Since 2016, at the request of several Southwest residents and with the support of a DC Preservation League (DCPL) grant, SWNA’s History Task Force has worked with professional consultants from the firm JMT to research the potential for an “Old Southwest” Historic District. The district proposed would roughly be bounded by M St., SW, South Capitol St., SW, Q St., SW, and Canal/2nd St., SW. Pursuant to the DCPL grant, extensive research was done to determine the qualifications of the area for historic district status and three community meetings were held by SWNA over the course of the study period. Based on their research, JMT determined that there is a meritorious argument for making the area a historic district and moved forward to prepare a nomination form for consideration by the community and SWNA’s Board.
This historic designation study process generated significant support for, and opposition to, the nomination among area residents. After reviewing community comments, the prepared nomination form, and additional information regarding the ramifications of historic district status, the SWNA Board deliberated on whether to proceed with submission of the nomination. At a recent Board meeting a motion to submit the nomination did not receive the support of a majority of the Board, and as a result SWNA will not be submitting the nomination at this time.
Note that pursuant to the terms of the grant, SWNA will work to finalize the nomination form through addressing certain deficiencies identified by DCPL during their final review process. Once the nomination form has been completed, it will be made available for the community, and would be available to another qualified entity to submit, should they desire.
The project webpage from this effort will also remain available, as an information resource, at www.swdc.org/old-southwest.
By Bruce Levine, President of SWNA, and Ryan Pierce, Chair of SWNA’s History Task Force