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Preservation Café Looks at History of District’s Buried Streams

Like many modern cities, Washington, D.C. was once home to a vast network of streams, tributaries, and swimming holes which boasted evocative names like “the Piggory” and “the Blue Cork.”

Our capital was a city of streams, built at the confluence of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. Now those streams run under the streets.

Uncovering the History of the District’s Buried Streams, a virtual Preservation Café, will be presented Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.

Examples include Tiber Creek, which was the District’s second-largest stream, after Rock Creek. It originated from springs, seeps, and small tributaries near Park View and the Old Soldier’s Home and was originally called Goose Creek for its abundant waterfowl. Piney Branch was once a “vigorous” stream before it disappeared under the pavement.

In summer 2021, the DC Department of Energy and Environment released an interactive steam mapping project which examines the disappearance of these historic streams, as city planners have drained, relocated, and forced these intricate waterways into drainage and sewer pipes, to build the city we know today.

The three presenters for our February CHRS Preservation Café will describe the central role they have all played in this timely project. They will identify and investigate the legacy of our historic streams, and describe the discussions and proposals city planners are entertaining to “daylight” or bring these prominent streams back to the surface.

Presenters: Joe Arrowsmith, Ecological Engineer, Straughan Environmental, Josh Burch, D.C. Department of Energy and Environment, and David Ramos, American University.

A Zoom link will be posted and activated shortly before the meeting. https://chrs.org/buried-streams-pc/

CHRS Preservation Cafés are free to CHRS members and non-members. Consider joining CHRS!

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