Tuesday, July 7, 2009

After Half-Century On the Hill, Beloved Trover Shop Comes To the Last Chapter

From the Washington Post web site
Bookstore enthusiasts walking along Pennsylvania Avenue during lunch break yesterday were confronted with sobering news: After 51 years in business on Capitol Hill, Trover Shop is closing.

Bright-orange fliers announcing 20 percent off merchandise were taped around the shop before the 7 a.m. opening. In the window, a letter began: "It is with great sadness that we inform you of our plans to close our Capitol Hill location, but given the current economic climate and the changes in our industry, we are faced with no other viable option."

"Oh, my goodness gracious. It's been here forever," said customer Annette Alsop, who was flipping through a magazine when she spotted the going-out-of-business signs. "I didn't even notice. I'm stunned."

Customers and employees reminisced yesterday about the boldface names who had visited Trover for book signings -- Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, Barbara Walters and Larry King, to name a few -- or simply to pick up a good read.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Capitol Hill Town Square team presents options

From the Greater Greater Washington web site
Last night, the Capitol Hill Town Square project team presented three options for improving the plaza where Pennsylvania Avenue intersects 8th Street, at the Eastern Market Metro station. The plans ranged from minor landscaping improvements and traffic calming to modifying the route of Pennsylvania Avenue through the site.

The study began with residents and business groups who envisioned turning this plaza into a "town square" for the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Currently, busy Pennsylvania Avenue bisects the area into two very separate sections, and the disjointed feel divides the commercial corridors on 7th and Pennsylvania northwest of the site from Barracks Row on 8th to the south. Other squares from the original L'Enfant Plan, like Stanton Square, became true parks thanks to the roadways running around, rather than through, the site.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pimp my Safeway: Redevelopment potential for the Capitol Hill Safeway

From the Greater Greater Washington web site
This past spring, Georgetown's "Social Safeway" closed so that it can be torn down and rebuilt. The new Safeway will be a two-story building with street-facing stores along the sidewalk, the grocery store on the second floor, and parking behind. Farther up Wisconsin, a Giant supermarket is also pursuing a new urban design that will "replace bland, single-story buildings and large surface parking lots along Wisconsin Ave and Idaho Ave with an appropriately scaled mixed-use project that will engage the street with many individual stores and residences." These are good plans and we need to urbanize more suburban-style grocery stores in the District. The next such site should be the "UnSafeway" at 415 14th St, SE.

This Capitol Hill Safeway's site has a colorful history. In the late 19th century it was the site of a brewery that in 1891 became Albert Carry's National Capital Brewery.

The main brewing building was 135 ft. tall, not including the flag towers, 94 feet wide and 137 ft. deep. A substantial stables and a huge icehouse operation flanked the building. On opening the brewery had nine large wagons pulled by 30 "Percheron" horses. The ice house was powered by two, 80 horsepower, steam engines and could produce 50 tons of ice running at maximum. The brewery's output capacity was a staggering 100,000 barrels annually. Since a barrel contained about 30 gallons, the brewery produced and sold more than 24 million pints of beer in its heyday."
It operated for more than 20 years (serving as the site of a notorious murder mystery in 1912). After Prohibition, like many other breweries, it was converted to an ice cream factorythe Carry Ice Cream Company. It was a complete success. Meadow Gold bought the company in 1918, becoming one of the first companies to sell the Dixie Cup.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Memorial for Wherley, wife set for Monday

From the Voice of the Hill web site
Even after logging thousands of hours flying fighter planes and tackling myriad challenges in a distinguished 40-year military career, Maj. Gen. David F. Wherley Jr. always said his toughest challenge was navigating the bureaucracy to get funding for a program to rescue at-risk youth.

Wherley and his wife, Ann, both 62, were among the nine victims who died in the Fort Totten Metrorail accident on June 22. They lived on Capitol Hill.

A memorial service for the couple is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m. at 2001 East Capitol St. SE. They will be buried Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery. A procession to the cemetery will leave from the DC Armory at 10 a.m.

A recently retired commanding general with the D.C. National Guard and veteran Air Force fighter pilot, Wherley was remembered this week by neighbors and colleagues for his efforts to establish the Capital Guardian Youth Challenge Academy in 2006.

“He always felt that D.C. should have the same benefits as any other state,” said Maj. Shane Doucet, a plans and programs officer with the D.C. National Guard. “He worked tirelessly with the city and the Department of Defense to come up with the funding. He was totally committed to the academy and constantly bragged about those kids and how it was going to change their lives.”

Most states match federal appropriations available for the academies, which operate a 17-month self-improvement and leadership program for high school dropouts. For years, D.C. youth were eligible to participate in Maryland, but the District did not have its own program. Wherley sought the help of his Capitol Hill neighbor, Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., who sits on the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations and whose home state funds a Youth Challenge Academy.

In 2006, Wherley obtained $500,000 in federal funds and, with backing from former D.C. mayor Anthony Williams, another $300,000 from the District to establish the academy, Doucet said. In a speech to employers and law enforcement officials in 2007, Wherley promised to win tuition assistance for the program — and he did, Doucet added, to the tune of $400,000 in District and federal funds.

“He was a self-confessed introvert who was not all that into politics,” Doucet said. “But he’d get emotional when he talked about the program and the kids, and he got it done.”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009