Archive for April 22, 2009

Then and Now: Dolly Madison House

Posted in Downtown, Lafayette Square, Then and Now on April 22, 2009 by Kent

cosmos-club-ca-1920Then: ca. 1920, the Cosmos Club. It moved to Lafayette Square in 1882. Eventually, the Club occupied the Tayloe and Dolley Madison Houses on the eastern side of the Square, and razed two rowhouses between them for additional space. Prompted to relocate by the federal government, the Club moved to its present location in the Townsend House in 1952.

Federal Judicial CenterNow: The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The court occupies the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building, the Tayloe House, the former Cosmos Club, and the Dolley Madison House.


Masonic Temple, 910 F Street, NW

Posted in Cluss, Adolph (1825-1905) on April 22, 2009 by Kent

masonic templeThe former Masonic Temple on F Street is one of Washington’s remaining buildings by Adolf Cluss. A website that focuses on Cluss and his architecture contains the following information on the building:

Designed in an Italian palazzo style by Adolf Cluss and Joseph Wildrich von Kammerhueber in 1867, the four-story Masonic Temple with its multicolored sandstone façade adorned with Masonic symbols still stands at Ninth and F streets NW. Cluss had joined LaFayette Lodge No. 19 of the Masons in November 1864. Work began in June 1867. The Evening Star reported that “The building committee, judging from the massive foundations (three feet in thickness) being laid, are determined on erecting a building which will stand for ages.” Cluss’s original drawing shows a fifth floor that was never built because, Cluss explained many years later, of lack of funds. The Masonic Temple cost $100,000, much of which was raised through the sale of stock. Cluss himself still owned shares worth $4,100 at the time of his death in 1905. The income from first-floor shops and from the second-floor grand ballroom rentals provided dividends for stockholders. Throughout the remainder of the 19th century, the ballroom was the scene of many of the city’s most important social events.

The building was dedicated on March 20, 1870, and the Masons used the building until they moved to new and bigger lodgings in 1908. That building is now home to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Another Shepard Fairey Poster

Posted in Random Observations, Shaw, Street Art with tags , , on April 22, 2009 by Kent

I enjoy tripping over the posters of Shepard Fairey, even if a lot of his art has been accused of plagiarism. You can see an earlier post of a poster that is in Petworth, or one I found in Chinatown, or look a an archives of his work here. The poster below was found on the west side of 14th Street, NW, I think around around T Street.Shepard Fairey poster 3

The Rat is Back

Posted in Downtown, Protests & Marches, Uncategorized on April 22, 2009 by Kent

ratIts been a while since I’ve seen the rat out and about, but yesterday, it was back. Its usually associated with picketers protesting the use of non-union labor in construction jobs. Yesterday’s protesters were accusing Tricon Construction of using non-union employees in their project 1775 “I” Street, just east of 18th Street, NW.

Commercial Buildings and Churches

Posted in Churches, Commercial, Commuity News & Events on April 22, 2009 by Kent

Faith Deliverance CenterOne thing that has disturbed me for quite a while is the number of small churches the city has in former residential and commercial buildings. Its not that I’m against churches finding available space, its more that once these buildings are rezoned and taken off the tax roles, they never seem to return to any other use.

For example, the building accompanying this post used to be a bakery in 1927. I think the current church has been at this location since 1993. It is an active church, and as long as it is active and has a thriving congregation, its better than having the building empty.

Its when a congregation dies out that I get concerned. There needs to be a better mechanism for a commercial building to revert to commercial use when a church dies, so that it can return to the tax roles and productive life.

27th Annual Smithsonian Craft Show Opens Tomorrow

Posted in Craft on April 22, 2009 by Kent

The Smithsonian Craft Show, held in the National Building Museum, will open to the public tomorrow, showcasing one-of-a-kind and limited edition work by 120 superb craft artists. There is a preview night benefit tonight from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

The show runs through Sunday. For ticket prices, exhibition hours, and more details in general, visit their Website.smithsonian-craft-show

Bad Day for Rail in the City

Posted in Trains, Wrecks, Collisions, & Accidents on April 22, 2009 by Kent

overturned-locomotive-at-benning-yardAccording to the Post, two CSX Corp. locomotives overturned about 11:15 a.m. yesterday near the 200 block of 33rd Street SE, near Anacostia Park. Hazmat crews were containing less than 100 gallons of fuel and lubricant that spilled from the locomotives. CSX will lead the cleanup effort after the chemicals are fully contained. There was no perceived danger to the community.