Call for Nominations
2023 Preservation Awards

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. 


Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse Nominated to DC Inventory of Historic Sites

On Thursday, December 17, 2020, the DC Historic Preservation Review Board is scheduled to consider the landmark nomination submitted by DCPL for Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse. The nomination highlights the important social history of this venue as a meeting place for the LGBTQ community in DC during the mid- to late-twentieth century.

The nomination is unusual; it argues for what is known as a non-contiguous landmark designation. Annie’s has occupied two sites: it operated out of 1519 Seventeenth Street NW from 1948 until 1985, at which time it moved to 1609-1611 Seventeenth Street NW.

1519 Seventeenth Street is a two-story Italianate building (constructed in 1878) now operating as JR’s Bar. 1609-1611 Seventeenth Street consists of two interconnected commercial buildings in the Italianate style (1609, constructed in 1904) and the Tudor Revival Style (1611, constructed in 1926).

When George Katinas leased the property at 1519 Seventeenth Street NW in 1948, he changed its name from the Paramount Café to the Paramount Steakhouse. George’s younger sister, Anne (Annie) Katinas Kaylor, worked at the restaurant and became a favorite of the patrons. George added Annie’s name to the restaurant c. 1962 and it officially became “Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse.”

Anne (Annie) Katinas Kaylor in 1985

Under the ownership and operational leadership of the Katinas family, the restaurant gained a reputation as a friendly environment, accepting of individuals from all walks of life. As early as the 1950s, the restaurant became known as a local safe haven for the LGBTQ community. Annie herself once saw two gay men holding hands under a table in the restaurant and encouraged the couple to hold hands above the table. At Annie’s, the LGBTQ community could freely engage in getting to know each other at a time when society at large–and the federal government–rejected alternative lifestyles and forced many individuals to hide their sexual preferences. Before the widespread establishment of gay bars and nightclubs in the 1970s, restaurants like Annie’s were critical for DC’s LGBTQ community to meet and socially interact.

DC became an LGBTQ regional epicenter in the early twentieth century, during the post-Civil War Great Migration. The District’s growing community was not openly welcomed; rather, it was forced to develop largely in secret. By the mid-twentieth century, the LGBTQ community increasingly settled in specific areas of the city, and one of these areas was Dupont Circle. As the nation’s capital, DC was central to the LGBTQ civil rights campaign. Solidarity remained important within this increasingly politicized context, and it was critical for LGBTQ individuals to find safe havens where they could gather and socialize.

Paramount Steakhouse at 1519 Seventeenth Street NW (date unknown)

Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse built its ties to the LGBTQ community in its original location at 1519 Seventeenth Street and maintained those ties when it moved to its current location at 1609-1611 Seventeenth Street. The High Heel Race, a popular Dupont circle event, began in 1986 as a sprint between JR’s Bar (at 1519 Seventeenth Street) and Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse (at 1609-1611 Seventeenth Street). The annual event still concludes at Annie’s. Since 2010, when gay marriage became legal in DC, Annie’s has been the site of numerous weddings for same-sex couples. Although Annie Katinas Kaylor passed away in 2013 and George Katinas in 2014, the restaurant is still owned and operated by the Katinas family and continues be a significant local LGBTQ site.

Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse meets DC Inventory Criterion A for its association with events that contributed significantly to the heritage and culture of DC, and DC Inventory Criterion B for its association with social movements and groups that contributed significantly to the heritage and culture of DC.

If designated, Annie’s Paramount Steakhouse will join the Slowe-Burrill House, the Dr. Franklin E. Kameny House, and the Furies Collective in the DC Inventory of Historic Sites for its association with the LGBTQ history in the District of Columbia.

Click here to read the complete nomination, written by EHT Traceries.

Update: the Historic Preservation Review Board voted unanimously in support of the designation!

DC Preservation League Testimony Re: Comprehensive Plan Amendment Act of 2020

Testimony to the Committee on the Whole
B23-0736 – Comprehensive Plan Amendment Act of 2020
Friday, November 13, 2020

Good afternoon, Chairman Mendelson and members of the Committee of the Whole. My name is Rebecca Miller, Executive Director of the DC Preservation League (DCPL), Washington’s citywide nonprofit that for the past 49 years has been dedicated to advocating for the preservation and protection of the historic and built environment of our nation’s capital. I am pleased to be here today and thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony on the Comprehensive Plan Amendment Act of 2020.

