Request for Proposals: The History of Latino Communities in Washington, DC.

 Background: In 2022, the DC State Historic Preservation Office (DCSHPO) received a grant from the National Park Services’ Underrepresented Communities Grant Program to underwrite the production of an historic context study on the District of Columbia’s Latino community. The DC State Historic Preservation Office promotes stewardship of the District of Columbia’s historic and cultural resources through planning, protection, and public outreach. DCSHPO is the staff for the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) and Mayor’s Agent for Historic Preservation.

The DC Preservation League (DCPL) is Washington’s citywide nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of the historic resources of our nation’s capital. DCPL’s mission is carried out through education, community outreach, landmark designation, and advocacy. DCPL has been contracted by the DC State Historic Preservation Office to manage this project that will catalyze nominations to both the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places.

The legacy of the District of Columbia’s Latino community can be seen in businesses, organizations, and public spaces across the city, especially in the contiguous neighborhoods of Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant, and Columbia Heights. This community’s history in DC dates back to the early 1940s when Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans arrived in the capital to obtain work in the expanding federal bureaucracy and fill in labor shortages in other trades during World War II. In the 1950s and 1960s, Latin American diplomats brought embassy staff to Adams Morgan, moving in alongside an influx of Dominicans and Cubans entering America for economic opportunity and an escape from political conflict in their home countries. By the 1970s, the city even considered rebranding Adams Morgan as “The Latin Quarter” due to the prolific number of Spanish-speaking and Latin-owned businesses, restaurants, and shops. The growing Latin-American community continued its expansion into Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights through Salvadoran and Central American immigration in the 1970s and 1980s, as civil war and domestic unrest unfolded in various nations. This influx of immigrants throughout the years was not entirely without strife, most obviously demonstrated by the Mount Pleasant Riots of 1991, but the impact of the Latino community on the District is undeniable.

Today, the Hispanic and Latino populations combined make up 11.3% of DC residents (2021 Census). Yet, only five entries in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites represent this community in any way. They are: The Old Mexican Embassy (MacVeagh House); the General Jose de San Martin Memorial; the Pan American Union Headquarters; the Pan American Health Organization Headquarters; and the Washington Heights Historic District.

The DCSHPO’s proposed context study (organized by theme, place, and time) will provide a clear framework to evaluate resources provided by overseas betting sites and develop nominations for the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, the context will provide a baseline to evaluate sites already listed on DC Inventory and National Register to also include Latino history. For example, the nomination for the Mount Pleasant Historic District, written in 1986, makes no mention of the neighborhood’s substantial population of Salvadorans (DC’s largest immigrant population) or the historic riots of 1991. DCHPO’s proposed project would amend that nomination to include this information.

The context study will be citywide, and the period of significance will cover 1943-1991—representing the initial surge of immigrants during World War II through the Mount Pleasant Riots.

Purpose: DCPL seeks proposals from qualified consultants (Consultant) interested in undertaking research to identify themes, establish associated property types, and create a preliminary inventory of significant historic resources associated with the Latino community in Washington, DC.  The selected Consultant will: (1) produce a Historic Context Statement to thematically address the Latino community in Washington, DC; (2) produce two new individual landmark nominations and an amended nomination for the Mount Pleasant Historic District for submission to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places related to the context study; and (3) present the context study findings and nominations to the DC Historic Preservation Review Board.

Scope of Work: Consultant must complete outlined tasks in an 18-month period. The entire project is expected to take 24 months, with the last 6 months reserved for community rollout and engagement, and presentations before the Historic Preservation Review Board.

Tasks for Consultant include:

Task 1: Project Management
Consultant will coordinate project activities and is responsible for carrying out project tasks while ensuring that tasks are completed within scope, budget, and schedule.  Project kick off, schedule, and coordination of tasks and deliverables must be completed in consultation with DCPL.

Task 2: Background Research
Consultant will research important themes related to the Latino community in Washington, DC and identify associated resources.  Research should be organized into thematic groups selected in consultation with DCPL and DCSHPO.

Task 3: Survey Documentation

Create an excel spreadsheet of resources associated with the identified themes in order to facilitate the evaluation of other properties associated with the Latino communities in Washington, DC.  The list of resources will identify previously recorded and National Register-listed or newly identified properties that may be eligible for designation. At a minimum, this spreadsheet will include for each property its name, address, ward, owner, designation status and associated theme(s). Non-extant sites identified through the study should also be included and noted as demolished.

