Archive for the ‘historic restoration’ Category

Pinball Museum: Game Over

May 25, 2011

Pinball Museum: Game Over

The National Pinball Museum is closing. The NPM is located in Washington’s Georgetown Park mall, and the new landlord has hit the flipper, bouncing the museum out. The institution had only been open for five months.

Is nothing sacred? The Pinball Museum is more than a repository of amusement industry technology. It is a tribute to billions of wasted hours of 20th century American youth.


Civil War Shame in Virginia

April 9, 2010


Civil War Shame in Virginia

There is a Civil War scandal in Virginia that has nothing to do with Governor Bob McDonnell. The culprit: Arlington National Cemetery.

1,500 African American soldiers who served in the Union’s U.S. Colored Troops and thousands of freed slaves housed on the Arlington Estate grounds were buried in the cemetery’s Section 27, which was neglected and allowed to fall into disrepair. The cemetery was ordered to correct this shameful situation almost two decades ago.

Cosmetic changes compounded the institutional disrespect, reports Salon‘s Mark Benjamin. 500 graves now lack headstones, previously identified burials are now marked “Unknown,” some graves are misidentified, and records claim that one man is buried in two places. Cemetery Superintendent John C. Metzler, Jr. who told Congress that neglect of Section 27 would be rectified, still holds his position today.


Eastern Market Building to Re-Open June 26

June 23, 2009

Eastern Market Building to Re-Open June 26

UPDATE: Free music at Eastern Market June 27-28.

Capitol Hill’s Eastern Market building will re-open Friday, June 26th, refurbished and re-interpreted, after it was gutted by fire on April 30, 2007. While the 1873 building is of questionable historical or aesthetic merit, it will certainly go down in history for its rehab pricetag: $22 million in public funds.

Great pains were taken to use historically accurate paint colors and streetlamp forms in the adaptive restoration, but astonishing anachronisms (lead-free paint, electric lights, air conditioning) abound. There is no word when historically-correct horse manure and flies will be installed in surrounding streets and alleys.


Eastern Market Schedule

January 29, 2009

Eastern Market Schedule

Eastern Market is bustling along as always as Capitol Hill’s  place for fresh food shopping, schmoozing and art, but reconstruction of the fire-gutted original  1873 building seemed stalled and unlikely to meet the planned  June completion date. 

In home remodelling, medicine, or automotive work, once you get under the hood you find problems you didn’t expect. Historic restoration is no different. Deteriorated flooring, corroded steel beams, and weakened brick arches slowed progress, Bill Rice of  DC’s Office of Property Management told Michael Neibauer of The Examiner.

OPM has extended construction hours so market business can blossom in the  spring. Workmen will be on the job from 3:30 PM to midnight weekdays, 6 AM to 3:30 PM Saturdays (never on Sundays) until May.


Holiday Housecleaning at Eastern Market

December 20, 2008

Holiday Housecleaning at Eastern Market

Washington residents got a holiday gift from the DC Government today. DC’s Office of Property Management is finally rousting the rascals who have mismanaged Eastern Market and is taking direct administrative control on January First.

Management of historic Eastern Market has been contracted out to a phantom DC nonprofit called Eastern Market Ventures (or Venture – documents differ). Who is EMV? Primarily Maryland’s Site Realty Group, with apparent participation by principals of  MilleniuM Real Estate Advisors (which provides the notional DC address — at the Watergate) and New York’s Capital Properties .


Eastern Market Funds to Pay for West Potomac Park Levees

December 8, 2008

Levee Repairs Slated for DC's East Potomac Park

The DC Government will  build a new levee system across 17th Street NW, between Constitution Avenue, NW and the World War II Memorial, and pay for it with $2 million from the budget for rebuilding fire-damaged Eastern Market, reports Michael Neibauer in the Examiner. Repair of the Potomac riverfront levees is long over-due, and the budget reduction should not affect restoration of the historic market building, expected to be completed in the summer.

The Farmer’s Line at Eastern Market is in full seasonal bustle, stocked with plush pines, fine firs, and handsome hemlocks, so don’t wait until summer to come by. All the original Eastern Market vendors are just across 7th Street in the “East Hall,” so order your Christmas goose soon.


George Washington’s Study Renovated

October 12, 2008

George Washington's Study Renovated

George Washington’s private study at Mount Vernon has re-opened to the public after four years of exhaustive research, conservation, and cleaning. The restoration re-creates the appearance of the room in 1799.

Complete explanation of the curatorial decisions pictured above should be available here on the Mount Vernon web site, but that page is completely blank. Perhaps this is due to overzealous conservation and cleaning.

Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

Arts and the City

September 9, 2008

Highrise Carroll Square (10th and F Streets, NW) is just another Washington office building, except for one thing. It has a small visual arts gallery, but so do other downtown buildings in the Nation’s Capital. What makes Carroll Square different is artists, working artists. There are artist studios in the building; art is made there.

Back when the 9:30 Club was actually at 930 F Street, NW, artists and performers had studios throughout downdown. When speculators ran up the price of downtown real estate and developers planned to rip down the century-old buildings, artist work spaces were displaced. The stubbornest member of the nonprofit Downtown Artists’ Coalition, painter Michael Berman, continued to negotiate with DC Government planners and private developers to maintain studio space for visual artists. It took a decade, but working artists are back on F Street.

Arts and the City
Find the artist in this picture.

Visual artists are returning as F St|Arts, and their studios occupy the rehabbed townhouses that step-back into the high-rise portion of the new development. Paintings, photographs, sculpture, and jewelry and wood craft media are produced there by Michael Berman, Richard Dana, Matthew Falls, Stuart Gosswein, Judy Jashinsky, Gediyon KifleKurt Massé, Mimi Massé, and Beatrice Valdes Paz.

You can see the new studios and the work artists produce there on Saturday, September 13, 2008 during Arts On Foot, the downtown celebration of Washington’s visual and performing arts.  F St|Arts studios will also exhibit work by guest artists Janis Goodman, Joe Hicks, Pepa Leon, Barbara Liotta, Quint Marshall, and Johanna Muelle.


Eastern Market Burned Again — by the Media

July 17, 2008

Eastern Market Burned Again -- by the Media

News stories about Washington’s Eastern Market filled the DC media yesterday, describing the restoration of the South Hall of the historic building, gutted by fire last year. Coverage noted that exterior work is largely complete, and renovation of the interior of the building has begun.

Except for an excellent report by NBC4’s Tom Sherwood and perfunctory throw-away lines by ABC7 news and the Examiner, though, stories omitted the fact that the market itself has been open for business and functioning for over a year, across 7th Street, SE, in the “East Hall.” Even a WAMU-FM radio story that included an interview with one of the merchants— Melvin Inman of Market Poultry — omitted this fact.


Eastern Market – Fresh Hours, Stale Management [UPDATE]

June 28, 2008

Fresh Hours and Stale Management UPDATE

Capitol Hill activists had hoped DC government would contract new managers for historic Eastern Market by now, but the inter-agency effort is predictably complex. The result: the city’s famous fresh food market will have the same stale management for another six months.

The good news: the market will be open longer hours starting next week, and restoration of the original building is proceeding on schedule.