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Then and Now by the House History Man – Grand United Order of Odd Fellows (GUOOF) Building


9th and T Streets, NW

Then and Now by the House History Man is a series by Paul K. Williams. Paul has been researching house histories in DC since 1995, having completed more than 1,500 to date. Read Paul’s previous post here.


9th and T Streets, NW in 1934

Located on the southeast corner of 9th and T Streets, NW is the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows (GUOOF) Building, which was draped with electric lights in 1934, just two years after its opening. The occasion was the 26th meeting of the GDOOF convention, held in August of that year. Local noted African American photographer Addison Scurlock took the dramatic image at night. The GUOOF was founded in 1843 as a separate, black organization from the white only Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

The building was designed by African-American architect Albert I. Cassell, and construction began in January of 1932. The building featured an auditorium among its 30,000 square feet of space, and was built at a cost of $150,000 during the height of the Great Depression. In 2001, the then abandoned building was completely renovated and turned into the Maya Angelou Public Charter School. It went on the market in 2011 for an asking price of $9.5 million.

(Vintage Photographs courtesy of Scurlock Studio Records, ca. 1905-1994, Archives Center, National Museum of American History)

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