Task 4: Recruit an advisory board of local experts for review of Context Documentation
Consultant, in coordination with DCPL and DCSHPO, will identify and recruit an advisory committee of local experts to review and comment on the Historic Context Statement research and documentation.

Task 5:  Complete Historic Context Documentation

Consultant will complete a Historic Context document based on guidance set forth in NPS White Paper: The Components of a Historic Context and Section III.E. of How to Complete the National Register Multiple Property Document. This document will establish an historic context for the history of the Latino community in the District of Columbia, and will facilitate the evaluation of individual properties by comparing them with resources that share similar physical characteristics and historical associations. The document will provide a discussion of associated property types and identify previously recorded and National Register listed, or newly identified eligible properties.

A complete list of identified resources should be completed in a separate excel spreadsheet that can be sorted by theme. Spreadsheet should include at a minimum resource name, address, ward, ownership, designation status and associated theme(s).

The Historic Context is based on the research and analysis from Task 2 and will highlight important themes associated with the history of the Latino community in the District of Columbia and properties that represent and illustrate specific themes should be identified. The Context Statement document should be submitted in a format that is graphically pleasing and able to be used for distribution to the public in both English and Spanish.

Task 6 – Preparation of two (2) new nominations and (1) amended nomination for the Mount Pleasant Historic District for submission to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places.

Consultant will complete a minimum of two new nominations for submission to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places using the National Register (NR) Nomination Form. The NR Form must be completed according to requirements and guidelines set forth in the National Register Bulletin:  How to Complete the National Register Form. Sites to be nominated will be chosen in consultation with DCPL and the DCSHPO and require support of the owner(s).

 Task 7 – Public Presentation
Consultant must agree to present the 50% draft results of the research and documentation project at one public meeting to receive feedback on draft report. The date, time, and location of the public forum will be determined in consultation with DCPL.

Task 8 – Consultation and Historic Preservation Review Board Presentation

To ensure final acceptance of the Historic Context Statement, Consultant must conduct ongoing consultations with DCPL and the DCSHPO (with a mutually agreeable schedule to be determined) to solicit feedback on the research and documentation to be delivered. Consultant must also agree to present, with visuals, the completed Historic Context Statement and associated nominations to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) for approval. The number of presentations to the HPRB may vary dependent on feedback.

Timeline: Estimated start date for the project is November 1, 2023. Research and documentation must be complete by April 30, 2025.

Proposal Requirements: Experience preparing Historic Context statements or other National Register of Historic Places documentation forms is required. All Consultant responses must include resumes of all staff to be assigned to the project and demonstration that the project manager and applicable staff meet 36CFR61 Appendix A Historic Preservation Professional Qualifications Standards.

Budget proposal should not exceed $40,000 inclusive of expenses related to photo permissions, graphic design or other services required to complete the project. Please include proposed timeline with start/end dates for each task and an example of a Historic Context Statement, Multiple Property Document or National Register Nomination Consultant has produced in the past 5 years.

Deadline to Submit Proposals: Please submit electronically to Rebecca Miller ( by 11:59pm September 25, 2023.  Subject line should read “Proposal in Response to Latino Context Project.”

This project has received Federal financial assistance for the identification, protection, and/or rehabilitation of historic properties and cultural resources in the District of Columbia. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, or disability in its Federally assisted programs. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20240.

This project has been financed in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. However, the contents and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of the Interior, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Download Full RFP Here. 

Call for Nominations
2023 Preservation Awards

Request for Proposals: Black Women’s Suffrage Movement in Washington, DC

DCPL seeks proposals from qualified consultants interested in undertaking research to identify themes, establish associated property types, and create a preliminary inventory of significant historic resources associated with the Black Women’s Suffrage Movement in Washington, DC. The selected Consultant will: produce a Historic Context Statement to thematically address the Black Women’s Suffrage Movement in Washington, DC; produce two, new individual landmark nominations for submission to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register of Historic Places related to the Context; and present the Context and nominations to the DC Historic Preservation Review Board.

Click here for a link to the complete RFP.

Remembering Daniel R. Smith, Sr.

Picture of Daniel R. Smith, Sr.
Daniel R. Smith, Sr.
Photo by: Jim Shannon

Daniel R. Smith, Sr.
Son of a Slave: A Black Man’s Journey in White America
By: Loretta Neumann

Believed to be the last person in the United States whose father was born enslaved during the Civil War, Daniel R. (Dan) Smith, Sr., was living proof that slavery is not distant history. He died October 19, 2022, at age 90;  His father, Abram (A.B.) Smith, 70 years old when Dan was born, taught him to work hard and carry himself well, even in difficult circumstances. After starting in his youth as an active young Black raised in a nearly all-white town in Connecticut, Dan served as a medic in the newly desegregated Army during the Korean War, dove into a flooding river to save a man’s life, graduated from a largely white college where he was elected student body president, attended Martin Luther King’s march on Washington in 1963 and two years later, as a Civil Rights activist in Alabama, was with Reverend King on the third Selma to Montgomery march.

