Don’t Let Our Name Mislead You!
We’re a vibrant organization for young and old alike. As Washington’s oldest civic organization, we’re dedicated to preserving D.C.’s heritage. Our programs feature history, civic improvements and business recognition.
Please join us as we work to:
- Preserve the L’Enfant and McMillan Plans
- Support the preservation of the District of Columbia's historic records
- Support the DC History Center/Historical Society of Washington at Mount Vernon Square
- Preserve the District's Civil War Fortifications
- Maintain and preserve the District's Memorials
Testimonials and Reviews:
"...to keep alive the reminiscences of the past and the social and paternal communications of the present and future... in an effort to restore the capital’s dignity plagued by lingering and divisive sectional loyalties following the Civil War."
By-laws and constitution, December 7, 1865.
"The Association of the Oldest Inhabitants... has, against all logic been born again. Or, at least, become younger, more inclusive and more vigorous. It is Washington’s living archive..."
Sara Booth Conroy, The Washington Post, Aug. 30, 1993.
"...this Association’s...main function is reminiscent and preservative. It fosters the loyalty of the Washingtonian to Washington, the self-respect of the Washingtonian, and the affection and pride which he feels in his own and the Nation’s Capital."
Theodore Noyes, President, Dec. 7, 1907.
AOI Finding Aid at the Kiplinger Library of The Historical Society of Washington On-line Research
AOI and the DC Fire Department (now DC Fire & EMS)
While few members remain who recall the days when the AOI was headquartered in the old firehouse at 19th & H Streets, NW (now the location of the World Bank), many still hold dear the history the AOI has with the (now-defunct) Veteran Volunteers Fire Association. Today, several AOI members are retired from the DC Fire Department and are active in maintaining our working relationship with the agency, including the safe storage of our antique fire apparatus.
Learn more about the history of D.C. Firefighting, visit the Friendship Fire Association Museum.
Watch a history of the AOI narrated by Knight Kiplinger in 2016 for AOI's "Making History Award" presented by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., now the D.C. History Center.
AOI Projects, Milestones & Accomplishments
> Supports the DC History Center/Historical Society of Washington D.C. and its Kiplinger Library through grants, document conservation, internships and program support.
> Awards a George Washington University Master of Tourism Studies graduate student the Highest Academic Achievement Award, now the Philip W.Ogilvie Award
> Works to preserve the District's historic records (DC Archives, Washingtoniana Division of the DCPL, the Sumner School Museum & Archives, the Kiplinger Research Library of the HSW and the Recorder of Deeds).
- A DC Quarter Coin
- Return of the DC Postal Cancellation
- Maintaining the DC Flag's Award-winning Design
- The re-opening of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House
- The re-opening of E Street at the White House
- The re-opening of G Street in front of the MLK Library and maintaining the opening of streets around the MCI Center
- Maintaining the opening of streets adjacent to the new DC Convention Center
- The re-opening of 10th Street, NW with the redevelopment of the ‘old’ Convention Center site, now City Center
Additionally, for 108 years, the AOI maintained a unique collection of antique firefighting apparatus and memorabilia which was turned over the Friendship Fire Association Museum in August 2015.
See a photo of Washington brewmaster Christian Heurich at an AOI meeting at the old Union Fire House on July 4, 1944.
AOI's Headquarters that never was to be...
In 1958, congressional legislation was passed that would have given the AOI the right to purchase an old fire house in the 3200 block of M. Street, NW to become its headquarters. It is far too long a story to go into; however, needless to say, the transaction was never completed and the architect's rending of "The AOI's New Clubhouse for Georgetown" (pictured) never came to fruition.
Today, the AOI conserves its financial resources and exercises its fiduciary responsibility by not being encumbered with property ownership or rents.
Read the Washington Post's John Kelly's account of the demise of AOI's historic Union Fire House: An old D.C. firehouse gets taken apart, then lost (Harry Goodwin/ The Washington Post ) Sunday, July 7, 2013.
Est. 1865, Inc. 1903, (c) 2023