Washington, DC

by Prince Of Petworth March 16, 2018 at 2:15 pm 0

Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.

It’s now a desolate patch of land–a parking garage over a buried stretch of Interstate 395 waiting to be redeveloped. But the site at the northwest corner of 2nd and I Streets NW has an impressive history. Cresting a gentle hill, the view toward the Capitol from this spot once was commanding. This is where a stately row of three grand townhouses known as “Douglas Row” once stood. They were homes to senators, mayors, businessmen, Civil War generals, and even a U.S. president. They also served as a hospital during the Civil War and as an orphan asylum. But as the neighborhood declined in the 20th century, the prestige vanished. Tourists once stopped and read historical markers on these buildings, but one by one they were demolished. Now, nothing is left to mark this site’s remarkable past.


Late 1860s view of Douglas Row (author’s collection).

The first settler in this area was a Captain Samuel Burch, a prominent early Washingtonian who built a country house nearby in 1812. The area was known as “Burch’s Hill” for much of the 19th century as a result. But little else was here until 1851, when Stephen A. Douglas (1813-1861), the Illinois senator and famous rival of Abraham Lincoln known as the “Little Giant,” purchased two blocks of undeveloped land–the block where Douglas Row would be built as well as the one on the other (south) side of I Street. Other than Burch’s house, few structures had been built in this area; the roads had not even been graded or clearly marked. Though just a few blocks north of Massachusetts Avenue, this was unmistakably “country.” At the time, Douglas was entering his second term as senator from Illinois, and he must have seen this hilltop as a perfect, bucolic location, just outside of the city, to build “a comfortable and convenient temporary residence for himself and his family during his service in the Senate,” as he later explained. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth January 25, 2017 at 12:30 pm 18 Comments

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13th and K Street, NW

Ed. Note: You can see previous proposals here.

From a press release:

“Today the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) announced the selection of Ann B. Friedman and Dantes Partners to lead the redevelopment of the historic Franklin School, located at the intersection of 13th Street NW and K Street NW in Ward 2. Delivering on the Bowser Administration’s commitment to the creative economy, the proposed development will transform the historic space into Planet Word, an interactive language arts museum and education space.

Planet Word is a one-of-a-kind project that delivers on our promise to invest in the arts in the most innovative of ways,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian T. Kenner. “Developing the Franklin School into an interactive language center gives visitors and residents a unique learning experience, adds to the cultural fabric of our downtown, and is a great fit for the District’s growing creative economy.”

Planet Word’s mission is to inspire a love of words and language and increase literacy through a host of interactive exhibits and experiences. Along with the Mundolingua in Paris, Planet Word will be one of just a few fully-operational language museums globally. Initially inspired by MoMath, the National Museum of Mathematics in Manhattan, Ms. Friedman, with the support of her husband, Thomas L. Friedman, and a national board, has been developing plans for the museum for more than three years and is delighted to have found such an appropriate venue for the project and have the opportunity to restore the Franklin School to its former architectural glory. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth December 7, 2016 at 1:55 pm 87 Comments

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Ed. Note: You can read about the ongoing “McMillan Park” Lawsuit here.

From a press release:

“Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie, and Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) Brian Kenner broke ground on the McMillan Sand Filtration Site, a 25-acre development located at North Capitol Street and Michigan Avenue, NW in Ward 5. The transformative project is expected to create 6,200 jobs and 134 units of affordable housing and produce $1.2 billion in economic activity over 30 years. The groundbreaking represents the first activity at the site in nearly three decades.

“Today’s groundbreaking is the culmination of nearly 30 years of work to ensure the McMillan redevelopment will best serve the residents of Ward 5,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “When I took office, I committed to moving big projects forward so DC communities can benefit from the District’s growth and development. McMillan is proof of my administration’s unwavering commitment to getting more residents on pathways to the middle class by creating employment opportunities and affordable housing.”

