Friday, January 27, 2012

Darryl Carter’s stable is being restored and preserved

The little yellow stable in the alley behind Darryl Carter’s property is being restored in concert with the primary buildings in front of it. (the original story was reported in earlier posts in 2009 here and here) Photos show the bricks in the process of being nicely repointed. This stable is typical of late 1800’s alley stables. The hayloft beam was replaced by an “I” beam at some point in the past. Very few of the original wooden beams still exist in stables because of the wear and tear of their heavy use and their exposure to the elements since the original wood was untreated.


While the precise future use of this stable is uncertain at this point, the beauty of these structures is their utilitarian nature and enormous flexibility for adaptive reuse. It’s wonderful to see the spirit of the 1990 National Registry of Historic Places recognition being honored in this alley in this way.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

HPO to document alley structures in Washington

The announcement below is wonderful news because it will bring the rich legacy of the Washington DC alley culture into fine focus. This work is a welcome undertaking! Below is the announcement from HPO about the alley survey.
January 19, 2012
Historic Preservation Office embarks on extensive effort to document alley structures in the District.

The Historic Preservation Office embarks on an extensive effort to document alley structures in the District.
The Historic Preservation Office has embarked on an extensive effort to survey and document alley structures in Washington’s historic districts. Past surveys – particularly those associated with early historic district designations – did not comprehensively cover alley buildings. As a result, data on the city’s historic alley structures is not well documented or easily accessible. In fact, many alley buildings have been demolished, particularly within the past decade.
In 2011, HPO staff began gathering information on alleys through field documentation and photography of important buildings and features as well as research on historic building permits and maps. The information is being catalogued in a database, and will eventually be mapped through the Geographic Information System (GIS). This information will be valuable in better understanding the rich history of the city’s alleys, considering preservation strategies and appropriate alterations for alley buildings, and designing new alley structures that are compatible with the character of historic alleyscapes.
Initial survey efforts have been focused on historic rowhouse neighborhoods, which feature the largest number of alley dwellings, carriage houses, stables, warehouses, and garages. Survey work is already underway in the alleys in Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill, Shaw, LeDroit Park, Mount Vernon Square, Mount Vernon Triangle, Greater Fourteenth Street, and U Street. HPO has collected data on over 500 alley buildings so far, with plans to continue the survey work already in progress and to expand its survey to other historic districts during 2012.

HPO Announcement online