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Capitol Hill

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Capitol Hill celebrates one of the largest historic districts in the nation and a neighborhood rich in history that shaped a nation and the world. Beginning as a port area on the high plateau near the deep water of the Anacostia River, Capitol Hill was largely shaped by the early residential development near the Navy Yard. Later home to middle-class workers in the 19th Capitol Hill celebrates one of the largest historic districts in the nation and a neighborhood rich in history that shaped a nation and the world. Beginning as a port area on the high plateau near the deep water of the Anacostia River, Capitol Hill was largely shaped by the early residential development near the Navy Yard. Later home to middle-class workers in the 19th century, Capitol Hill is now one of Washington's most elite neighborhoods. While the name of the current neighborhood is derived from its proximity to the United States Capitol, it is actually not located on a hill. Situated on the highest point of land between the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, Capitol Hill began as a small cluster of homes located at First and Second Streets along New Jersey Avenue, Southeast around 1800. The neighborhood was also home to hospitals and boarding houses during the Civil War. The area now known as the Capitol Hill Historic District was primarily built up in the 1880s and 1890s for speculative housing on a more modest scale, but now the district is considered elite with more senators and members of Congress residing there than in any other neighborhood. This volume contains more than 200 images of these prominent homes and noteworthy points of national interest, including Union Station, the Navy Yard, Eastern Market, and the B&O Railroad Company.


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Capitol Hill celebrates one of the largest historic districts in the nation and a neighborhood rich in history that shaped a nation and the world. Beginning as a port area on the high plateau near the deep water of the Anacostia River, Capitol Hill was largely shaped by the early residential development near the Navy Yard. Later home to middle-class workers in the 19th Capitol Hill celebrates one of the largest historic districts in the nation and a neighborhood rich in history that shaped a nation and the world. Beginning as a port area on the high plateau near the deep water of the Anacostia River, Capitol Hill was largely shaped by the early residential development near the Navy Yard. Later home to middle-class workers in the 19th century, Capitol Hill is now one of Washington's most elite neighborhoods. While the name of the current neighborhood is derived from its proximity to the United States Capitol, it is actually not located on a hill. Situated on the highest point of land between the Anacostia and Potomac Rivers, Capitol Hill began as a small cluster of homes located at First and Second Streets along New Jersey Avenue, Southeast around 1800. The neighborhood was also home to hospitals and boarding houses during the Civil War. The area now known as the Capitol Hill Historic District was primarily built up in the 1880s and 1890s for speculative housing on a more modest scale, but now the district is considered elite with more senators and members of Congress residing there than in any other neighborhood. This volume contains more than 200 images of these prominent homes and noteworthy points of national interest, including Union Station, the Navy Yard, Eastern Market, and the B&O Railroad Company.

