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Is a Howard University Historic District in the Works?

by Nena Perry-Brown

Map of potential Howard University Historic District. Click to enlarge.

Last spring, Howard University filed an updated campus plan with the Zoning Commission. This update also includes a study that may inspire a potential application to establish a historic district around the university.

As the application documents explain:

"It is clear that the Howard University Central Campus contains a number of historic buildings and sites that are not currently designated as historic landmarks or as part of a historic district, but are nevertheless significant to the University and the District as a whole. Many of these resources are not widely recognized outside the campus boundaries today yet play an important role in telling a fuller and more complete history of the University and its role in our city and nation."

The survey of the campus's buildings identified 70 buildings, seven structures, seven sites, and 17 commemorative or artistic objects with historical significance. The buildings include the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, Founders Library, Frederick Douglass Memorial Hall, Oliver Otis Howard Hall, and the off-campus Mary Church Terrell House. Preliminary research on the university, its campus, and its resources indicate that the identified items and locations are eligible for designation on the National Register. 

As for a potential historic district, the boundaries would extend roughly between Harvard and Bryant Streets from Georgia Avenue to Fourth Street NW. Howard University plans to work with the Historic Preservation Office after the campus plan is implemented to ensure proper care for the university's historic resources in the built environment.

The proposed changes to the Howard University campus plan will go before the Zoning Commission later this month.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/is-a-howard-university-historic-district-in-the-works/17703

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