This year, the Capitol Hill Restoration Society (CHRS) returns to pre-pandemic life with its 66th annual House and Garden Tour, coming up on Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 13-14.
In 2020, CHRS addressed the challenges presented by the pandemic and made the tour virtual, with 3-D scans of selected private homes available for online viewing. In 2021, CHRS offered the very successful Mother’s Day Tour of Tours, a collection of docent-led, socially distanced walking tours. CHRS then increased its offerings of walking tours, which have been a great way to share and appreciate our neighborhood. In 2022, still sensitive about health concerns, the tour shifted back in the direction of normal, with a hybrid version, limited in-person and virtual tours and walking tours.
Now that the health emergency has been lifted, CHRS is back to a traditional tour, with improvements. This year, the tour’s footprint crosses the entire historic district, from Sixth and A streets NE to 10th and I streets SE. It includes a diverse collection of 11 homes and seven beautiful gardens and outdoor entertainment spaces. In a nod to the significant interest in neighborhood walking tours, this year will include a self-guided architectural tour of the 100 block of 10th Street SE.
The houses on the tour reflect the long history and diversity of living on Capitol hill. Highlights include:
- A “secret” garden at 640 East Capitol St. NE, with a magnificent, espaliered ginkgo tree.
- “Twin” homes at 209-211 10th St. SE that share very little besides a wall, making an interesting comparison of styles and spaces.
- Homes at 617 A St. NE and 232 Ninth St. SE whose beautiful street facades do not begin to reveal the surprises inside, as traditional exterior styles make way for modern interior living.
- At 350 11th St. SE, see an impressive collection of artwork from all parts of the world.
- A collection of homes in the area of 11th Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and Walker Court SE reflects a variety of styles, all within viewing distance from two rooftop decks.
- An interior decorator’s dream sits on I Street SE.
The historic Hill Center will serve as the tour headquarters. It will present the Capitol Hill Art League’s juried exhibit, hung throughout the building, and an architectural tour of the building. Refreshments and samples from two neighborhood small businesses, Captain Cookie and the Capital Candy Jar, will be available. Local artist Erin Thompson, who designed the house tour poster and brochure cover, will be at the Hill Center to present her work and handmade gifts.
An important change in the tour this year involves ticketing. To make purchasing tickets and checking in fast and easy, all tickets are being sold electronically, solely through Eventbrite. Ticketholders can check in at six locations, all homes on the tour, making it easy to check in, receive the tour brochure and start the tour wherever they wish. Ticketholders can take their time and visit the houses on either day or both days.
Fynnette Eaton, Jackie Krieger and Angie Schmidt chair the Capitol Hill Restoration Society’s House and Garden Tour Committee. For more information on this and other events and issues of historic preservation, please visit www.chrs.org.