Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House

The Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House, also known as the Navy Yard Car Barn, or Blue Castle, is an historic building, located at 770 M Street, Southeast, Washington, D.C.[2]

Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House
Blue Castle - Washington, D.C..jpg
Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House in 2008
Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House is located in Washington, D.C.
Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House
Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House is located in the District of Columbia
Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House
Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House is located in the United States
Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House
Location770 M Street, S.E., Washington, D.C.
Coordinates38°52′44″N 76°59′45″W / 38.87889°N 76.99583°W / 38.87889; -76.99583Coordinates: 38°52′44″N 76°59′45″W / 38.87889°N 76.99583°W / 38.87889; -76.99583
Built1893
Architectural styleRomanesque Revival
NRHP reference No.06000516[1]
Added to NRHPNovember 14, 2006

ArchitectureEdit

The Romanesque Revival building was designed by Walter C. Root in 1891.[3] The most distinctive features are on the southeast facade, including towers that mimic a medieval castle.[2] The building was enlarged in 1909 to fill the western half of the block with a one-story addition that is not as stylistically ornate, but mimics the original design.[2]

HistoryEdit

The car barn was one of four facilities designed by Root for the Washington and Georgetown Railroad when it was planning an expansion of its cable car service in the 1890s.[2] The Navy Yard was the terminus of a cable car route that ran up 8th Street to Pennsylvania Avenue, continuing to Georgetown.[4] The car barn was used to turn around the cars and ready them for their next trip across the city.[3]

The railway was acquired by the Capital Traction Company in 1895, and after a fire destroyed the main powerhouse in 1897, the cable cars were replaced with electric.[2][5] in the electric car era, the barn was primarily used for storage, and it was expanded for this purpose in 1909.[2][5]

Streetcar service in DC ended in 1962, and several of the retired streetcars were stored in the Navy Yard Car Barn.[6] The tracks leading into the car barn were paved over in 1963, whereupon the building was used as a bus garage.[3][7] The building was later sold, was leased by the United States Department of Labor and was used to store records until the mid-1970s. The building was then abandoned.[2]

The National Park Service added the building to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) on November 14, 2006.[8] It is only Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company building to survive the cable car era, which was one of the reasons that the NPS decided to add it to the NHRP.[3]

RedevelopmentEdit

The 770 Limited Partnership of Bethesda, Maryland purchased the building during the 1990s, whereupon the structure was used for office space and a small restaurant. During that time, the building was painted bright blue.[2]

In 2005, Preferred Real Estate Investments, Inc., bought the building and made plans to use it for retail space. At the time, the building held three charter schools.[7] In January 2008, Madison Marquette Real Estate Services purchased the building, held it as an investment and used its space for offices.[9]

In 2014, Madison Marquette sold the building to the National Community Church. The new owner then began to renovate the building, which it renamed "The Capital Turnaround". The church also made plans to repurpose the building for use as an indoor marketplace, a child development center and a 1000-seat event space in which the church would conduct services.[9][10][11]

In 2019, a church spokesperson stated that the organization would restore the building's historic coloration, rather than retain its blue tint.[11] Although the spokesperson stated that a tenant, the Richard Wright Public Charter School, was constructing a new facility, the school was still using the "Capital Turnaround" in 2021.[11][12]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Trieschmann, Laura V.; Bunting, Jennifer J., Architectural Historians, EHT Traceries, Inc., Washington, D.C. (April 2005). "Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House". National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. In "Navy Yard Car Barn (Washington & Georgetown Railroad Car House)". DC Historic Sites. Washington, D.C.: DC Preservation. Archived from the original on May 6, 2019. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Tristani, Nina (September 10, 2018). "The Blue Castle: Ask The Hill Historian". HillRag.
  4. ^ Finn, Catherine (March 27, 2011). "Looking Back: Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House". dcist.
  5. ^ a b "Lost Capitol Hill: The Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House". 19 April 2010.
  6. ^ Bruske, Ed (September 14, 1979). "At the End of the Line, Memories Still Clang". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ a b Hedgpeth, Dana (2005-12-26). "Developer Buys 'Blue Castle' in Southeast". From The Ground Up. The Washington Post. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  8. ^ "Washington and Georgetown Railroad Car House". NPGallery: Digital Asset Management System. Washington, D.C.: United States Department of the Interior: National Park Service. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Madison Marquette (Nov 24, 2014). "Madison Marquette Announces Sale of Navy Yard Car Barn". Cision PR Newswire. Chicago, Illinois: Cision Distribution. Archived from the original on September 14, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  10. ^ (1) Neibauer, Michael (November 4, 2014). "National Community Church to acquire Blue Castle, expand Barracks Row portfolio". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
    (2) Neibauer, Michael (November 14, 2014). "Madison Marquette, National Community Church close the Blue Castle deal". Washington Business Journal. Archived from the original on November 17, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  11. ^ a b c O’Gorek, Elizabeth (October 6, 2019). "No Longer Blue: Church Renovates Navy Yard Car Barn: Plans Include Interior Market, Early Childhood Care Center". HillRag. Washington, D.C.: Capital Community News. Archived from the original on July 17, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  12. ^ "Richard Wright Public Charter School". Capital Riverfront. Washington, D.C.: Capitol Riverfront BID. 2021. Archived from the original on March 3, 2021. Retrieved July 15, 2021.

External linksEdit