In historic 'first,' AOI membership elects the organization's first woman President...
At its monthly membership luncheon meeting and annual elections on November 16, 2018, the AOI membership unanimously elected its slate of Officers and Directors for the 2019 membership year. As the new leader of the organization, Jan Evans (AOI's first woman admitted in the early 1970's and D.C. brewer Christian Heurich's granddaughter) is the first woman in AOI's history to serve as its President. Mrs. Evans has served as the organization's Vice-President (also a 'first') since 2014.
As the monthly business meeting proceeded, Nominating Chair Barbara Drechsler conducted the annual election, President Evans provided some welcoming remarks, the business meeting continued leading up to the guest speaker John Kelly ("Washington Post" columnist) speaking on the District's "Lost Laws," the excitement of the event was captured and the history and origins of the AOI recorded by WAMU-FM's Mikaela Lefrak and broadcast on NPR's "Morning Edition" on Thursday, November 29, 2018. Read and/or listen to the story by following this link:
D.C.’s ‘Oldest Inhabitants Association’ Is Not As Stodgy As It Sounds
Here are the Officers and Directors for the 2020 membership year:
AOI's Officers and Board of Directors for 2020-21
Thomas H. Neale, President (Term 2020)
Jan A.K. Evans, Vice President (2020)
John P. Richardson, Secretary (2020)
Hulit Pressley Taylor, Treasurer (2020)
Nelson Rimensnyder, Historian (2020)
Jim Embrey, Fire Department Liaison
Margaret (Maggie) Hobbs, Director (2021)
Jessica Hodge, Director (2021)
Gary Scott, Director (2021)
Barbara Bates, Director (2020)
William N. Brown, Director (2020)
Carl Cole, Director (2020)
All officers are elected at the November luncheon meeting and serve until the following November.
In the News, Now...
Several AOI members were recently featured on WAMU-FM's "Metro Connection" regarding an old issue dealing with segregation in Washington, D.C. -- were there, in fact, "Colored Only" signs in D.C. in 1939? It is fascinating to hear how this story unfolds. Hear AOI members Carolivia Herron, Kesh Ladduwahetty, Georgia Herron, Sally Berk's mother Betty Lichtenstein and Charles Cassell, relate all of this to Rebecca Shier: Click here to play this segment
The 1940 Census Opens a Window to the Past...
and the Washington Times' Luke Rosiak describes from first hand accounts, what some Washingtonians remember of their neighborhoods, including AOI Members Ruth Johnson, Sherwood Smith and Vernon Tancil.
Read the full text here: "Privacy Veil Lifted" and
"Region Radically Different"
For the latest developments in the DC War Memorial controversy, the centennial celebration planning for World War I or AOI's efforts to redevelop, enhance and rededicate Pershing Park as a National World War I Memorial, click here to go to DC War Memorial Controversy page.
To review the AOI's to commemorate and call attention to the 90th Anniversary of the District of Columbia 16th Street World War I Tree Memorial, click here.
150th Anniversary of Arlington National Cemetery and the Re-designation of the "Old Amphitheater" as the James Tanner Amphitheater
On May 30th, 2014, Decoration Day, AOI President Bill Brown provided remarks reflecting the re-dedication of the Old Amphitheater in honor of Corporal James Tanner. His remarks are preceded by Hail Columbia performed by the United States Army Band Brass Quintet and followed by Amazing Grace.
As the sesquicentennial of the Battle of Fort Stevens will be observed on July 11, 2014, his remarks focused on a recent presentation by Dr. Benjamin Franklin Cooling, III on Jubal Early's attempt to invade Washington, D.C.
Every year, the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War hold an annual Decoration Day ceremony to follow in the tradition established by the Grand Army of the Republic which SUVCW succeeded.
Listen to the 6 minute clip below...
2015 Annual Commemoration Day Ceremony of the SUVCW at the James Tanner Amphitheater, Arlington National Cemetery
View from the dais of the James Tanner Amphitheater, Saturday, May 30, 2015.
