Capitol Hill Restoration Society

Hidden Alleyways of Capitol Hill – Preservation Cafe

Posted on April 22nd, 2024

Trinidad Boys Club

Kim Prothro Williams presented a free, virtual Preservation Café “Hidden Alleyways of Capitol Hill,” April 23, 2024. She is the author of “Hidden Alleyways of DC: A History,” published by Georgetown University Press and available at East City Bookshop.
The presentation was recorded. Want to learn more about alleys? Sign up for a tour.

One-storey Stable

Washington’s alleyways have always been a fundamental part of the city’s life and economy. Deliberately hidden from public view by the capital’s early planners, DC’s alleys were created to provide access to stables, carriage houses, and other utility buildings. But as the city grew and property values rose, the nature of some alleys and their buildings changed, resulting in a parallel world of residential, manufacturing, and artistic spaces.

Alley Clearance 1914

Kim Prothro Williams’s presentation was heavily illustrated with historical maps and photos, showing the social and physical history of the city’s alleys and their buildings. Williams is an architectural historian and serves as the national register coordinator for the D.C. Historic Preservation Office. She studies local history, neighborhoods and urban planning history in and around the District. She is also the author of several books, including her most recent one, Hidden Alleyways of Washington, DC, the subject of our presentation.

Our CHRS Preservation Cafés are free to both CHRS members and non members.


Gessford Court SE

Georgetown Autobarn