Capitol Hill Historic District Could Expand Near Union Station

by Andrea Swalec January 2, 2015 at 3:05 pm 0

Proposed Swampoodle Addition to the Capitol Hill Historic District. The black lines indicate the proposed addition. The red lines show the existing district. (Image via D.C. Historic Preservation Office)

The northern boundary of the Capitol Hill Historic District could be extended to include more homes east of Union Station and south of H Street NE.

ANC 6C has filed an application to expand the historic district to include the two entire blocks from 2nd to 4th streets NE and F to G streets NE, plus parts of the two blocks just north of there.

D.C. Historic Preservation Office records show that ANC 6C filed for the expansion — officially known as the Swampoodle Addition to the Capitol Hill Historic District — because buildings within the proposed boundaries share characteristics of landmarked buildings further south.

“The late 19th- and early 20th-century rowhouse architecture found within these four squares is consistent with that found within the current Capitol Hill Historic District and many buildings shared the same owners, builders and architects,” the 54-page application says.

The document was prepared by Maria Dayton and Laura Trieschmann of the architectural history firm EHT Traceries, Inc., the same company that presented a proposal earlier this year to create a much larger historic district to the north and east of the current zone.

Many locals panned that proposal, saying they don’t want additional restrictions on their homes, and that EHT and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society, which commissioned the study, made an insufficient case for the designation.

The proposed Swampoodle addition to the historic district includes 170 buildings deemed “contributing” because of their architectural features. Another 18 non-contributing buildings fall within the boundaries. These blocks are mostly occupied by rowhouses in the Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Classical Revival and Romanesque Revival styles, the application says.

The application included information on the delightfully odd name Swampoodle.

“Roughly bounded by 1st Street, NW on the west, 2nd Street, NE on the east and K and G streets on the north and south, Swampoodle owed its name to a reporter, who in 1859 while covering the dedication of the St. Aloysius Catholic Church at North Capitol and I streets, NE, referred to the area as “being dotted with ‘swamps’ and ‘puddles.’

“Adapting these two words, the name Swampoodle was irrevocably attached to this area well into the 20th century. Home to working-class laborers and immigrants, primarily Irish, Swampoodle obtained a reputation as being gang-ridden and downtrodden.”

A public hearing regarding the expansion will be scheduled by the Historic Preservation Review Board, the HPO said in a statement issued today (Friday).

Image via D.C. Historic Preservation Office


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