Capitol Hill comes together to open Hill Center
Capitol Hill’s many constituencies -- federal, District and community -- turned out for the opening of the Hill Center on Saturday. The federal side was represented by the Marine Color Guard, the Corps Brass Quintet and Commandant General James Amos and the Architect of the Capitol, Stephen Ayers. The District’s political leadership was led by Mayor Vincent Gray accompanied by Council Chairman Kwame Brown, Councilmembers Tommy Wells (Ward 6), Phil Mendelson (at-large), former Councilmember Sharon Ambrose and Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners. And in the audience were some of the musicians, artists, writers, cooks and chefs, actors, performers and filmmakers who will offer their talents to the Hill Center’s many happy users from the Hill and across the city.
In their remarks, District officials expressed relief and delight that the building will continue as a public facility and not be “turned into condos and retail,” as Chairman Brown said. This sentiment was shared by Mayor Gray, who was confident that there will be an “unbroken circle of services for the next 145 years.” And Councilmember Wells said he “couldn’t be more proud of our neighborhood.”
The Hill Center occupies the Old Navel Hospital at 9th and Pennsylvania Avenue, SE. Opened in 1866, it cared for the veterans of the Civil and Spanish-American Wars until 1911. It then was a Hospital Corps Training School and a home for veterans pressing their pension claims in the capital. After control was transferred to the District in 1962, it housed several social service organizations as well as ANC space office and meeting rooms