Beyond the Boundaries—whose mission it is to assist neighborhoods outside the Capitol Hill Historic District with their historic preservation efforts
Call to Members for Greater Capitol Hill History Information
CHRS has contracted with EHT Traceries for preparation of a context study of greater Capitol Hill*– the areas just outside the Capitol Hill Historic District. The context study is a companion to the individual building survey completed last year. It will analyze all the existing historic information, including the database and research findings from the recent study, together with additional new research as needed, to create the complete development story for greater Capitol Hill.
The end product will be a “…statement context and background history, with a defined theme, geographic parameters, and temporal limits. The study will develop a theme or area(s) of significance, determining if the significance is local/state and/or national, and identify the associated property types. It is anticipated this historic context study will serve as the necessary documentation for a National Register nomination, if desired in the future. Recommendations will attempt to define the applicable National Register Criteria and identify boundaries for expanding the existing Capitol Hill Historic District and/or creating additional historic district(s). An annotated bibliography will be prepared. The study will include images such as maps, historic images, and current pictures as necessary.”
If you either live in greater Capitol Hill, or just have historic information about it, please contribute your historic photos, articles, or stories to the study to help ensure that we have the most comprehensive document possible.
You can send information electronically to: firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail or drop off hard copies to our office at: 420 10th Street, S.E. (basement) until December 31st. (You can call Gloria at 543-0425 for drop off arrangements.)
*The study boundaries are approximately H Street/Benning Road to the north; SE/SW Freeway to the south; 2nd Street, N.E. to the west, and 19th Street and the Anacostia River to the east.
April 2008: CHRS has reconsidered its acceptance of financial assistance for our Beyond the Boundaries survey effort from the Trust for Architectural Easements. We will instead fund the work through our usual fundraising efforts, so as not to give the appearance of endorsing either the preservation easement program or any specific easementgranting organization.
by Donna Hanousek
CHRS would like to thank the volunteers who have submitted their survey forms and/or photos as part of the effort to survey northeast and southeast of the Capitol Hill Historic District. Just in case you haven’t heard, CHRS is working with the ANCs 6A and 6B to survey the buildings outside the Capitol Hill Historic District. Architectural historians from the firm Traceries will undertake the archival survey work (like assembling building permits) and will create an informational database on the buildings. We’ve had volunteers performing the on-site survey work, which provides detailed descriptions of each building, along with a photograph.
Thanks to all of our dedicated survey and photography volunteers— Larry Janezich, Bryan Cassidy, Jeff Davis, Pat Taylor, Mark Williams, Sam Manivong, Elizabeth Nelson, David Holmes, and Gary Peterson—who have met the requested March deadline. We also give special thanks to a trio of talented architectural historians from the Trust for Architectural Easements—Heather Massler, Cathy Sellers, and Jennifer Brennan—who provided both volunteer survey and photographic assistance to our effort. For those of you have not yet turned in your assignments—we hope to be thanking you next month!
by Donna Hanousek, Chair, Beyond the Boundaries
The Capitol Hill Restoration Society, in partnership with Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 6A and 6B, is starting to survey the historic resources in neighborhoods both north and east of the Capitol Hill Historic District. On Saturday, November 17th, EHT Traceries, a firm that will provide architectural historian consulting services to the survey effort, conducted a training session for survey volunteers. The volunteers, many of whom live in the survey areas, will be performing on-site survey work and photography. Now what exactly is an historic survey, and what can it be used for? The following is a brief explanation.
Survey. Historic surveys are major research projects that document the buildings and development pattern of an area. A survey encompasses research at both the neighborhood and individual building levels. Survey at the building level includes two primary components: archival research (featured in the April 2007 CHRS News article on House History) and on-site survey. On-site Survey. On-site survey creates a current record of the building stock. The surveyor records basic building information for each building within the survey area. The volunteers will be using a survey form tailored to Washington, DC, by Traceries. The one-page form begins with the most basic information, such as address, lot and square, number of stories, number of bays, and style. It captures a wealth of information: building form, construction, and material; foundation type; roof form and material; window type, material, and number of lights (glass panes); chimney type and material; and information on dormers, porches, outbuildings, and additions, where applicable.
Survey volunteers will also take digital shots of each building head-on. These photos will provide a building inventory and serve to confirm survey form information.
Survey Results. Traceries’ staff will review the survey forms and photographs submitted by the volunteers. They will resolve any questions or inconsistencies, add archival information (such as the names of the builders and architects), and enter the complete building record into a database. The database will be made widely available to the community. It can be used to inform renovation projects, provide material for call box projects, or for brochures on neighborhood builders, architects, or architecture. It will also provide a foundation for the next level of survey, which will be a detailed context statement on the overall neighborhood development.