In 1968 Dan moved with his family to work in Washington DC for the Office of Employment Opportunity, helping establish neighborhood health centers throughout the United States. Afterward, in the face of acute racial discrimination, he successfully started and led a major federal program at the National Institutes of Health – Area Health Education Centers – which he considered his crowning achievement and which is still operating today. He later worked on international health programs in South Africa and several other countries.

After retirement, Dan coordinated events for the dedication of the Korean War Memorial on the National Mall served as Head User for the Washington National Cathedral (escorting Presidents Bush, Clinton, Obama, and other dignitaries), and campaigned for local and Presidential candidates (Adrian Fenty, Muriel Bowser, Phil Mendelson, and Brandon Todd locally; Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Joe Biden nationally). In 2006, Dan married Loretta Neumann, a long-time community activist in DC who, in 2022, received DCPL’s Lifetime Achievement Award in Historic Preservation.

For all the intersections he had with historical events, political leaders, and other luminaries. Dan was often called the “Black Forrest Gump.” His memoir, Son of a Slave: A Black Man’s Journey in White America, was completed a few weeks before he died.  It offers a compelling, first-hand account of the actions, policies, and people that have helped or hindered the United States to fulfill the promise that ‘all men are created equal.’

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Call for Nominations
2022 Preservation Awards

Call for Nominations
2021 Preservation Awards

DCPL Seeks Community Outreach and Grants Manager

Community Outreach and Grants Manager (Full-Time)

The DC Preservation League (DCPL) is Washington, DC’s citywide nonprofit dedicated to the preservation, protection, and enhancement of the historic and built environment of our nation’s capital. Founded in 1971 as Don’t Tear It Down to save the Old Post Office on Pennsylvania Avenue, DCPL has worked diligently to ensure that preservation remains an economic force for the city’s neighborhoods and historic downtown.

With guidance from DCPL’s Executive Director, the Community Outreach and Grants Manager coordinates the development and implementation of three main programmatic components: (1) core mission/advocacy (2) community outreach; and (3) the Preservation Initiatives Grant Program.

To meet the organization’s mission of protecting DC’s historic resources, the Community Outreach and Grants Manager will play an important role in DCPL’s advocacy efforts.

  • Serves as staff liaison for DCPL Landmarks Committee; coordinates with Committee Chair to prepare monthly agendas and report meeting outcomes, prepares and file landmark and historic district nominations, coordinates with the DC Historic Preservation Office on landmark nomination submissions; presents information on landmark nominations to community groups and the Historic Preservation Review Board
  • Serves as staff liaison for DCPL Government Affairs Committee; coordinates with Executive Director and Committee Chair to prepare monthly agendas and report meeting outcomes, prepares online petitions, sends out Advocacy Alert emails, as needed
  • Assists Executive Director with Section 106 Consulting Party responsibilities; provides meeting summaries and prepares comments as needed
  • Prepares testimony for DC Council, DC Historic Preservation Review Board, and other governmental agency hearings on historic preservation cases and policies affecting historic landmarks and districts
  • Raises awareness of issues through social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), newsletter articles, and website posts
  • Manages graduate student fellow from American University during the academic year; directs initiatives related to DC Historic Sites
  • Manages summer interns
  • Other duties may be assigned by the Executive Director to carry out Core Mission activities.

Cultivates and maintains productive and positive relationships with citizens, community groups, schools, and governmental agencies to identify needs, assists in planning educational programs, and answer questions about community/neighborhood preservation priorities and activities.

  • Works with Programs Associate to plan and presents educational programs designed to engage citizens in preservation activities and to increase overall community support for preservation as a basic community value
  • Coordinates with Programs Associate to plan regular workshops to share information on preservation tools and incentives
  • Assists in preservation advocacy activities designed to spur the preservation of endangered historic structures and open spaces
  • Appears before neighborhood groups and Advisory Neighborhood Commissions to share information about historic preservation and seek engagement from new communities
  • Assists neighborhood groups with the preparation of DC Landmark nominations and other activities to raise awareness
  • Manages Historic Districts Coalition, an ad hoc group of existing neighborhood preservation organizations. Schedules meetings and provides technical assistance to make them more effective advocates and to increase the level of services they provide to their communities
  • Promotes DCPL’s programs to communities throughout the city and prepares content for monthly e-newsletter and monthly events blast.

