Home for the Aged and Infirm at Blue Plains (Former) Improvements – Washington DC

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Description

Originally known as the Blue Plains Home for the Aged and Infirm, this facility was improved by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the early 1940s. The facility was originally built in 1906 at the district’s southernmost tip.

According to WPA project cards at the National Archives, from 1935 to 1941, relief workers were used to:

“Rehabilitate and enlarge the facilities of the Blue Plains Home for the Aged and Infirm, including constructing storm doors, fire exits, and additions to buildings; rehabilitating buildings; screening and roofing porches; reconstructing old and placing new floors; erecting partitions; reconditioning locker rooms; painting; constructing and reconstructing fences; clearing, grubbing, landscaping, and performing appurtenant and incidental work.”

Tasks added in subsequent cards were :

•Renewal of main dining room
•Clearing woods for cultivation
•Fencing
•Road work: resurfacing and paving around cow barn
•Painting the main group of buildings, inside and outside

There is never certainly that the work planned, as indicated on Project Cards, was actually completed.  In this case, there is some corroboration from a Washington Post report in 1940 that the WPA was going to conduct improvements to the DC Home for the Aged.

According to a 1996 report in the Washington City Paper, the facility was overhauled  again and renamed D.C. Village in the 1960s. By the 1980s, budget cuts took their toll and D.C. Village became a shelter of last resort for the homeless of varying ages. The facility closed in 2007.

The site is now used as a government complex with a job corps organization, police department station, and large bus depot. 

It is uncertain if any trace of the WPA’s work remains. A photograph below shows older buildings that might have been part of the original facility, but it was not possible to gain access to the grounds to get a closer look.

Source notes

"District Sells Portion of DC Village to WMATA for 6.45M," Washington, DC Government, Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, July 23, 2009.

Eddie Dean, "Greetings from D.C. Village, the nursing home that refuses to die," Washington City Paper, January 26, 1996, accessed August 2019.

Sylvia Moreno, "District Closing 'Inhumane' D.C. Village," Washington Post, October 23, 2007, accessed March 2015

National Archives, Record Group 69, “Microfilmed Index to WPA Projects.”

“WPA plans to remodel D.C. Home for Aged,” Washington Post, December 4, 1940, p. 21.

National Archives, Record Group 69, “Microfilmed Index to WPA Projects.”

http://wikimapia.org/2809070/DC-Village

Wikimapia

 

 

Project originally submitted by Brent McKee on March 16, 2015.

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