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Georgetown Historic Sites on Most Endangered Places List

Two Georgetown sites are among the six 'Most Endangered Places in Washington.'

The Washington Canoe Club and the Mount Zion Cemetery/Female Union Band Cemetery are on the DC Preservation League's (DCPL) 2012 list of Most Endangered Places in Washington. The DCPL Board of Trustees has been compiled the list annually since 1996.

Sites are nominated by concerned citizens and organizations and selected based on the "severity of the threats," according to the DCPL website.

The Mount Zion Cemetery and Female Union Band Cemetery at 27th and Q Streets, NW, a remnant of Georgetown’s black history, dates back to a land purchase in 1808. The site was later maintained by the Female Union Band which took over the cemetery in 1879.

“This cemetery stands as a physical representation of the society and culture African Americans in Georgetown created and the pride they placed in this,” according to the DCPL site description.

Despite being on the National Register of Historic Places and the DC Inventory of Historic Sites it has fallen into disrepair.

“Headstones are broken or missing, vegetation grows unchecked, and the sign marking the cemetery has disappeared,” according to the DCPL site description.

At almost the exact opposite end of Georgetown, the historic Washington Canoe Club at 3700 Water Street is also endangered.  The Washington Canoe Club Board nominated the site along the Potomac River, which is also on the National Register of Historic Places and the DC Inventory of Historic Sites.

The club, designed in 1904, has started to show its age. “The shingles are in poor condition, the windows and window frames are in need of repair, the roof needs replacement, there are structural issues with the floor, walls, and building frame, and the building systems need repair,” according to the DCPL description.

Part of the problem is a dispute over the ownership of the property between the Washington Canoe Club and the National Park Service. “Neither… wants to invest in restoration of the building, despite the fact that in 2010 the NPS deemed the structure unsafe for occupancy,” according to the DCPL site description.

The four other properties on the list are:

  • Bond Bread Factory, 2146 Georgia Avenue, NW;
  • Alexander Crummell School, 1900 Gallaudet, NE;
  • Old Thai Embassy, 2300 Kalorama Road, NW;
  • Watchman’s Lodge and Tower, Donaldson Place, NW.

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