Capitol Hill Restoration Society

March 2024 NCSHPO Tours

Posted on March 26th, 2024

Guided walking tours for the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers

Joanna Kendig and Beth Purcell 

The National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) again asked CHRS to offer walking tours of Capitol Hill, as part of their annual meeting held during National Historic Preservation Advocacy week. NCSHPO is a nonprofit organization whose members are the State government officials (including the DC SHPO) and their staff who carry out the national historic preservation program as delegates of the Secretary of the Interior pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended). CHRS led them on two tours on March 5, 2024.  

On the Parks Tour, Joanna Kendig took the attendees back in time to the creation of Washington in the 1800s, focusing on the development in a small section of the city between Marion and Garfield Parks. Tour stops included notable buildings: a historically Black church, three school buildings, and a story of a “ghost” hospital, long since demolished.  Next was Square 735 with thirty-two grand Queen Anne row houses built in the 1890s by developer John Waggman, followed by more houses completing the development a mere ten years later.  A short walk further took the group to a one-block street, Duddington Place, with its story of development and ties to a family of original landowners in what became Washington, DC.  The tour ended overlooking the green lawns and kids playing in Garfield Park with a view to the highway and new apartment buildings to the south.

Beth Purcell led them on a tour focusing on the history of the Washington Navy Yard and the community that grew up around it.  They saw the Latrobe Gate, learned about the British invasion in 1814 and about Black and White Navy Yard workers (carpenters, blacksmiths, and caulkers), and their role in DC history, including the Snow Riot.  Free Black workers built and owned homes and founded a school for Black children.   They saw early buildings such as 715 8th Street, SE and John Philips Sousa’s birthplace at 636 G Street, SE and The Maples, a fine example of Georgian architecture. If this tour sounds interesting, sign up for the CHRS walking tour “Civil War and Before,” next time it’s offered.