AOI Calls Attention to the Building Height Act
In June 2009, the AOI membership passed a resolution calling for the recognition of 2010 as the Centennial Year of the 1910 Building Height Act. The resolution was sent to 14 government agencies, historic preservation groups and city officials requesting they include/consider the importance of the Building Height Act in any conferences, panels or programs they had planned for 2010. We received positive responses from a number of organizations but most replied that while they recognized the importance of the centennial, they currently had no plans for programs which might incorporate the subject into their agendas; however, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the National Capital Planning Commission has recognized the Building Height Act by providing an historic perspective to it on the home page of their web site (www.ncpc.gov). Their links provide not only a narrative but a 3 minute video as well. To view these, use one of the following links:
Click here to link to the NCPC Web Site or
Click here for NCPC's Building Height Act discussion or
Click here to view NCPC's video on the Building Height Act
The Building Height Act is again in the news as D.C. officials discuss possible modifications to it with Rep. Issa of California and the NCPC seeks input through a series of public meetings. If you don't think permitting highrise buildings in the District, particularly near its outlying Metro Stations, just look at the center photo above to see how Arlington County's Rosslyn skyline looms over our National Mall!
Click here to read AOI's Resolution
The Committee of 100 on the Federal City will sponsor an evening symposium on the Building Height Act, Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010 from 6:30 - 8:30 PM at the Sumner School Museum & Archives. For more information check the C100's website at: Committee of 100
On July 19, 2012, hearings were held by the House Oversight Committee on the District of Columbia regarding possible changes to the District's building height restrictions. This link to the House website will also take you to the printed testimony of several witnesses including the District's Planning Director, the NCPC and the Committee of 100's Laura Richards.
Fall 2013 developments in proposed changes to the Height Act:
Here is the testimony of AOI President Bill Brown before the D.C. City Council encouraging them to pass a resolution against changes to the Height Act and another letter to the National Capital Planning Commission urging no changes to the Height Act.
Click here so you can read the Executive Director's Recommendations of the NCPC.
Read the "Washington Post's" Mike DeBonis' article on the most recent NCPC actions.
View the DC Council Ceremonial Resolution and transmittal letter to Rep. Issa from Chairman Mendelson which opposes changes to the Height of Buildings Act.
While there are still 'dangers,' threats and opportunities to undermine the historic Height of Buildings Act, we are somewhat relieved -- at this point -- of the final recommendations that the NCPC will forward to Congress. However, as the Committee of 100's Chair Nancy MacWood warns in an email to members, "We achieved a good result at NCPC earlier this week, but the risk to the Height Act protections is not over. The Mayor and Office of Planning have indicated that they intend to ignore the impressive number of citizens and organizations who are joined in opposing changes to the Height Act." Read U.S. Commission on Fine Arts Secretary Thomas Leubke's letter to the NCPC on the Heights of Building Act of 11-26-2013.
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Issa held a hearing entitled, "Changes to the Heights Act: Shaping Washington, D.C. for the Future, Part II" on Dec. 2 at 10am in Room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Read AOI's Statement for the Record here.
For a very good comparison of what different relaxations of the Height Act would look like, see this article from the Washington Post Magazine, Sept. 13, 2013. It is interactive in that you can select which height you want to simulate (e.g., "Now", "130'", "160'", etc.)
Also, read The Washington Post's "Answer Man" John Kelly's story where he picks up on Fox TV's "Minority Report" crime series to discuss a future 'vision' of the District in 2065. The print version's headline is, "To Preservationist, TV show's D.C. of the future is a crime foretold." The on-line version is, "What’s Josiah Bartlet doing in Fox TV’s ‘Minority Report’?"
Let's hope that attempts to alter the heights permitted for DC buildings has, for all purposes, been put to rest.
Congressional Cemetery Commemorates the Sesquicentennial of the Arsenal Explosion with
Est. 1865, Inc. 1903, (c) 2019