It's our Anniversary!
Former Architecture Critic,
The Washington Post
In 1971, Alison Owings, a news writer and producer for WRC, was distressed about the steady destruction of Washington’s historic buildings. She wrote about losing her sense of history and place through the gradual loss of the historic cityscape. Owings felt a sense of urgency, a sense that the time had come to look at the city in a new way. Historic preservation efforts had been mounted in Washington before, but there was no organized movement to curtail the pervasive destruction that Owings observed. Encouraged by Washington Post architecture critic Wolf Von Eckardt, Owings decided that an advocacy group was needed, and she came up with a catchy name, “Don’t Tear It Down,” which legendary New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable praised for its “wonderful, direct, hortatory explicitness in a time of cheesy euphemisms.”
On April 19, 1971, during the second annual Earth Week, activists marched from National Trust headquarters to the Old Post Office to join an enthusiastic crowd of about 250 placard-carrying preservationists, historians, planners, architects, and residents. It was Don’t Tear It Down’s first street action and received tremendous publicity. Read more…
50th Anniversary Themes
As the organization enters its 50th Anniversary, the board of trustees, staff, and volunteers continue to strive to preserve Washington’s sense of place and work to save many of the unique places and spaces that define the capital city. Washington’s historic character is one of its greatest assets and a vital component of local economic development and neighborhood livability.
To that end, DCPL has committed to three overarching themes for its 50th Anniversary. In addition, each month of the anniversary year will highlight different built resources across all 8 Wards of the city.
Diverse Stories: Honoring DC's Cultural Diversity through Historic Preservation
Programs will highlight DCPL's projects that identify and/or preserve historic resources related to communities historically underrepresented in the DC Inventory of Historic Places - such as African Americans, Women, and LGBTQIA + individuals.
Sustainability: Combating the Climate Crisis with
Buildings account for 75% of greenhouse gas emissions in DC. There is no path to a carbon-free future without rapidly and comprehensively transforming DC’s building sector. DCPL is prepared to do its part promoting historic preservation as a necessary component of DC’s Climate Action Plan to combat the climate crisis.
as a Tool for
Programs will highlight how the DC Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978 has influenced DC's planning over the last four decades and investigate how historic preservation can influence the future of urban planning.
Most Endangered Places
Parks and Gardens
Restaurants and Bars
East of the River
Along the River and
Rowhouses and Alleys
Schools and Universities
Monuments and Memorials
50th Anniversary Honorary Committee
David Bonderman ● Alison Owings ● Leila Smith
Carol Bickley Aten ● John Bellingham, FRICS, FCIOB, FAIC, C Env. ● Sally Berk
Ward Bucher, AIA ● Richard Busch ● Sean Cahill ● William Canis ● Edwin Fountain, Esq.
Karen Gordon ● Gerard Heiber ● Alison K. Hoagland ● Elizabeth Merritt
Thornell Page ● Francine Raizes ● John Sandor ● James A. Smailes, P.E. ● Chuck Wagner
Scott DeMartino, President ● Fay Armstrong, Vice President
Melissa Cohen, AIA, LEED AP, Secretary ● Howard Berger, Treasurer
Amy Ballard ● Philip Brault, LEED AP BD+C ● M. Jesse Carlson, Esq.
Matthew J. Daw, PE, LEED AP ● John DeFerrari ● Greta Fuller ● Hany Hassan, FAIA
Rob McClennan, AIA ● D. Peter Sefton ● Joseph E. Taylor, AIA
Benjamin L. Williams, Esq. ● Jason T. Young ● Juliet Zucker
View the full list of past trustees and staff!
* As of 4/18/2021