The context statement shifts the research focus from the individual buildings to the larger neighborhood, and will augment the building database with information on people, events, and institutions from the past. The complete research results can be analyzed and woven together to chronicle the neighborhood’s development in the context of the overall development pattern of Washington, DC. This comprehensive documentation can serve as a neighborhood archive, as well as provide the basis for either individual landmark or historic district applications, should a building owner or the neighborhood, respectively, wish to pursue any such designation.Back to the top of the page
October 2007 CHRS News
by Donna Hanousek
At the end of September, ANC 6B nominated the Barney Circle Historic District to the DC Inventory of Historic Places. The nomination project originated with the Barney Circle Neighborhood Watch Association. A team, consisting of Beth Purcell (author) and Reuben Hameed and Antonette Russell (outreach leaders), worked for over a year to prepare the documentation and generate neighborhood support. Reuben (preservation architect) and Antonette (former ANC Commissioner for Barney Circle) moved off the Hill recently, but the Barney Circle Historic District will be a lasting legacy of their community involvement.
The CHRS Beyond the Boundaries Subcommittee provided photographic and editing support to the project. DC Preservation League (DCPL), the city-wide organization dedicated to preserving Washington’s historic environment, also supported the effort. This past spring, the Barney Circle Neighborhood Watch Association and ANC Commissioner Will Hill teamed up with CHRS to nominate Hill East to the DC Preservation League’s Most Endangered List. Last year, and in 2003, DCPL featured Hill East in its special Row House Month tours. Because of DCPL, Hill East is recognized city-wide as a neighborhood worth preserving.
If accepted for local designation as an historic district by the DC Historic Preservation Review Board, the neighborhood will be able to ensure that new development and building alterations are compatible with the existing building stock, and that the green spaces, so much a defining feature of Hill East, are not paved over. The nomination of the Barney Circle Historic District is a step toward gaining protection for the larger neighborhood.
Beyond the Boundaries
by Donna Hanousek
One of the CHRS Board’s newest and most exciting projects is working on historic preservation efforts with neighborhood groups who are just outside the historic district.
This past spring, CHRS arranged for a Preservation Café on House History, which was of particular interest to those outside of the historic district who wished to conduct research on their buildings. CHRS also published a detailed introduction to building history in the May issue of the Hill Rag, entitled “Dating Your Old Building.”
In the southeast, CHRS worked with the Barney Circle Neighborhood Association and Will Hill to nominate the Hill East neighborhood the D.C. Preservation League’s (DCPL) Most Endangered List. On May 31, 2007, DCPL included to its endangered list for 2007, “Undesignated Row House Neighborhoods,” as represented by Columbia Heights, Eckington, and Hill East. A short write up on and photo of Hill East appears on the DCPL website and will appear in many “Most Endangered” press pieces. The DCPL is committed to work with the Barney Circle Neighborhood Association, CHRS, and the ANC 6B on outreach efforts within the community on the benefits of historic district designation. CHRS is also supporting the effort by the Barney Circle Watch Neighborhood Association in preparing the historic district nomination, and will help coordinate product review and arrange for co-sponsorships that will strengthen the nominations.
In the northeast, CHRS assisted with arranging for DC Historic Preservation Staff and materials to be available for a series of meetings that ANC 6C and 6A subcommittees held jointly to discuss historic preservation. The end result was agreement by ANC 6C to support a survey effort to document the historic resources in their neighborhood; it is anticipated that ANC 6A will also vote to support a survey effort at its June meeting. Over the summer and into the fall, CHRS will assist in developing the scope of work and budget for the project, soliciting the bids, and negotiating the contracts with the consultant for the work.
Looking ahead, for both northeast and southeast, CHRS is working on a mapping project that will show when the areas outside the historic district were developed. The resulting product will be a visual aid that will be useful in researching any neighborhoods outside the historic district and will help to understanding the development patterns of greater Capitol Hill. In addition, for the first time, CHRS intends to focus on buildings that are beyond the boundaries of the Capitol Hill Historic District for next year’s house tour—stay tuned to our web site (CHRS.org) and the Hill Rag for more details later this year. Finally, CHRS has proposed a panel session on the “Development Patterns Beyond the Boundaries of Capitol Hill” for the D.C. Historical Studies Conference to be held in early November—if this session is accepted, we will post the details to our web site soon.
For more information, contact Donna Hanousek at email@example.com.
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