Sadly this report would be more interesting (though completely irrelevant to this site) if the house in question was a crackhouse. Or a brothel. Or the house where Robert Wone was murdered (though now owned by someone else).
No, residents and preservationists gathered together to demonstrate against the demolition of the house. You see, the house is falling apart. It's a late 19th Century home. It has no particular historical significance beyond it looks like most of the other houses on the block. It is awfully nice looking, I'll give it that--except for the fact it's been condemned and is on the verge of collapse.
The house is owned by a George Washington University professor, and apparently was run as an apartment house for many years. Until it was judged to be unsafe for occupancy. According to a DC Preservation League press release, the owner of the home did not have a license from DCRA to rent the property.
OK, I'll give them a few points here. 1) Regulation is important to protect tenants, and 2) Slumlords are bad and can put people's lives in danger.
That all being said, however, I have a few questions.
- Why are they not protesting outside of the owner's current residence? This address was published in the press release about the protest.
- Why is the main thrust of this protest to protect the "historical" property, and not to focus on the real dangers that can happen when people rent out unsafe properties?
- Why not protest outside DCRA?
- Have you tweeted to @DCRA about this?
So here we're going to have a bunch of stuffy "preservationists" strap themselves to a house to block the bulldozers. I wonder how many of the people at the protest illegally rent out their English Basement apartments?
I saw the group of people while I was waiting for a bus at 16th and U tonight. I didn't happen to see if they had any clever signs. Maybe "honk if you're horny for historical houses."