Shotgun House Deconstructed – Little Appears Salvageable
By Larry Janezich
Preservation of the historic “Shotgun House” at 1229 E Street, SE, was the issue that stood in the way of the development – not only of the site itself – but also of the lots in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue which it backed up to. The entire package was owned by Capitol Hill investor Larry Quillian, who jousted with preservationists for years over his desire to demolish the property. The preservationists, backed by the Historic Preservation Review Board, consistently won every contest.
Late December finally saw the deconstruction of the historic Shotgun House. The Historic Preservation Review Board signed off on the redevelopment project last August, as part of a package to develop that the property as well as property in the 1200 block of Pennsylvania Avenue, SE, currently occupied by Frager’s Garden Center. SGA Architects purchased the properties from Quillian and plans to build 120 residential units with a small retail component on the Frager’s Garden site. As part of the deal, the Shotgun House was to be preserved and incorporated into one of four new residential units at the E Street address.
The permit provided for the deconstruction and relocation of the building, though it appears that not much of the original building material was salvageable. The most likely scenario is that a structure identical to the Shotgun House (using some of the original materials) will be constructed, thus preserving a facsimile – but not the original building – probably not what HPRB and the city’s preservationists had in mind when they agreed to the plan.
Capitol Hill Corner reached out early in the week to SGA Architects and to others in the community to try to clarify what the intent is, but has received no response.