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Two Upcoming Events!

We had lots of energy and excitement in September with an especially great Adams Morgan Day—THANK YOU! A deep bow of gratitude to all who helped get out the word, create swag, and canvass!

We took in many new donations and added over 150 people to this distribution list!   [Speaking of which, for all those signing onto our list recently–welcome–it’s official, you’re in the loop! 🙂

Now let’s keep that momentum going!  Mark your calendars for
Tuesday October 10 6-8pm  on the People’s Plaza
Tuesday October 17 at Madams Organ 6-9PM.
Read on for details!

WHY GET MORE INVOLVED NOW?
This campaign has an actual end date in about 6 months—when a judge will decide if the public use easement on the property will continue to be on the property in perpetuity.  So this is a perfect time to get involved.  Most important, we want to put on the best case we can in court. Your help now will make a REAL difference! Wide public support for the protection and IMPROVEMENT of the Plaza will help our case. It’s up to us to COME TOGETHER be READY with creative, positive community input!

WHAT CAN I DO?

ATTEND AND SHARE OUR TWO UPCOMING EVENTS
We have TWO upcoming events! One this We have TWO upcoming events in the next couple of weeks! One this Tuesday, October 10 6-8PM at the Plaza, and another the following on Tuesday, October 17 from 6-9pm at Madams Organ .

  1.  GENERAL MEETING
    WHEN: next Tuesday at 6pm-8pm, October 10, 2017
    WHERE: the People’s Plaza, 1800 Columbia Road (fka SunTrust Plaza)
    WHAT: We’ll have signs and flyers for all, unveil a neighborhood survey, share about our upcoming fundraiser at Madams Organ, and give a sneak peak at our upcoming design competition—COME!
    HOW: RSVP & stay connected on the Facebook event page for the General Meeting

2. FUN RAISER!
WHAT: A little party with music and inspiration
WHEN: the following Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 6-9PM
WHERE: Madams Organ  2461 18th St across the street from the People’s Plaza
HOW: RSVP & stay connected on the the FB event page for the Fun Raiser!

Put them on your calendar & tell friends and neighbors!

VOLUNTEER
We are looking for graphic designers, landscape architects, outgoing communicators, online researchers, and your energy to win! Write us at admo4rd@gmail.com.  We also need donations, so if you haven’t yet, please become a Friend of the Plaza by giving $5, $10, $25, anything possible to help us forever win and renew our corner in the center of Adams Morgan.

SHARE ABOUT HOW WE CAN SAVE OUR PLAZA
Click here for a printable one-pager PDF on our efforts you can share with neighbors and friends, click here. You can like and share our Facebook page and you can share our web address at www.SaveOurPlaza.com.

We hope you continue to stay connected with us!  And keep being the awesome friends and neighbors you are!

Vikram, Terry, and Chris
Co-Facilitators
AdMo4RD

See you in court SunTrust and Hoffman!

FeaturedSee you in court SunTrust and Hoffman!

We’ve officially joined forces with the Kalorama Citizens Association and pro bono attorney Paul Zukerberg, with resources generously donated from you all, to file suit against SunTrust, PN Hoffman and Potomac Partners.

Click here for our official press release.

Here the official documents filed with the court:

Preliminary Injunction motion & PI exhibits

Complaint

If you support SunTrust & PN Hoffman being required to come to the table through this lawsuit, click here to donate—we’ve covered our filing fees so far, but the big expenses are ahead.  Please give as generously as your budget allows!

History Prior to the Plaza

The Knickerbocker & Ambassador Theaters

The site was originally the home of the beautiful Knickerbocker Theater, designed by local architect Reginald Geare in 1915 and owned by DC theatre operator Henry Crandall , who also later built the Tivoli Theater which still stands in Columbia Heights.  On January 28, 1922, the night after the worst snowstorm recorded in DC to that point which deposited over two feet of snow on the region, the Knickerbocker opened for business. Tragically, during the movie intermission, under the weight of so much snow the badly constructed roof collapsed, “crushing 98 [to death], and severely injuring 133 more” according to a Washington Post article which said it was the worst DC disaster in 50 years.  Among the dead was medical doctor and Pennsylvania Congressman Andrew Jackson Barchfeld. Local station WETA aired the following silent footage of the aftermath of the disaster in 1990.

The 1922 blizzard became known thereafter as the Knickerbocker Storm.  Architect Geare killed himself in 1927 and Owner Crandall did likewise in 1937.

A year after the tragedy, in 1923, the facade of the theater was salvaged and rebuilt into the Ambassador Theatre, which remained open until 1968.  Interestingly, in its final year, the theatre was rented by a trio of rock and roll promoters calling themselves the Psychedlic Power & Light Company, and they hosted a number of well known rock and roll acts including Jimi Hendrix for five nights in August of 1967.  Here is a photo of the concert poster.

Jimi_Hendrix_Ambassador_Theatre_poster

After the Ambassador closed, it was purchased by local investors JB and Maurice Shapiro, according to this May 1976 Washington Post article, which also details how they then sold the site to Citadel Corporation in 1974, which tried and failed under heavy community opposition to put a BP or Shell gas station on ths site, and then sold it to Perpetual Federal Savings for $350,000.  We have tried to locate any building or demolition permits for both the Knickerbocker and Ambassador Theatres, and neither are in the city’s Washingtoniana archive.

Update: July 9th SOPA Gathering

Update: July 9th SOPA Gathering

We wanted to update you about our SaveOurPlaza gathering on Saturday, July 9, 2016.