To start, DCPL would like to align itself with the comments put forward by the Committee of 100 on the Federal City which has studied these amendments extensively and will be submitting more extensive comments for the record. We also agree with the statements yesterday by the Citizen’s Association of Georgetown and the Cleveland Park Historical Society.

DC’s historic preservation law is one of the strongest and most successful ordinances of its kind in the country. We are thus disheartened by continuing efforts to undermine this law by the Office of Planning, questionable decisions by the Mayor’s Agent and some housing activists who blame preservation for the lack of affordable housing in DC. I would remind the Council and the public listening that, according to data provided by the DC Economic Partnership numbers for 2016-2018, 18% of new affordable housing units were developed within historic districts or within projects that had landmark properties. With approximately 20% of the buildings in the District designated, preservation is thus pulling its weight – and organization’s like DCPL and other preservationists are prepared to continue to work with the city to help do more with regards to affordability, economic vitality and sustainability. The city needs to promote affordable housing much more actively in areas where extensive new development is taking place without providing affordable housing for the families and other long-term residents who are being displaced by this new construction.

We have also heard testimony that the city needs to focus more on sustainability and climate change. DCPL couldn’t agree more. In the United States, 43% of carbon emissions and 39% of total energy use is attributed to the construction and operation of buildings. The impact of buildings is even more significant when the greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing building materials is taken into consideration. As a key element in sustainable development, the preservation, reuse and “greening” of existing, and historic buildings present excellent opportunities to reduce our city’s carbon emissions and energy consumption, thus is an important tool in the city’s efforts to combat climate change.

According to the Executive Summary (at page 5):  “phrases like ‘protect neighborhood character,’ which has been documented to have been used to perpetuate racial exclusion and segregation, has been replaced with ‘respect neighborhood character’ to reframe this important objective using an inclusive tone. However, we retained phrases like ‘protect historic resources’ because that remains consistent with our current historic preservation policy.” Yet in more than a dozen areas of the document, “protect” has been replaced with “respect” with regards to historic resources, contrary to the OP’s own explanation of its use of terminology.

This language change is most concerning to DCPL. The Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act of 1978 is quite specific in stating that the “protection, enhancement and perpetuation of properties of historical, cultural and aesthetic merit are in the interests of the health, prosperity and welfare of the people of the District of Columbia.” It is a stated purpose of the law to “protect” properties of historic merit. Hence that word – not the more general “respect” or others that might be substituted – must continue to be used with respect to properties designated under the 1978 law. With more than 40 years of experience with the preservation law, its terminology has generally accepted meaning and the Comp Plan should not attempt to change it.

In a similar vein, I would note that the word “protect” is replaced elsewhere with “preserve” but without defining that term either. Has this word been tested with the public – is it inclusive? Is it preserving the building, the viewshed, the character? For historic properties, we should stick with the language of the 1978 law.

Overall, sorry to say but I will say it, this document has turned into a worthless word soup — the “shall’s” have become “should’s” and other directive words are now merely suggestive ones. What lasting value or value is supposed to be conveyed by the policies to be approved by the Council? Words matter and these small language changes throughout the proposed amendments strip the document of meaning.

DCPL feels strongly that any changes to the Comp Plan need to be consistent and meaningful. The Office of Planning has missed the mark. The City, while thriving in some areas, has planned itself into a corner from an equitable and inclusivity perspective. Nearly two decades of greenlighting projects to attract young professionals at certain income levels has resulted in a glut of overpriced glass rental boxes with a high vacancy rate, and a shortage of affordable units. People want to live in the District. They want livable, walkable, affordable communities. This document falls far short of its stated goals. It is word heavy but lacking real substance and direction for future development and neighborhood planning.

DCPL encourages the Council to reject this bill as currently written and we thank you for the opportunity to present our comments.