Interview between host Bryan Toepfer, AIA, NCARB, CAPM and John DeFerrari and Douglas Peter Sefton
May 20, 2022
Sixteenth Street NW in Washington, DC, has been called the Avenue of the Presidents, Executive Avenue, and the Avenue of Churches. From the front door of the White House, this north-south artery runs through the middle of the District and extends just past its border with Maryland. The street is as central to the cityscape as it is to DC’s history and culture.
In Sixteenth Street NW: Washington, DC’s Avenue of Ambitions (Georgetown UP, 2022), John DeFerrari and Douglas Peter Sefton depict the social and architectural history of the street and immediate neighborhoods, inviting readers to explore how the push and pull between ordinary Washingtonians and powerful elites has shaped the corridor ― and the city. This highly illustrated book features notable buildings along Sixteenth Street and recounts colorful stories of those who lived, worked, and worshipped there. Maps offer readers an opportunity to create self-guided tours of the places and people that have defined this main thoroughfare over time.
What readers will find is that both then and now, Sixteenth Street NW has been shaped by a diverse array of people and communities. The street, and the book, feature a range of sites ― from Black Lives Matter Plaza to the White House, from mansions and rowhomes to apartment buildings, from Meridian Hill (Malcolm X) Park with its drum circles to Rock Creek Park with its tennis tournaments, and from hotels to houses of worship. Sixteenth Street, NW reveals a cross section of Washington, DC, that shows the vibrant makeup of our nation’s capital.
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