sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 27, 2005

endangered places
posted by soe 1:57 pm

The D.C. Preservation League has released this year’s list of the most endangered places in the District:

  • Anacostia Historic District (550 buildings, bounded by Martin Luther King Jr., Avenue on the west, Good Hope Road on the north, Fendall Street and the rear of Frederick Douglass Home on the east, and Bangor Street and Morris Road on the south)
  • “Despite the presence of the National Park Service’s Frederick Douglass Home and the nearby Smithsonian Institution’s Anacostia Museum, the deteriorating buildings and blighted landscape stand as unfortunate witness to decades of disinvestment. There are a number of vacant lots and many buildings are in serious need of rehabilitation due to owners’ neglect and lack of financial resources. Furthermore, new development proposed for city-owned lots and the nearby waterfront is inconsistent with the historic nature of the area.”

  • South Capitol Street Corridor (Bounded by G St. to the north, the Anacostia River to the south, 2nd St., SE, and 2nd St., SW)
  • “Current Southeast redevelopment plans have few provisions for protecting the fragile historic buildings of this area and many have already been demolished. Only part of the area is slated for preservation.”

  • Battleground National Cemetery (6625 Georgia Ave., NW)
  • “Poor maintenance and lack of funding have led to severe deterioration of [one of the nation’s smallest national cemeteries]. The former superintendent’s lodge, based on General Montgomery Meigs’s prototype, was restored in the mid-1990s but is now closed. There is no onsite professional staff to monitor the condition of the cemetery and the only routine maintenance done is lawn mowing. The threats to the historic integrity of Battleground National Cemetery are increasing every year without adequate maintenance or restoration of the historic structures.”

  • Franklin School (13th and K streets, NW)
  • “Although the exterior of the building appears in good condition, the building is currently unoccupied and windows have been broken and boarded up. The building is unheated, which has contributed to the deterioration of the interior finishes including plaster and wood trim [the interior of the building is a designated landmark]. The lack of use and maintenance threatens the condition of currently well-preserved paintings on the third floor.”

  • Tregaron Estate (The Causeway) (3100 Macomb St., NW)
  • “The landscape has been allowed to deteriorate and [Ellen Biddle] Shipman’s design is barely recognizable. Development has threatened the green space of the estate a number of times. Most recently, the owners [Tregaron Development Corporation] have sought permits to begin construction of 16 new houses and to carve a new road through the sloping, grassy meadow, drastically altering the appearance of the site.”

  • Western Union Telegraph Company Building (4623 41st St., NW)
  • “In November 2003, the National Register of Historic Places formally determined the Western Union Telegraph Company Building eligible for listing but the tower [‘the nation’s only architect-designed building built solely as an antenna structure’] is still not locally listed and, therefore, is not protected by local preservation laws.”

The Common Denominator also lists Mount Vernon Triangle, Holt House, McMillan Reservoir Sand Filtration Site, and “what the league calls Washington’s ‘symbolic core,’ which includes the National Mall” as being endangered, although I find no mention of that on DCPL’s website.

And on the Watch List (sites not in imminent danger but that bear more scrutiny):

  • Benjamin Banneker Park, Banneker Circle (Southwest end of L’Enfant Promenade)
  • “A number of development proposals currently threaten the park, [the first public space in the city dedicated to an African American]. These have included its use as the location for the Smithsonian’s African American Museum, an underground parking garage, a Major League Baseball stadium, or a presidential memorial.

  • Harewood Estate (Harewood Rd., NE, north of Michigan Ave.)
  • DCPL does not state why this location is endangered other than to say that although the buildings remain in good condition, the property has recently been sold to Catholic University, which has not yet stated its plans for the property.

  • MLK, Jr., Memorial Library (901 G St., NW)
  • “Because of three decades of lack of preventive maintenance and system upgrades, and despite a concept plan for an extensive renovation that would cost half as much as a new building, the District government’s plans for the library are uncertain. Currently there is no immediate threat to the building. If the building were sold with no landmark protection a private owner would be able to tear the building down or modify it with no input from the community.”

  • The “New Southwest” (Along the waterfront)
  • “Residential developments are currently threatened by demolition and infill development, and residents are concerned about protecting the quality of life of Southwest Waterfront and Capitol Park by maintaining the character of living in an urban park-like setting.”

  • Uline Arena (Between 2nd and 3rd and L and M streets, NE)
  • From the 2003 list: “Currently, the building [home of the Beatles’ first American concert] is used as a trash transfer station. In 2002 a DC statute established a 500-foot buffer zone between a transfer station and the nearest residential property – more than twice the distance between the Uline site and the nearest residential property, according to public records.” From 2004: “DCPL nominated Uline Arena to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites in June 2003. The application is pending hearing by the Historic Preservaton Review Board.”

The Common Denominator also has St. Elizabeth’s Hospital on the watch list, although, again, I don’t find that on the DCPL website.

Category: dc life. There is/are 1 Comment.

Of course, it could just be that I’m slow. CD‘s info should be trusted since I, of course, was looking at 2004’s list. DCPL hasn’t yet updated their website to reflect 2005’s list.

Comment by soe 05.28.05 @ 11:50 pm