Under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Washington seeks public comment regarding the demolition of five historic buildings at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling. NAVFAC Washington intends to demolish buildings 29, 34, 73, 108, and 109 on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB). These buildings have been determined to be historically significant as they contribute to either the Naval Air Station Anacostia Historic District or the Bolling Air Force Base Historic District. Therefore, their demolition would be an adverse effect on historic properties as defined by the National Historic Preservation Act.
In 2018 the Naval Air Station Anacostia Historic District was determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. It is comprised of 17 buildings, including buildings 29, 73, 108, and 109.
Building 29 was constructed in 1920 as a seaplane hangar. Flight activity ceased in the early 1960s. Since that time, the building has been used for various purposes, including a motor pool and a postal sorting facility. Maintenance on the building has been minimal, and water intrusion has significantly damaged the interior space. The building has been considered for use by multiple commands and programs, however, economic analyses have determined that repair costs would be prohibitive. Following demolition, the area may be vegetated.
Building 73 was constructed in 1932 as a heat/boiler plant. The plant is no longer required, as buildings now have more efficient individual boilers. The equipment has been removed from Building 73, and the building has been vacant and unused for at least 10 years. Minimal maintenance has been performed, and water intrusion and peeling paint are evident throughout. The exterior brick load-bearing walls are actively shifting and shearing away from the main structure, posing considerable safety concerns. Building 73 was considered for conversion to warehouse space by Navy Exchange in 2018, but the conversion was determined to be cost-prohibitive. Following demolition, the area may be vegetated.
Building 108 is a pier and was constructed in 1938 for use as a boat dock. It was used as the mooring location of the USS Sequoia, the presidential yacht, in the 1940s and 1950s. Building 109 was constructed in 1942 as a seaplane pier. The pier most recently served Port Operations, having ended in 2016. The wood decking, rails and supporting structure on Buildings 108 and 109 are deteriorated beyond repair. Without a current or known future requirement, they will continue to deteriorate. In addition, Buildings 108 and 109 trap and collect debris flowing down the Anacostia River, particularly after major storm events. This debris washes onto the levee and seawalls and contributes to the deterioration of JBAB’s flood protection system.
Building 34 contributes to the Bolling Air Force Base Historic District. It was constructed in 1933 as a garage and later converted to an electric substation. The building has not been used for that purpose for several years, and until recently, it was used for storage. Building 34 is not currently utilized, and its location in the housing area makes it inconvenient for the installation’s tenants. JBAB also has a surplus of this type of space (public works / utilities storage). Following demolition, the area may be vegetated.
The Navy intends to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office in order to comply with Section 106 and document the agreed upon mitigation measures to resolve the adverse effect. An example of mitigation being considered is signage that would be installed both on and off base to present the history of the area and buildings. The signage would be similar to what is found at other historic sites, such as the Washington Navy Yard.
Per 36 CFR Part 800.2, NAVFAC Washington is seeking public comment and input regarding this project. Interested individuals may contact the NAVFAC Washington Cultural Resources Program Manager by telephone at 202.685.1754; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by mail at NAVFAC Washington, 1314 Harwood Street, Building 212, Washington Navy Yard DC 20374. The comment period will close on April 30, 2019.