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The $720-million redevelopment of McMillan is the product of a successful community-driven process led by Mayor Bowser. Throughout the planning process and the selection of the development team, the District and its partners convened over 200 workshops and community forums, ensuring residents had a voice in shaping the vision of their neighborhood. Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) will redevelop the site, which will feature: 12 acres of public, open and green space; an eight-acre park; a 17,000 square-foot community center with a pool; a full-service grocery store; restaurants and retail; 655 units of housing (134 affordable); and over one million square-feet of healthcare facility space. All 24 historic buildings and two underground cells will be preserved. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth November 7, 2016 at 10:02 pm 1 Comment

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From a press release:

“Thursday, Washington’s oldest synagogue, the historic 1876 Adas Israel Synagogue, began a two-step relocation process to its new home at Third and F streets, NW, the second time it has moved in its 140-year history. The new site will allow the Lillian and Albert Small Jewish Museum, run by the Jewish Historical Society of Greater Washington (JHS), to expand its facilities including exhibition and education spaces which will feature programmatic offerings that explore the heritage of the Washington-area Jewish community through the history of the region. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth October 13, 2016 at 4:04 pm 19 Comments

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Praying we see this tonight

From a press release:

“Due to the decision by WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld to keep Metro closed at its regular time tonight, the District of Columbia is stepping up to provide alternative transit options in preparation for game five of the National League Division Series between the Washington Nationals and the Los Angeles Dodgers and encouraging creative, resilient Nationals fans* to plan ahead for their return trips.

Below are transportation options from Nationals Park. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth December 29, 2015 at 4:00 pm 34 Comments

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This is going to be absolutely mind blowing when it’s completed:

“Capitol Crossing will be a multi-phase master-planned development located in Washington’s supply-constrained Central Business District that is bordered by Massachusetts Avenue to the north, E Street to the south, Third Street to the west and Second Street to the east.

The 247,000-square-foot site consists of a recessed portion of US I-395 that slices through the east side of the CBD, which is surrounded by a multitude of public transportation options.

The project will be built over the active highway utilizing a platform to support the development of an expected 2.2 million square-foot mixed-use project.

The development’s focus will be predominately office. It will also include a significant ground floor retail component, below-grade parking and a small component of residential use.”

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by Prince Of Petworth May 12, 2015 at 3:10 pm 34 Comments

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I-395 at 3rd and Massachusetts Ave, NW

From a press release:

“Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser joined Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton and Property Group Partners to break ground on Capitol Crossing, a $1.3 billion project in Ward 6 that will transform a seven-acre site surrounding the I-395 Center Leg Freeway into a cityscape that will span three blocks and reunite the East End and Capitol Hill communities in the District of Columbia.

“Capitol Crossing represents a major milestone for economic and neighborhood growth in the District of Columbia,” said Mayor Bowser. “I am excited to break ground on a project that will have a positive and lasting impact on our residents, bringing good paying jobs to the District, and helping to create more pathways to the middle class.”

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The development of Capitol Crossing is expected to create 4,000 construction jobs and 8,000 permanent jobs, all while dramatically improving the utility infrastructure supporting local neighborhoods. Once completed, annual new property tax revenue of $40 million is expected. Capitol Crossing will deliver almost 70,000 square feet of retail space, over 1,100 parking spaces, and 440 bicycle parking spaces. New I-395 entrance and exit ramps will improve traffic flows and make travel along Massachusetts Avenue safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Infrastructure will be upgraded for the surrounding neighborhoods. (more…)

by Prince Of Petworth December 16, 2014 at 1:20 pm 23 Comments

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A reader pleads:

“What in the world is going on with heavy road construction at 11pm in the middle of a heavily populated residential area [ Capitol Crossing at 3rd and Massachusetts Ave, NW]? Please post something about this so we can try to get this under control.”

Doesn’t seem like anything can be done:

Construction activities during this phase will generally occur during the following hours:

· Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 12 a.m.
· Saturday and Sunday work, scheduled only as needed, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.”

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