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Bloomingdale House Tour Featured Late 19th Century Victorian Houses

Accompanying images can be viewed on page 1 of the October issue 2017 issue pdf

By Myra Dandridge*

On Saturday, October 28th, from 10:30 in the morning through the  late afternoon/early evening arts and letters show and reception, the Bloomingdale Civic Association (BCA) hosted its 6th bi-annual event with the theme being “Victorian Secrets & Modern Truths.” Highlighted were a mix of houses showcasing the best of Victorian, traditional and contemporary Bloomingdale-area homes.

Proceeds from the house tour will primarily provide college scholarships to Bloomingdale youth, as well as support community beautification and historic preservation efforts.

Bloomingdale architect, Ahmet Kilic, kicked off the morning with a multi-media lecture discussing the history of Bloomingdale’s architecture, the functions served by original interiors and adaptations of those interiors over time to meet changing needs and lifestyles.

The morning hours also featureed a variety of educational activities, including interactive design workshops on such topics as using color and pattern, urban landscaping, container gardening, and use of color. All workshops will be conducted by neighborhood architects and designers.

The closing event, the arts and letters show and reception, showcased Bloomingdale’s prolific arts community by featuring poetry and art works (available for purchase) ranging from paintings and photography to sculpture and pottery.  Scheduled between 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm, it was hosted at Old Engine 12 restaurant, located at 1626 North Capitol Street, NW.

[Editor’s note: This is the historic, former firehouse restored in 2006 for adaptive re-use as a quality restaurant on the main floor which housed the fire engines with a community arts and performance space above where the firemen once lived when on duty. That project plan was reported at the time on page 6 of The InTowner.]

“The tour [was] not just about the interiors and architectural charm of century old homes,” noted Bertha Holliday, house tour chair and a Bloomingdale resident for nearly 30 years. “It [was] also about celebrating Bloomingdale’s modern truths: the willingness of residents to spend hundreds of millions of dollars collectively to thoughtfully renovate the interiors of over century-old houses for today’s needs and lifestyles, as well as the neighborhood’s growing commitment, as evidenced by numerous efforts, to reinvent Bloomingdale as a uniquely stable, welcoming, socially and economically diverse and inclusive neighborhood.

The house tour not only celebrated Bloomingdale’s rich past and common future, but the proceeds from the tour will provide college scholarships to Bloomingdale youth and other neighborhood improvement initiatives. Further, a goal of the organizers was that the event encourage the community to support the young people who were born and raised in the neighborhood and to preserve its extraordinary history.”

The souvenir tour program booklet that will be provided to all attendees will include photos and descriptions of tour homes, a map of a self-guided tour route and other Bloomingdale attractions. Also part of the booklet will be a special section titled “The History of Arts and Letters in Bloomingdale,” with brief sketches of some of Bloomingdale’s past and present arts and letters luminaries and cultural organizations.

The Bloomingdale community is located in the heart of DC, less than two miles north of the U.S. Capitol — extending from Florida Avenue, NW to Michigan Avenue to the north and from 3rd Street, NW to North Capitol Street to the east.

It is home to tree-lined streets of Victorian row houses, churches, and restaurants. The residents are an amalgamation of the best of DC. Bloomingdale has seen a complete turnabout in the last decade and is now experiencing a renaissance.

*The writer serves as the publicity & communications chair of tour’s planning committee.

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How to Obtain Tickets & Events Information

House tour tickets are $30 in advance and $35 on the day of the tour.  Tickets can be purchased at Windows Café, located at the corner of Rhode Island Avenue and 1st Street NW, in the heart of Bloomingdale. Advance tickets may be purchased on line through Sunday, October 26, 2017 at or through the BCA website.

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Copyright © 2017 InTowner Publishing Corp. & 2017 Bloomingdale Civic Ass’n. House Tour Committee.