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Funkstown – DC History Center to Host FBA Map Project

By Frank Leone

The Foggy Bottom Association History Project House History Map has a new home at the DC History Center (formerly the Historical Society of Washington D.C., founded in 1894). The Foggy Bottom Historic District House History Map uses an interactive database to link 250 individual House History pages, recounting house narratives, vintage and recent photos, and documents, with historic map overlays showing resident and ownership information. The individual House History pages are maintained at the FBA website (thanks to FBA Board Member Sadie Cornelius for her technical assistance). The Map portion of the project (which was created by Brian Kraft pursuant to an FBA Trust grant) requires a location that can run the necessary (ArcGIS) software.

House History Map showing 1880 census data and the diversity present in Foggy Bottom at that time – green represents Irish households, white identifies non-Irish whites, and black identifies African Americans.

Enter the DC History Center, which has agreed to host the map. The Center’s Executive Director Laura Brower Hagood and Deputy Director Anne McDonough praised the innovative map project and wondered if it could “serve as a prototype for other Historic Districts” in the city. It’s a perfect partnership as the Center’s mission is “reach into all eight wards to preserve, and elevate the stories of Washington’s diverse people, neighborhoods, and institutions.”

Moreover, the Center is publicizing the project, allowing it to reach a much larger audience, including those who can share their stories of old Foggy Bottom. To access the map project through the Center, go to their Digital Resources page, which prominently features links to the map (and the Foggy Bottom History Project). FBA House History Map links are also present in DC History’s Library Guides for Researching Building History/neighborhood history and Teaching DC neighborhoods.

Anyone can use the DC History Center resources to research Foggy Bottom houses and add the information to our House History Pages using the submission form or emailing us ( or The Center’s Research Building History page contains links to their photograph collections (can you find pictures of your house), historic newspapers (reporting on past house uses), HistoryQuest (providing information about house construction), City Directories, 1860-1909 (showing prior residents), and deeds since 1921 (showing prior owners).

For example, recently one of our Foggy Bottom neighbors had questions about when her house was built and she sought out the Center for assistance. (Realtors often refer to pre-1900 houses as having a 1900 construction date.) Through research with the librarian at the Center, she was able to uncover when the building permit was issued (1880) along with information about adjoining row homes. She reviewed the DC Historic Building Permits Database and found her and five adjoining houses (## 900, 902, 904, 906, 908, 910 25th St.). The building permit, #1538, was dated June 5, 1880, and was for 13 X 28 foot brick dwellings, each costing $500. The owner/developer for all six houses was C.B. Pearson.

The DC History Center occupies the beautiful old D.C. Carnegie Library (DC History Center)

By making an appointment on-line, you can also visit the Center’s Kiplinger Library (located on the upper level of the beautiful former Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square, 801 K St. NW). At the library, you can review vertical files, real estate maps, numerous books, recent City Directories, and more. Don’t be surprised to find an Apple Store in the first level of the building.

Last year, the History Project shared information on the Map and the FBA at the D.C. History Conference’s History Network. We met some interesting people who had some stories to tell – one attendee shared stories about her family, which once lived above the store, now the 7-11, on New Hampshire Avenue. We hope present a poster at the 2024 History Conference. You are welcome to attend this exciting (and free) event, April 4-6, 2024.

You can also attend the DC History Center’s annual Holiday Party and Book Talk on Thursday, December 7th at 5:30 to 7:30 p, at the Carnegie Library. The book talk features Kim Hoagland, author of The Row House in Washington, DC: A History, and Kim Williams, author of Hidden Alleyways of Washington, DC: A History in conversation with Daniel del Pielago of Empower DC. (Both of their books discuss Foggy Bottom!). Register here and learn more about DC History Center membership here. We thank DC History Center for their partnership.



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