The list of Most Endangered Places in D.C. announced yesterday by the D.C. Preservation League includes some interesting choices. You’ve got your graffitied frescoes in the old Franklin School at 13th and K Streets NW (now a homeless shelter). You’ve got your Takoma Theater in Takoma Park, built in 1923, which should be preserved because, among other reasons, it’s been used “by independent filmmakers for film previews, including Chris Rock.” Its current owner has been trying to make the case to level it.
Those seem worthy enough. The one I don’t get is the 1900 block of Martin Luther King Avenue SE, buildings only a crackhead could love. The fight to save this major eyesore at the intersection of MLK and Good Hope Road has been going on since at least 1997. And guess what? Ten years later, they’re still vacant, taped-off, and burned out. A fire gutted the buildings more than two years ago, so tell me again why they’re so historically significant?
It seems they are, according to the preservation league, “contributing buildings owned and managed by the DC Housing and Community Development (DCHCD) agency are contributing structures in the Anacostia Historic District, listed in the DC Inventory of Historic Places and the National Register for Historic Places.”
Who gives a fuck? Tear them down and build something the residents of Anacostia actually need and can feel good about. There are fights worth having to preserve historic D.C. This isn’t one of them.