“The Old 1899 Post Office is a massive bulwark of the city’s historic charm. Without it, all that frozen bureaucracy on Pennsylvania Avenue would become unbearably oppressive. Besides, it was there first.”
— Wolf Von Eckardt
Over the last forty-five years, DCPL has sponsored more than 200 historic landmarks for nomination to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and engaged in hard-fought battles for numerous buildings across the District. In recent years, DCPL’s landmark nomination efforts have reflected a diverse assortment of building types and sites with cultural importance to a wide variety of groups. Recent landmark nominations, sponsored or co-sponsored by DCPL, have included the On Leong Tong Chinese Merchants’ Association Building in Chinatown, the Avalon Theatre in upper Northwest, the interior of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Furies Collective on Capitol Hill, the Mt. Vernon Triangle Historic District, and the west campus of Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast.
Another important landmark sponsored by DCPL was the Uline Arena (1931) in Northeast, the site of the Beatles’ legendary first concert in the United States in 1964. DCPL nominated the arena in 2003, and it received historic designation in 2006. Then in 2014, the arena became the site of a gala celebration sponsored by DCPL to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles concert. The “Beatlemania” event drew more than 2,700 attendees and garnered national and international press attention, significantly raising the profile for DCPL with arguably the most successful event in the organization’s history. The prominent role of DCPL in local preservation matters was highlighted in early 2016 when Executive Director Rebecca Miller was featured in a cover story for The Washington Business Journal entitled, “The Practical Preservationist.”
DCPL has long valued its relationship with the District’s Historic Preservation Office. One key ongoing partnership involves the pass-through of National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund grants to survey neighborhoods and conduct thematic studies of building types such as banks, warehouses, apartment buildings, firehouses, and office buildings. Among the areas DCPL has surveyed, or administered surveys for the Strivers Section, 16th Street, Columbia Heights, and the 14th Street commercial district. Another important collaboration with HPO has led to a series of brochures that chronicle the social, cultural, and architectural history of Washington’s historic districts. To date, DCPL has produced brochures for Cleveland Park, 16th Street, Striver’s Section, Sheridan-Kalorama, Kalorama Triangle, Logan Circle, Greater U Street, Foggy Bottom, Mt. Vernon Triangle, and the 14th Street commercial district. More recently, the HPO and DCPL are working in partnership to diversify the DC Inventory of Historic Sites through documentation and historic landmark designation to include the history of all Washingtonians.