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2018 Annual Membership Meeting and Reception
October 11 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
The Board of Trustees and Staff
DC Preservation League
invite you to attend the
Annual Membership Meeting
Thursday, October 11, 2018
Asbury United Methodist Church
926 11th Street, NW
The Moxy Hotel
1011 K Street, NW
Free to DCPL Members | Non-Members: $55
(Fee includes one-year individual membership)
Space is limited! Registration is required.
Click here to register for the 2018 Annual Membership Meeting
Asbury United Methodist Church reflects important themes in the city’s social history including abolition, emancipation, reconstruction, and the civil rights movement. It is the city’s oldest African-American church to remain on its original site. Early historical records show the congregation’s efforts to strive for independence from white-controlled church leadership. Asbury was established in 1836 as the Asbury Aid Society by black parishioners from Foundry Methodist Church (an integrated congregation established 1814) and gained official recognition in 1845. Finally in 1869, Asbury was dedicated as an independent pastorate, named for Methodist evangelist Bishop Francis Asbury (originally Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church).
The church was active in providing educational and missionary assistance after the Civil War. Notable pastors have included J.E.W. Bowen, Matthew W. Clair (promoter of Asbury as the “National Church of Negro Methodism”). Notable congregants have included Mary Church Terrell, Mary McLeod Bethune, among others. Additionally, the city’s first desegregated apartments were established by the church in 1947.
The church was built 1915-16 and designed by Clarence L. Harding. It is built in the Gothic Revival style and made of granite and limestone with a prominent corner tower, buttresses, and stained glass windows.
For years, the northeast corner of 11th and K Streets, NW, was a bit of a mystery. An old Victorian house with a turret poked above a large fabric billboard that cloaked the buildings in gigantic advertisements for cellphones and sports coupes.
Concerned about this isolated vestige of Gilded Age downtown, in 2008 DCPL began unwrapping the mystery building’s secrets as the property was researched and a landmark nomination was prepared. The property turned out to be an ensemble of three houses, arranged around a turreted central dwelling. Together they suggested the picturesque mansions that once lined K Street and made it “the Park Avenue of Washington.” Even with extensive research, the row of houses has kept some of its secrets. Although the row was built in 1878, the architect remains a mystery.
The row’s residents included General Harrison Allen, a Pennsylvanian who led his brigade of volunteers in pursuit of Lee’s forces retreating from Gettysburg and later chased horse thieves and stagecoach robbers across the Dakota Territory plains as a United States Marshall. William Henry Burr (1819-1908) was Washington’s leading “Skeptic.” He was called “America’s foremost literary detective” for his crusade to prove that the Earl of Essex had authored Shakespeare’s plays, but his most scandalous writings asserted that much of the Bible had been forged in the Middle Ages and that purported divine revelations were rife with contradiction.
By the 1920s, fashionable K Street houses were pulled down as the broad residential avenue gave way to commercial interests. After the purchase of the long-vacant row by Douglas Development, DCPL staff and board members went on a “behind-the-billboard” tour, and it became clear that the property’s deterioration was severe and that long-hidden sections of the façade had been extensively altered. Happily, an agreement was reached through which the owner agreed to restore the row’s intact elements and incorporate them in a new project, and DCPL withdrew its landmark nomination. Plans for a new building and the preservation of the historic facades were then reviewed and approved by the DCPL Project Review Committee.
Today, the three Victorian housefronts, formerly known as 1015 and 1017 K and 1101 11th Street NW, are a signature element of the soon-to-open Moxy Hotel and serve as an example of a creative approach to historic preservation.