Our gathering brought out more than 35 people from the community, including:

Vikram Chiruvolu Surya, with Adams Morgan for Reasonable Development, led the discussion on the history of our Adams Morgan plaza at Suntrust Bank. It was a fact-filled and fun exploration about the amazing history of this location, at the gateway of historic Adams Morgan.   This is the same history that DC’s Historic Preservation Office (Anne Brockett) called ‘insignificant.’ https://saveourplaza.wordpress.com/2016/06/18/plaza-history/

There were so many old-school heads at our forum who chimed in with their memories of what happened back in the 1970’s in the fight to first keep BP’s gas station from taking this important corner, to the eventual victory against the racist redlining of Adams Morgan residents and businesses by Perpetual bank who ultimately built the open plaza and bank building we see and use to this day.

Frank Smith, former Ward One Councilmember, and the Adams Morgan Organization (AMO) both were mentioned by many people as reflecting key leadership in the fight to ensure Perpetual Bank gave up concessions in lieu of the opportunist and classist lending practices that hurt Adams Morgan families and small businesses.

We discussed the idea of the community, with the help of the city in purchasing the land and determining the complete future of this site. But bottom-line, we all agreed that the public plaza from the face of the current bank building to the property lines in all directions shall remain under public control, as it has for 40+ years, here on out!

The question is how do we get there?!?
http://www.facebook.com/admo4rd

Pointedly, many folks have sent in letters asking our Councilmember, Brianne Nadeau, to host a public forum to discuss our vision and concerns for this critical central corner of our neighborhood.  Have you sent in your letter yet?  http://www.activist.one/saveourplaza

Tania Jackson, Chief of Staff for Brianne said she would bring this request back to the Councilmember.  Call her to ensure that our request for a community wide forum actually happens, 202-724-8181.
http://dccouncil.us/council/brianne-nadeau

In the meantime, we are organizing and continuing to reach out to Adams Morgan residents.

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SAVE OUR PLAZA
GET INVOLVED!

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MEET UP TO ORGANIZE— This Saturday, July 16, 2016, NOON (12pm) at our Plaza to be part of the core organizing efforts to win our vision for this special public space.  It’s SAVEOURPLAZE SATURDAY’S!

Petitions — We will also be petitioning all Saturday’s this summer starting at 10am at the Farmers Market.. can you be there?  Let us know. admo4rd@gmail.com || 202-670-2366

Send a note to Councilmember Brianne Nadeau >> http://www.activist.one/saveourplaza

Get updates by liking our Facebook page >> http://www.facebook.com/admo4rd

We live in a neighborhood that developers eye strictly for profit.  It’s a place where speculators seek to shoehorn large dormitory-style condos made of stick and plastic in between our unique historic homes and low-rise commercial buildings because of the massive money they fetch for such development.

Be there Saturdays at Noon to organize!
RSVP: admo4rd@gmail.com, 202-670-2366

 

Victory! Community Plaza Saved (for now)

Victory! Community Plaza Saved (for now)

Our historic plaza at the corner of 18th and Columbia has been given a temporary reprieve from being paved over by McCondos.

Between the many letters that were written into the record by YOU, and the great organizing that brought an array of Adams Morgan residents to the HPRB hearing, all taken together pushed the positive result today.

The Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) took up whether they would approve or deny Anne Brockett’s preservation report.

Brockett’s report called the site of the Suntrust bank, and its amazing history as “insignificant” in her full support of PN Hoffman’s gargantour project at our historic corner.

pnhoffmanlatest2

Larry Hargrove, 50+ year Adams Morgan resident living on Belmont Road called the failed HPO staff report, “startling” in its lack of substantiation.  Brockett’s report completely ignored the ANC resolution calling out major problems with the project.

Despite the outpouring of dissent to the project in its current configuration as well as the destruction of 90% + of the public plaza, the Chair of the HPRB, Gretchen Pfaehler, moved to approve the HPO’s staff report.

But the vote tied, three to three, so the proposal to support the flawed HPO report failed!  Victory!

Reparations for Adams Morgan residents!

During the hearing one of our fact-finding archival-archaeologists, Vikram, demonstrated the amazing history of victory over redlining racism which gifted the public this plaza [VIDEO] >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uaSpZajNd0o

sopsun1large


WHAT NEXT . . .

We have won a bit more time to see a much better redevelopment of this central corner in our neighborhood, such that we:

  1. Ensure the retention of the full historic public plaza from the face of the existing bank building all the way to the sidewalks (including the raised porch).
  2. Drive a campaign for the people to pursue purchase of the site through a combo of crowd-investor fundraising and public monies so we can keep our plaza and build a public resource behind it like a library, maker space, senior resource center, some truly affordable housing, etc.

Help Out and Engage to Save Our Plaza!

  • Conduct internet and archival research work
  • Social media campaigning
  • Investor identification and financial review
  • Alternative planning and design efforts
  • Gathering more petition signatures
    —-> send an email to admo4rd@gmail.com, or call 202-670-2366
ALSO, PLEASE MAKE CALLS TO BRIANNE NADEAU TO ASK HER TO HOST AN OPEN PUBLIC FORUM WIDELY ADVERTISED TO DISCUSS THE HISTORY OF OUR GATEWAY TO ADAMS MORGAN!  (202) 724-8181

… AND, JOIN US ON FACEBOOK!
www.facebook.com/admo4rd