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The Community that Became Sursum Corda in DC

by Nena Perry-Brown

Last fall, UrbanTurf took a look at the interesting alley dwelling networks uncovered in a century-old survey conducted in the District. Now, we have a glimpse at what some of those communities looked like.

The Library of Congress has a repository of digitized photographs taken around DC in the 1930s, and a particular series by photographer Carl Mydans highlights a community straddling North Capitol Street, the west half of which was replaced by the Sursum Corda Cooperative in the late 1960s. The Sursum Corda community was recently razed and there are plans in the works to construct a mixed-income, mixed-use development on the site with over 1,100 housing units.

Check out a few of Mydans's images below. 

"View of alley in Northwest Washington, behind North Capitol Street. Blake School in background". Dated November 1935. Click to enlarge.
"Alley dwellings between Pierce Street, L Street, First Street and North Capitol Street". Dated November 1935. Click to enlarge.
"Houses in vicinity of First and L Street". Dated November 1935. Click to enlarge.
"Housing in the vicinity of Pierce Street, L Street, First Street and North Capitol". Dated November 1935. Click to enlarge.
"Alley near L Street, N.W. Blake School in background." Dated November 1935. Click to enlarge.

All photos courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection.

See other articles related to: sursum corda, photography, history, dc history, alleys, alley dwellings

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the-community-that-became-sursum-corda/15123

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