The Lafayette Square Restoration Committee, as well as the local historic district ordinance, does not take demolitions lightly. The apparent collapse on Preston Place just blocks away that I reported on earlier today was just that--a collapse, not a demolition--according to commenter Chris Yunker.
And so, the heavily damaged row house at 1624 Dolman Street did not receive approval for demolition by the Preservation Board during that meeting.
So many times on this blog I cover Preservation Board hearings and lament their outcomes. In this case, I was delighted to walk by the site this November and see it under renovation. The CRO staff report had said the owners found it financially infeasible to repair the structure; I'm glad to see they shored up the money!
To their credit, it was in a pretty pitiful state when the CRO photographed it this past August:
Here's my photograph, from late November:
Dolman Street was originally excluded from Lafayette Square's historic district boundaries. The detrimental effects of this arbitrary exclusion are clear today. Just a block over, on 18th Street, for the extent of the neighborhood, homes that are meticulously restored and maintained are the norm. Yet on Dolman Street, there are still many vacant properties and far too many vacant lots.
I lived in the 1000 block of Dolman Street in 2006. During my stay there, a derelict house across the street succumbed to a powerful storm and collapsed into the street. We had few neighbors as all adjacent homes had been long demolished. And our house even backed to the beautiful Harris Row. The alley between us might as well have been an interstate highway.
Luckily, the intervening years have brought stabilization of some of the properties and even plans for new construction. Case in point: tonight, the Preservation Board will review a proposal to construct a new home atop three vacant lots on the 1200 block of Dolman at the monthly meeting. The CRO staff recommended approval of the designs with some minor modifications. While it would be nice to see a higher density proposal, being able to witness Dolman Street fill up and rejuvenate is a personal pleasure for me.