housing Authority (DCHA),  community meeting  concerning the redevelop of the 1125 Spring Road site. The Surplus Hearing was held on Tuesday, June 17, 2014 and was the first step in the disposition process which allowed us engage residents and to receive public comments.  

We understand there are a number of concerns referencing this project to include the appropriate mix of income levels to include in this project.  It is important to note that once the surplus of the Hebrew Nursing Home and the Paul Robeson School is completed, the site will be made available for DCHA to develop.  

At this time, a Housing Development comprised of mixed income levels that include Workforce Development, Permanent Supportive, and likely Market Rate Housing as well as senior housing is being considered. The exact mix of housing has yet to be determined. As the project continues to develop there will be future opportunities for community members to provide additional input.


In the interim, DGS has developed a survey to gather residents feedback on the percentage of  mix income housing units residents would prefer be developed at the site.   We ask that you take the survey by the cob Friday, July 18, 2014 and please feel free to share this link with your family and neighbors

We have also posted on our DGS website the Surplus Hearing presentation from June 17, Meeting Minutes and a copy of the Sign-In Sheet.


We continue to encourage constituents in both Wards 4 + 1 to forward any concerns they may have regarding this project to our attention.  


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