Saturday, July 22, 2006

Physical Reality:
The only structure along South Capitol Street likely to survive the re-developement: St. Vincent de Paul Church, at the north-east corner of South Capitol's intersection with M Street, first opened to the public April 1904.

The third illustration shows St. Vincent de Paul Church relocated approximately 250 feet east to retain its historic position at the north east corner if the intersection of South Capitol and M Streets, with the intersection reconfigured to accomodate the green way.

This would not have been the first time that a historical religious structure was relocated for a public purpose. In 1969 this was done, with a far greater distance of relocation, with the Adas Israel Synagogue -- Washington, D.C.'s oldest extant synagogue that first opened in 1876 -- which was moved 4 blocks to accommodate WMATA subway construction.

In 1969 the Adas Israel Synagogue was lifted up from its historic location at the corner of 6th and G Street NW, for a 4 block trip to its current location at 3rd and G Street.

This relocation placed this Synagogue next to the portion of the below grade I-95 (I-395) Center Leg, constructed from the SW Freeway to Massachusetts Avenue NW (1966-1973). It is immediately at the southbound on-ramp to the freeway, where this ramp would not allow adding a continious deck, being hidden from view from the ramp by a row of trees, which are visible to the left in the photo below.

Although the I-95 Center Leg is now known as the I-395 3rd Street Tunnel (having two cut and cover tunnel segments, one beneath the Mall as part of the 1966-1973 project; and a second segment northward from Massachusetts Avenue NW to K Street NW, in a latter 1978-1982 project), this segment is not a tunnel, and which lacks even cross over bridge for either G or F Streets NW.

The far shorter needed relocation of St. Vincent de Paul Church would avoid lifting it onto the streets, via an excavation to its rear allowing it to be moved laterally, with the excavation continuous to its new location at what is now Half Street SE. Such an excavation would have the added benefit of creating new underground space for parking facilities, and for a portion of a parallel vehicular tunnel, saving millions of dollars.

Illustration: (Jacqueline Dupree)

This blogger is not aware of any formal consideration given to this idea, nor any media references at all to the St. Vincent de Paul Church/South Capitol Mall issue, nor anything about negotiations between D.C. and U.S. government and Roman Catholic Church officials.

However, that pit, which is directly behind St. Vincent de Paul Church, is the substructure for a new office building -- 20 M Street -- which started construction about September 2005. This new building, the first to be built within the one block to either side of South Capitol Street, is perfectly situated to block the idea of this easiest relocation. Note the rear of St. Vincent de Paul Church to the left in this rendering.

20 M Street web site: Enterprises web site:

20 M Street is a project owned by Lerner Enterprises, which is headed by Theodore Lerner, born in 1925 in Washington, D.C. On May 4, 2006 it was publically announced that he had been "chosen" to purchase the Nationals baseball team franchise that will run the new Nationals Stadium that will be built on this same -- east -- side of South Capitol Street, directly 2 blocks to the south.

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Ph.D., D.D.
Archbishop of Washington Dioceses, which runs St. Vincent de Paul Church.

McCarrick, born July 7, 1930 in New York City, was installed as Archbishop of Washington on January 2, 2001, and held that position until May 16, 2006. He is listed as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. NE at:

Biography at:

Illustration: crop from 2002 D.C. Baseball stadium study with St. Vincent de Paul Church shown as the sole surviving existing building along South Capitol Street's east side.


Douglas A. Willinger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

Formatting appears to have been restored.