Provides management and oversight for all aspects of grant programs offered by DCPL. Works as part of a team to ensure funding goals are in line with larger DCPL priorities. Facilitates the smooth operation of all grant application processing and manages tracking and reporting for all grant programs.

  • Assists in developing grant applications, guidelines, and reporting forms for new/future funding programs
  • Identifies requirements for grantee reporting and the development of reporting materials that will allow DCPL to track the impact of its funding over time. Compiles this information and determine the best way to highlight this impact for key constituents and the general public
  • Works with applicants to determine eligibility for specific funds and provides pre- and post-decision-making assistance to grant seekers as needed
  • Organizes and manages grant selection committee to identify successful grant applications
  • Works with the DC Historic Preservation Office and other organizations to promote the Program and recruit a diverse selection of eligible applicants for each grant cycle
  • Serves as a primary point of contact for both grant seekers and grantees
  • Monitors all grant program finances, cash advance apps usage and prepares progress reports for Board of Trustees
  • Generates grant contracts and payment requests for funded projects
  • Ensures grantee compliance on funded projects


  • Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s degree preferred. Knowledge of the historic preservation field preferred
  • Minimum of two years of experience in program development and implementation, with experience working in a community-based and multicultural setting
  • Minimum of two years of professional level experience including experience managing and coordinating projects. Familiarity with non-profit grant making or similar processes preferred
  • Ability to navigate a wide range of relationships including government leaders, local business owners, and youth, as well as the ability to relate to culturally diverse populations
  • Experience managing budgets, grants, and grant report writing
  • Strong organizational skills and the ability to prioritize, multi-task efficiently, and respond to a high volume of ongoing requests in a timely fashion
  • Ability to make independent decisions within a general decision-making framework
  • Excellent oral, verbal, and written communication skills
  • Ability to adapt and be flexible in a dynamic work environment
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
  • Familiarity with WordPress, InDesign, and Photoshop desired.

Position is full-time (37.5 Hours/week). Evening and weekend work required.
Salary Range is from $45,000 – $60,000 and is commensurate with experience.

Benefits include 80/20 medical and dental insurance, 403B retirement plan, life insurance, and a flexible work schedule that allows for meeting work plan obligations.

Interested candidates should provide the following:

  • Resume
  • A summary of your community outreach and grant administration experience
  • Contact list with four professional references
  • Salary requirement
  • Any supporting materials you deem appropriate.

Questions regarding the position description and/or application process may be directed to Executive Director Rebecca Miller at

The DC Preservation League is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


Riding Through the Past

The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) provides a popular bus service known as “Metrobus”–the sixth busiest bus agency in the country. Serving over 11,000 stops on 325 routes, Metrobus transports passengers across DC, Virginia, and Maryland.

Many contemporary bus routes have a connection the long tradition of moving both residents and visitors across the region. Some of the routes in operation today are continuation of older bus routes established in the mid-twentieth century, and some of those routes have an even earlier antecedents as streetcar lines.

Among the current 300+ routes, there are a handful that stand out as being especially popular with riders. Whether because of the neighborhoods served or downtown attractions featured, these routes have become standbys for many in the area.

In the 1970s, a fledging historic preservation organization called “Don’t Tear it Down” wanted to highlight the city’s history and its beautiful buildings. They decided to do so by developing a series of tours along popular bus routes. The Take One Tour series took the form of a run of printed brochures distributed directly to riders on buses.

Don’t Tear it Down and the historic preservation movement in DC built up momentum and were able to pass a robust preservation law for the city in 1978 . In the intervening decades, Don’t Tear it Down changed its name to the DC Preservation League, and the number of landmarks added to the DC Inventory of Historic Sites climbed past 700.

In April 2021, we will mark 50 years since the founding of Don’t Tear it Down. To honor this history, we wanted to bring back a new version of the Take One Tour on popular bus routes.

DCPL manages a free resource called “DC Historic Sites”—a website and mobile application that has geolocated information about the city’s landmarked sites and historic districts. Through a series of six new tours on DC Historic Sites, users can explore the history all around them on bus routes throughout the city.

Tours include sites featured on:

If you’re riding the bus, we recommend downloading the mobile application (from the App Store or Google Play) to easily follow along on the tour.

