Watergate update

IMG_3660.jpgIn 1972 the burglars of the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate rented two rooms at the Howard Johnson’s on Virginia Ave.,across from the Watergate.

The owner of the former Howard Johnson’s, George Washington University, has gutted the building, destroying any remnants of the burglars’ rooms.

HoJo’s will probably not be renamed after Richard M. Nixon.

Unexpected consequences that can occur with photo-editing.

Applying an old principle of black and white film photography that it is better to get the image right at the time of shooting, rather than depending on manipulating in the darkroom, I limit my editing of digital images.

For a photo of an early 19th structure along the C & O canal I could not get far enough back and I had to tilt the camera up, resulting in considerable converging of vertical lines.

I used software to straighten the lines resulting in, unfortunately, cropping of the building.

But much more disturbing was the distortion of the second story windows.

At least I was able to get undistorted images of the end and canal side of the building by crossing the canal.IMG_3410_DxOVP.jpg

 

Senator John McCain

Yesterday’s New York Times deferentially described the Senator as “being known for his independent streak.”  “Feisty” is another word more often associated with Senator McCain.  But in 1998 I interviewed him for an article in Southwest Art and I was struck by how gracious, soft-spoken he and Mrs. McCain were and his warm feelings towards his staff.  Most striking was sense of equality in the office.  Unlike other offices in the U.S. Capitol, his staff were not jammed together in a small space, while the senator or representative had a massive office at the end of the office, with a grand view of the National Mall.  Senator McCain’s desk and office were only slightly larger than those of staff and in the middle of the suite, John McCain20072017.jpgwithout the grand view.

The two photographs behind the Senator were gifts from his predecessor Barry Goldwater and it is Goldwater’s desk that McCain now uses.  To the right of these photographs is one of two Edward S. Curtis images on loan from the Smithsonian Institution.

Mies van der Rohe’s only building in Washington,D.C.

Late in his career, Mies was commissioned to design the main D.C. public library, named in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.  In contrast to Mies’s better known projects such as the Seagrams Building, a moderately tall skyscraper in New York City, and 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, upscale housing towers, the library is only four stories above ground.  But all three projects display Mies’s trademark emphasis on a highly visible gridded facade.  In Seagrams and MLK Library the facades had a strong vertical emphasis created by steel i-beams welded on to the frame.

Mies, who was awarded the AIA Gold Medal and Royal Gold Medal, among numerous other recognitions as a leading Modernist architect, designed the building from 1965-1966, ground broken July 1968, and the library opened either August or September 1972. (Various sources site different key dates for this building.)

The building very recently closed for renovation (including roof garden and floor plans) and will only reopen in 2020.  Washingtonia Collection is at the DC Historical Society’s space at the Carnegie Library.

The architect for the renovation is Martinez and Johnson.  The architectural historian is Traceries.

Top photo shows G Street (main facade at left) and 9th Street side.  Bottom photo showing I beams detail on 9th Street.  photos copyrighted by Bill Lebovich, 2017MLK Library06072017 (2).jpgIMG_3377.jpg

Kemp Hall and the possible secession of Maryland from the Union

Kemp Hall and the possible secession of Maryland from the Union

On April 13,1861, U. S. Army Major Robert Anderson surrendered Ft. Sumter, Charleston,South Carolina, to the Confederacy.  On April 27th, the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates convened at Kemp Hall, corner of E. Church  and N. Market Streets, Frederick, to discuss whether Maryland should follow the southern states and secede from the Union.  The senators and delegates never voted on the issue.  Lincoln had his troops arrest the pro-Secessionists members of the Maryland General Assembly, preventing the august body from having the necessary quorum for taking a vote.

The building is a distinctive revival building of approximately 1860 with arched window heads and wide, bracketed cornice.  It is connected by a lower, setback hyphen with circular window to the third building, along Church.  This building is slightly lower than the hyphen building, which in turn is slightly lower than the main building.  Only the main building has arched windows.  The glass store front covers the N. Market St. facade and part of the Church St. facade, which has later brickwork.