May 2021
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The L'Enfant Trust Logo Preserving Washington's Historic Communities


It's preservation month--a time when we always take a moment to pause and reflect on the work that we do here at the Trust and in the preservation field at-large. This year, during a spring that has felt particularly symbolic, it feels especially important.

As preservationists, we always spend a lot of time thinking about resilience and adaptation. We think about the patterns of development that initially created the built environment of the District and how the changes to the city are in constant flux. We think about longevity of materials and workmanship and about appropriate modifications to allow for modern needs and usage. We think about the inherent environmentalism of maintaining, repairing and reimagining old buildings and their parts. We think about the layers of history in the spaces we occupy: the pandemics and social justice reckonings and economic crises of the past that occurred within the same walls that so many of us call home today.  We think about how the stewardship of these places connects us to those past stories, and our position on a timeline that reaches beyond us.
The past year has highlighted the relationship to our homes in such a profound way--with so much increased time spent there, and so many adapting their spaces for better accommodations, or finally getting around to deferred projects. And with so many others threatened with losing their homes entirely. 

We feel this connection to the meaning of home acutely because the majority of the 1,150 Conservation Easements we hold in the District are on residential properties, and because the aim of our Historic Properties Redevelopment Program is to bring vacant, distressed historic properties that the traditional real estate market will not support back into productive use. We understand that the buildings we call home, especially historic structures, cannot survive without resiliency and adaptation. Reviving and reusing materials from our past to honor all those that came before us and to serve the needs of people today.
UMD students on a tour in Historic Anacostia


Even as last year has been so challenging, we are reminded of the positive impact preservation can have on communities, inspired by fresh and diverse perspectives in the ongoing conversation, and always looking for new connections and partnerships that align with our mission and projects. 

This spring, we have been delighted to be partnering with people and organizations in the preservation community (mostly virtually!) to share our technical knowledge with the next generation of practitioners and adjacent professionals:
One of the recent rehabilitations didn't include a tour of the interior, because as of February 25th, 1518 W Street, SE sold after decades of sitting vacant! Thank you to the new owners for making the sweet house a home.
OWNERS OF 1518 W Street, SE at CLOSING
The L'Enfant Trust depends on local support for the success of our programs. Donations, no matter how small, help the Trust continue to protect DC's shared cultural resources and create a strong sense of community and quality of life for all DC residents - even more important now during these uncertain times.

Please consider making a donation to the Trust.
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