Since January, 2003
 (a random before-and-after moment)
April 11, 2004
June 28, 2007
New Jersey at L, Looking East-Northeast (see more)

History is in the air this week!
* SHIP DOCKING: The Pride of Baltimore II, a reproduction of an 1812-era topsail schooner privateer that bills itself "America's Star-Spangled Ambassador," will be docking at the Navy Yard from Wednesday, Aug. 20 through Monday, Aug. 25. Free public tours will be available from 1 pm to 4 pm each day.
In conjunction with the Pride's arrival, the U.S. Navy Museum is holding several events on Sunday, Aug. 24, including riverwalk cannon salutes at 1:15 and 3:15 pm. There will also programs in and around the Museum that day, including performances by the Chanteymen and more. (I'd link to a web page with details on the museum's offerings on Sunday, but can't find one anywhere.) Going to the Navy Museum requires entry at the O Street Gate on 11th Street, SE.
(And, on a side note, because I know people will ask, the Douglass Bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic from 2 am to 5 am late tonight/tomorrow morning to "allow water traffic to pass." Not a stretch to guess that these are related items.)
* SHINER LECTURE: Did you know that a slave named Michael Shiner, born in 1813, kept a diary of life in and around the Washington Navy Yard, where he started working as a child? It apparently recorded all manner of day-to-day observations of both citywide events and neighborhood details, and on Saturday, Aug. 23 at 10 am, there will be a lecture about the diary and its significance, given by Leslie Anderson. It's at 200 I Street, SE, so be sure to bring a government-issued ID to get in the building. The lecture is being presented by the Near Southeast Community Partners.
(A walking tour about the Navy Yard neighborhood of 1814 is happening at 11:30 am on Saturday, but it's all booked. Oops.)
UPDATE: One more bit of more recent history I can pass along. Not too different from my early shots, except to see that the site of the self-storage building wasn't quite so monolithic. And more gas stations, naturally.
Comments (8)
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MJM says: (8/19/14 10:40 PM)
Wow - that picture of from the mid/late 60s (?) is classic. Only one building remains - amazing.

Ed says: (8/20/14 1:07 PM)
Pride of Baltimore II is a beautiful ship and she is well worth the trip to Navy Yard piers. In a terrible tragedy, the Pride I and four crew members where lost at sea during a storm.

With storm risks in mind, the Pride II was built to modern design standards with an engine. Sad to say, that folks living on the Anacostia will not see boats like the Pride after the construction of the South Capitol Street Bridge which is a fixed structure that will not open for tall ships.

JoeNdc says: (8/20/14 2:29 PM)
I agree Ed, a shame indeed. The bridge design should incorporate an opening mechanism to allow for larger vessels. Without it makes the historic Navy Yard somewhat of an afterthought to some extent. A sad thought really.

I suppose the SW waterfront will get that type of traffic and the tourism traffic & dollars it will draw.


conngs0 says: (8/20/14 3:47 PM)
Is that a done deal? I haven't followed this project nearly as much as I should, but I thought the Navy had to agree to sacrifice the drawbridge concept.

I agree it'd be sad to forgo the possibility of receiving the occasional visit from a tall ship like the Pride of Baltimore II, but that wouldn't justify the cost of a drawbridge. What are the chances of the Navy Yard attracting the types of shipbuilding that would make a drawbridge necessary and cost effective?

JD says: (8/20/14 4:19 PM)
My sense was that the city is saying "we're moving forward with no swing span, but if the feds feel it's necessary, they're welcome to pay for it and we'll do it."

Ed says: (8/21/14 7:54 AM)
Recently at a social gathering in Baltimore, I had a conversation with one the bridge architects responsible for the new South Capitol Street Bridge designs. He explained that the DDOT bridge construction contract is awarded on price and design.

Off the record, he lamented that without very strong citizen input for a strong design statement the lowest cost design would win the day. The "vanilla" bridge design with no drawbridge that traps the Barry on the north side of the bridge and keeps the tall ships on the Potomac side of the bridge is in our future. The city will do more if ciizens pay attention

conngs0 says: (8/21/14 10:04 AM)
In a vacuum, I think it's a no-brainer to build the biggest and nicest drawbridge possible. But I'm more focused on where the savings from going with the "vanilla" design would be allocated. If the money saved on the "vanilla" South Capitol Street bridge goes to enhancing the 11th Street SE bridge park project and/or getting the M Street SE and soccer stadium street car lines going, I'm totally fine with letting the tall ships occasionally visit SW/Waterfront or even National Harbor.

JD says: (8/21/14 10:42 AM)
It's funny--my sense always was that the swing span necessity would hold back a grander design, that without one they would have more options.

The Commission on Fine Arts (I think, or NCPC) was definitely not pleased with the current design. Some linkage on it all in this post: link

I was always in favor of what appears to be the simplest design (the arched bascule) because it would have wide bike/ped paths on the outside edge of both sides of the bridge, while the others (like the stayed cable or whatever it's called) would only have one path, right in the middle of the bridge. I also have always loved Memorial Bridge as a very simple but very wide and majestic approach to the city, and imagine that this could be similar, if the streetscape of it and South Capitol to the north is done right.

But even without an upwell of citizen advocacy, the kabillion federal agencies with oversight over DC's development projects are certainly wanting something that makes a bit more of a statement for this very important approach.

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