The Loft, one of Culture House's performance and event spaces, is covered from wall to ceiling in a full mural wrap that contains an explosion of colors.
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This community cultural center used to be Friendship Baptist Church, an African American congregation formed in 1875. The congregation commissioned and constructed this building in 1886-87 and occupied it for almost 100 years (until 1974).  Despite the congregation's continuity, the neighborhood around it changed—or more accurately, was changed—as a result of urban renewal. In the 1950s, the city displaced 1,050 of the neighborhood’s 1,300 families in an effort to replace low-quality housing with new development in the Southwest.  The predominantly African American, working-class families who lived in the area could not afford the new housing and faced housing discrimination in the rest of the city. It wasn’t until the late 1950s that public housing opened in the neighborhood, enabling some of the old residents to move back. 
The church itself was saved from the bulldozing that demolished the surrounding residences because of the activism of the congregation and its Reverend, Benjamin H. Whiting, who argued that the church was an essential civic institution in the neighborhood. Only two of the neighborhood's 15 churches avoided the wrecking ball.  Today, Culture House supports community artists by hosting creatives-in-residence as well as regular gallery exhibits.
In the 19th century, the neighborhood south of the National Mall resembled New York City’s working-class neighborhoods more than the genteel row...
Although the Chinatown Friendship Archway was built in 1986, a Chinese community has lived and owned businesses in this area of Northwest Washington,...
The big draw to this little museum is an animatronic Smokey Bear who, when approached, reminds you that “Only you can prevent forest fires.” The...
The Great American Rail-Trail promises an all-new American experience. Through 12 states and the District of Columbia, the trail will directly serve nearly 50 million people within 50 miles of the route. Across the nation—and the world—only the limits of imagination will limit its use.Learn More
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