Visitor Guide, 2012
1. Colleen “Mrs” Civello (1947-2012).
2. Chloethiel Woodard Smith (1920-1992). Smith ran the largest female-run architectural firm in the United States. One of her many projects in D.C. is nearby Potomac Place, formerly Capitol Park project, built in 1967.
3. Vanessa Ruffin (b. 1952) remembers growing up in SW in the 1950’s. Ladies carried red boxes of Argo starch to the laundry, kids played marbles and baseball, men bet on tricks in the busy streets. Laundry sheets flew. Industry and the horse stables resided nearby. “No one really makes anything here anymore”.
4. Where are they now? A study of the impact of relocation on former residents of southwest Washington, who were served in an HWC demonstration project. Author: Daniel Thursz; Health and Welfare Council of the National Capital Area, 1966.
6. President Harry S. Truman officially endorsed plans developed during the FDR administration to rehabilitate housing in SW, urging District officials in 1952 to “go right to it–that’s the way I feel about it.” Tiber Island (1963-65) by Keyes, Condon & Lethbridge, was one of more than 10 housing projects that made the Southwest Redevelopment Area one of the nation’s most ambitious urban renewal projects. It was widely praised for the high caliber of its design.
7. Flood, 1972. This depicts the area of Washington, D.C. in controversy. Southwest D.C. is mostly a hill above the flood line, and was formerly surrounded almost entirely by water (hence its old nickname "The Island").
8. At Gangplank Marina, a Liveaboard community thrives in SW. John and Ann Hill loved oysters, dancing, and fishing together. John served 40 years at the Rotary Club SW.
9. Archives from The Southwester, a neighborhood paper serving SW and the Capitol Riverfront area. A vehicle for disseminating news and information to the local residents. “It is the cement which binds this neighborhood and is a community bulletin board.”
10. White face/Black face: In their heyday, they were each dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer". Al Jolson (1886-1950) moved to SW when his family emigrated from Russia and lived on 4 1/2 Street in 1927 (after the Civil War, SW was divided in half by Fourth Street SW, then known as 41⁄2 Street; Scotch, Irish, German, and eastern European immigrants lived west of 41⁄2 Street; African-Americans lived to the east.). Michael Jackson (1958-2009) is the king of pop—and was my favorite performer.
11. Posted at 8:17 PM ET, 12/2/2010: Three women were stabbed Thursday evening during a fight in Southwest, police said. Police responded about 6:45 p.m. to the unit block of Galveston Street SW for the report of a fight, said Officer Paul Metcalf, a spokesman. The women were found conscious and breathing, and their injuries did not appear to be life threatening. They were taken to a hospital.
12. “I remember when our history teacher would conduct class on hot days outside in the school yard and we would sit and watch the demolition of the original Hogates restaurant.”
13. In July 2012 the federal government issued a 94-page draft plan to transform 110 acres between 6th and 12th streets into an “ecodistrict” over the next 20-25 years. Many long-time residents and neighborhood organizations have begun to battle the plans of what is to come.
14. Between 1950 and 1960, 23,500 residents were moved out of SW to make way for new middle- and upper-income, as well as some public, housing. This map shows where some were relocated.
15. The Waterside Mall had been a fixture of SW since 1962.
16. When it first opened in the early 1960s, the 203-room hotel where you stand—five blocks from the U.S. Capitol—reflected that enthusiastic, hopeful time. The Capitol Skyline was designed by Morris Lapidus, who best expressed his philosophy in the title of his autobiography: Too Much Is Never Enough. Shortly before his death Lapidus was quoted as saying "I never thought I would live to see the day when, suddenly, magazines are writing about me, newspapers are writing about me.”
17. Bag of rocks: Neighborhood kids have been known to throw acorns or small rocks at new residents.
18. Kathleen Turner, now starring in “The Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins” at Arena Stage on 6th Street.