18 review for Capitol Hill

  1. 4 out of 5

    robin friedman

    Capitol Hill For most Americans, "Capitol Hill" is synonymous with Congress. But Capitol Hill is also a large neighborhood in Washington D.C. extending east behind the Capitol to the Anacostia River. Capitol Hill has a long history, and in 1976 Congress declared much of the neighborhood a Historic District. I have memories of Capitol Hill because I rented a basement apartment and then a somewhat larger unit in a house near Lincoln Park on East Capitol Street in the mid-1970s. Shortly thereafter, I Capitol Hill For most Americans, "Capitol Hill" is synonymous with Congress. But Capitol Hill is also a large neighborhood in Washington D.C. extending east behind the Capitol to the Anacostia River. Capitol Hill has a long history, and in 1976 Congress declared much of the neighborhood a Historic District. I have memories of Capitol Hill because I rented a basement apartment and then a somewhat larger unit in a house near Lincoln Park on East Capitol Street in the mid-1970s. Shortly thereafter, I bought my first home in a much more adventurous section of "the Hill" -- as its residents know it -- in an area near 12th and I Steet S.E. close to a housing development. I moved away from the Hill many years ago but continue to live in Washington D.C. I have been exploring several of the volumes of photographs of American neighborhoods in the "Images of America" series published by Arcadia Press, and I was eager to read this 2004 volume "Capitol Hiil" by Paul Williams and Gregory Alexander. Williams own a historic preservation firm in Washington D.C and has written several volumes on the city for the Images of America series. Alexander is an associate in his firm. This book tries to capture something of the story of Capitol Hill from its origins in the late Eighteenth Century up to the present day. As the authors recognize, this is a daunting task in a short book of photographs. Their book constitutes a good overview of the Hill, but those familiar with the area will probably find, as I did, that it leaves much unsaid. In five chapters, Williams and Alexander offer photos and annotations of 1. early development on Capitol Hill, 2. the military presence exercised by the old Navy Yard, which was once an important manufacturing center for munitions, and the Marine Barracks, 3.the churches, hospitals, and businesses that have always been an integral feature of life on the Hill,4. community life over the years, and 5. transportation, as exemplified by Union Station which, as does the Capitol, stands basically at the entrance to the Hill. The book captures well many of the old Victorian townhouses for which Capitol Hill is famous. It also offers a good historical view, showing many of the old mansions which graced Capitol Hill in its early, less urbanized days. Williams and Alexander offer photos of some interesting historical landmarks, such as a house in which Frederick Douglass lived (before moving late in life to his home in the Anacostia section of Washington D.C),the boarding house, long since destroyed, in which Abraham Lincoln lived during his only term in Congress, a music conservatory that operated in the late 1940s and 1950s called the "Washington Junior College of Music and Education", old chain stores, such as the "White Coffee Pot" which advertised "good food, moderate prices, quick service, and clean surroundings", and the old streetcar barn on 14th and East Capitol Street which has been converted to pricey condominiums. William and Alexander describe how the Hill was initially occupied by a diverse group of residents, experienced a downturn in the 1960s, and was revitalized when many people returned to the area and restored the old homes in the late 1970s and 1980s. This was the time in which I lived on the Hill. I found that the book made Capitol Hill more staid than it is or that, I suspect, it was. There may be too much emphasis on government buildings and institutions in the area and too little to the people, businesses, and small communities that gave the area character. Some of the best photos in the book are of the notorious alley slums that existed side-by-side with the Victorian homes through the early part of the Twentieth Century. I would have liked more about these areas and what became of them. (Most of these alleys have been restored and "gentrified".) The book could have paid more attention to Eastern Market, a famous outdoor market that has served the city since the 1870s. For many years, it has been a lively meeting place on the Hill, with its flea markets, quaint shops, and live produce. After this book was written, a fire gutted much of Eastern Market in April, 2007. It was quickly rebuilt. Similarly the book gives too little attention to the changing character of the commercial thoroughfares on the Hill -- the area of Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E. and the several blocks of shops and clubs that extend from 8th and Pennsylvania to the Marine Barracks. These areas are important to understanding life on Capitol Hill. Lincoln Park gets no attention in this book, even though it is a community landmark and the site of a famous statue, paid for by newly-freed African Americans, commemorating the Emancipation Proclamation. Frederick Douglass was the featured speaker at the dedication of the statue, in a ceremony attended by President Grant, among many other people. Capitol Hill is today an expensive residential area in Washington, but it still hosts a diverse community, many young people who work in Congress and elsewhere, and a free-spirited, lively urban atmosphere. Williams and Alexander provide a good introduction, but they do not capture all of the elan of Washington D.C's Capitol Hill. Robin Friedman

  2. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janice

  4. 5 out of 5

    Scott Fuchs

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bill

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Gilmore

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

  10. 5 out of 5

    ErrBookErrDay

  11. 4 out of 5

    Douglas Koehne

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steve Spinks

  13. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jenna Watts

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andrew McCarthy-Clark

  17. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  18. 4 out of 5

    rêveur d'art

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