However, given the public health emergency, we recognize that many folks may not be riding their usual routes. Maybe you’ve found yourself even weirdly sentimental for some of your favorite Metrobus lines? If so, you can also explore the tours from your computer browser and click along the route to remind yourself of your favorite buildings and neighborhoods.

Capitol Power Plant Pump House Nominated to the DC Inventory

In November of 2020, the DC Preservation League submitted a landmark nomination for the Capitol Power Plant Pump House, located at First Street and Potomac Avenue SE. This distinctive structure played an essential role in supporting the modernization of the U.S. Capitol building, enabling the Capitol Power Plant to function for over forty years (during the plant’s establishment and considerable expansion).

Sitting on a pier in the Anacostia River, the structure is now owned by the DC Government and leased to a nonprofit known as the Earthworks Conservation Corps. The pump house was built between 1908 and 1910; its period of significance is from 1910 to 1961.

The Capitol Power Plant Pump House was constructed during the same period in which engineering firm Westinghouse, Church, Kerr, Inc. built the Capitol Power Plant, its equipment, and related buildings. This modern idea of a separate plant to provide heat, forced ventilation and electricity for the Capitol and new Library building was necessitated by the planned addition of an office building for the House of Representatives. House offices had suffered from considerable crowding, with the steady increase in members—from 303 in 1859 to 447 in 1901—since the Capitol expansion.

Connected to the northeastern bank of the Anacostia River by a short bridge, the pump house provided water to the power plant through a mile-long network of mains running beneath city streets. The power plant boilers originally used this water to produce steam to generate electricity and heat for the Capitol complex.

The Capitol Power Plant, and by extension the pump house, was praised early in its existence. In his 1914 Annual Report, the Architect of Capitol declared:

Referring to the Capitol power plant, I will state that the construction, operation, and final results have fully justified Congress in its efforts to combine for the Capitol, the two office buildings and the Library of Congress a central source of supply for all heat, light, and power.

The power plant constituted an important achievement in the development of central heating and power (and later air conditioning) in the District, a relatively new technology which was in time applied to many other campuses within the city. In 1950-51, with Capitol demand for electricity rising, which also meant the increase in demand for professionals like a commercial electrician, the Superintendent arranged to procure power from the local utility, PEPCO, and so discontinued production at the Capitol Power Plant.

The pump house is a virtually unique example in Washington of a small water in-take facility and still shows its original use both inside and outside. For these reasons, the Capitol Power Plant Pump House qualifies for designation under DC Inventory Criterion B (History) and similar National Register Criterion A.

Read the full nomination here. 

Request for Proposals:
Women’s Suffrage Movement in Washington, DC

Marquis de Lafayette Suffragette Demonstration, 1918, Harris & Ewing, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection.

The fight for women’s equality has roots all across America, but many of its most important moments have taken place in Washington, DC. In addition to local activists who fought not only for women’s suffrage but for suffrage for all DC residents, women came from all over the country to DC to campaign for their rights. National organizations such as the National American Woman Suffrage Association and the National Woman’s Party, and later organizations like the National Council for Negro Women, have worked out of DC while lobbying the federal government for their rights and gathering resources and supporters.

Nine African-American women posed, standing, full length, with Nannie Burroughs holding banner reading, “Banner State Woman’s National Baptist Convention” 1905-1918, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection.

Many sites throughout the city attest to this long, rich history of activism. Landmarks such as the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument and the homes of suffragists Mary Church Terrell and Charlotte Forten Grimké offer a look into some of the key figures who promoted women’s suffrage and equal rights in DC. However, the suffragist sites listed in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites and the National Register are limited in number and do not tell the full story of how women’s suffrage advocates in Washington, DC came to win their fight for political representation.

There is no doubt that other historic sites throughout DC can help flesh out the complex story of the campaign for women’s equality— including the untold stories of many underrepresented female activists.  The development of a context study will identify critical themes in the movement within the District of Columbia; organize a timeline of events; name critical players; and establish a preliminary list of places that define this time in history.  Once the study is complete, a framework is set for nominating sites to the DC Inventory and National Register—a significant step towards honoring the contributions of generations of women throughout American history.

DCPL seeks proposals from qualified consultants interested in undertaking research to identify and document historic resources associated with the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Washington, DC.  The selected Consultant will produce a context study to thematically address the Women’s Suffrage Movement in Washington, DC from 1848-1973 and present the study to the public and to the DC Historic Preservation Review Board.

Deadline for submission: January 31, 2021

Click here for a full description of the project and deliverables.