19. Shell, Exxon, Esso – all gas stations that lined S. Capitol Street in the 1950s and 60s. A resident suggested a project about the impact of the oil industry on SW.
20. What is Progress?
21. In the spring of 1848 seventy-six slaves hid aboard a schooner called The Pearl in an attempt to sail down the Potomac River and up the Chesapeake Bay to freedom in Pennsylvania. When inclement weather forced them to anchor for the night, the fugitive slaves and the ship's crew were captured and returned to Washington. Many of the slaves were sold to the Lower South, and two men sailing the Pearl were tried and sentenced to prison.
22. Established in 1934, by Buster Black and Charles Fleet, and formerly known as the Cavaliers Athletic Club and the Cavaliers Benevolent Social Club, the SW Cavaliers have aided SW residents bridging the gap between the affluent and the less fortunate for over 75 years, making no distinction between the two. Leon “Rub” Fields, a SW Cavalier, was also instrumental with conceptualizing the Southwest Community Council, Inc., currently known as the Southwest Neighborhood Assembly.
23. Confiscated cell phones from students attending Woodrow Wilson High School (NW). After junior high, SW teens commute to attend high schools outside of their neighborhood.
24. Cecille Chen and her husband live on The Island. She is fascinated with the history and architecture of SW. Chen and her neighbors organized an event on April 14, 2011, commemorating the Titanic Centennial at Waterfront Park. Tucked away in a quiet corner of Waterfront Park next to Fort McNair, a memorial is dedicated to the men who gave their lives during the sinking of the Titanic so that women and children might be saved.
25. Dave Harris, a fraternity brother and friend of Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor recalls when they went at it in a series of five-on-five encounters on various D.C. playgrounds around town. The city's top young black ballplayers played alongside the headliners, making for an ungodly grouping of future NBA first-round picks, NCAA tournament MVPs, and Hall of Famers. Mobs created entirely via analog social media appeared wherever Chamberlain and Baylor played.
26. Marvin Gaye grew up in SW. He attended Randall Junior High School across from the Capitol Skyline Hotel.
27. Paul Taylor – nicknamed “South”, Michael Hines, and Michael Wingard at the 2nd annual SW Unity Day.
28. Annual T-shirt designed by Paul Taylor. He remembers the Hoover playground (where blacks were not allowed), going out to Choices Corner, Eastside, or The Pink Room to hear go-go, and “Eggy Bump” one of the first black business owners. Taylor grew up across the street from River Park Apartments and dreamed of living there as a kid. When he was older and could afford to see an apartment, the condo fee was too high. He moved to NW, but still works in the SW community at King Greenleaf Recreation Center.
29. “Subway, at least it’s something.”
30. New tennis courts in SW are re-appropriated into basketball courts by neighborhood kids.
31. District Grocery Stores were operated by individual owners, offering such free services as telephone shopping service, free delivery and credit extension whenever necessary. D.G.S. maintained a warehouse at Fourth and D streets SW, where only members could purchase groceries, meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy products, beverages, tobacco and candy.
32. “The old high-rise, is the new low-rise.”
33. Posted at 12:04 AM EST October 4. 2012 - By winning their regular-season finale, the Washington Nationals clinched the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. There is talk of building a Redskins Stadium across from the Nationals. Many residents are not in favor of this pairing.
34. National Congress for American Indians was established in 1944 in response to the termination and assimilation policies the US government forced upon tribal governments in contradiction of their treaty rights and status as sovereign nations. The office of NCAI is located in SW.
35. “A noisy noise annoys an oyster.” Oyster Club members.
36. Gram Eleanor “The Dutch” and Bob “Pap-pap” Ludwig
37. Safeway (there are currently 44 yelp reviews about the new SW Safeway).
38. Kevin Pierre Arlyck, the love of my life.
39. Trayvon Martin and Marvin Gaye.
40. Members and the Navy Academy Band with the artist.
You can also view the visitor guide for the installation here.