The History Task Force works to celebrate the unique and compelling history of our community and reinforce progressive and inclusive identity. The task force researches and identifies ways to promote our heritage through a variety of platforms including public forums, commemorative events, publications, oral histories, interpretative panels, public information displays, and nominating sites for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
For more information, please contact current task force chair Ryan Pierce
Below you will find a collection of resources from a variety of outlets that focus on recording and studying the history of Southwest’s built environment and cultural heritage. Many are available through the efforts of other organizations, while some have been commissioned by SWNA. This list is representative of the available resources, collected here in an effort to serve as a starting point for those interested in learning more about the story of this neighborhood.
The Historical Society of Washington, DC: “The Bulldozer and the Rose”
- A recreation of Garnet W. Jex’s slide presentation, using his original script and images, chronicling the destruction of old Southwest Washington as it was being demolished for redevelopment between 1958 and 1964.
Download this presentation. Note: PDF file (6MB), hosted by The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
Historical Society website | http://www.dchistory.org/research/research-guides/
- This video gives insights into how Urban Renewal changed the face of Southwest and its residents.
Watch the video. Hosted on YouTube by Humanities DC.
River Farms to Urban Towers: Southwest Heritage Trail
- Follow this self-guided Cultural Tourism DC Neighborhood Heritage Trail to learn more about Washington’s Southwest waterfront. The Southwest Heritage Trail consists of 17 poster-sized, illustrated signs that combine storytelling with historic images.
The first sign is located at the Waterfront/SEU Metro station plaza, Fourth and M Streets, SW. (PLEASE NOTE: Sign 11, located on Water Street, SW, between Sixth and Seventh Streets, is temporarily missing. Sign 6, located at Seventh and E Streets, SW, is also temporarily missing.)
As designed this is an approximately two-hour self-guided tour, however walkers are encouraged to follow the trail at their own pace, sampling neighborhood character, businesses, and restaurants along the way.
For more information about this heritage trail, email Trail@CulturalTourismDC.org or call Cultural Tourism DC at 202-661-7581. Download the companion guide: English or Spanish
DC Public Library Online
- This public library provides a great resource as a starting point for researching the history of Southwest Washington, D.C. It not only includes direction and guidance to the many resources available from the Library, it incorporates references to other local collections and resource centers as well.
- Visit the Southwest DC Neighborhood Guide | http://libguides.dclibrary.org/swdc
Dig DC (Digital Collections / DC Public Library) | http://digdc.dclibrary.org
DC Historic Sites Project by DC Preservation League
- “DC Historic Sites is based on the DC Inventory of Historic Sites, the city’s official list of properties deemed worthy of recognition and protection for their contribution to the cultural heritage of the city, the nation’s capital, and the nation. DC Historic Sites was developed by the DC Preservation League, Washington’s only citywide nonprofit advocate dedicated to the preservation, protection and enhancement of the historic resources of our nation’s capital.”
- DC Preservation League | http://www.dcpreservation.org/
HistoryQuest DC by DC Historic Preservation Office
- HistoryQuestDC is an interactive online map of Washington, D.C. which provides historical data for thousands of buildings around the city. The map offers several layers of information on buildings, residential areas, the L”Enfant plan, and many other aspects of the cities built environment.
- DC Historic Preservation Office | http://planning.dc.gov/page/historic-preservation-office
Oral History Recordings: “Southwest Views”
- In 2006, Rev. Brian Hamilton of Westminster church produced a series of oral history reports from SW residents. Rev. Hamilton graciously shared these with SWNA to make them available to the public.
“Southwest Views” hosted on YouTube
Local University Student Research Projects
- Voices of Southwest (University of Maryland / Dept. of Urban Studies)
Urban Renewal: The Story of Southwest D.C. (American University / Public History Program)
Historical Context Study: Southwest Washington, DC 1791-1973
Overview context study prepared by QED Associates LLC examining the built environment of Southwest DC,
commissioned in 2014 by SWNA. Presented here in parts, in PDF format.
- Part 1: Opening
- Part 2: Historical Analysis
- Part 3: Housing
- Part 4: Housing Commercial
- Part 5: Commercial and Government
- Part 6: Churches Typology
- Part 7: Closing
Southwest Washington, Urban Renewal Area (2004, Historic American Building Survey)
More at the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/dc1017/
This is one of several surveys done by the Heritage Documentation Programs of the National Park Service, more surveys on subjects in Southwest are available in the Library of Congress’ HABS/HAER/HALS Collection.
The Old Southwest (2005, Univ. of Maryland Historic Preservation Studio)
Urban Design Studio: Southwest Washington, D.C. (2001, MIT School of Architecture)
Southwest Washington, D.C. (1998, Urban Land Institute)
Midcentury Modern Churches of Southwest Washington (2015)
Buzzard Point, DC: A Brief History of a Brief Neighborhood (2014)
If you are interested joining the Historical Task Force please complete the form below: