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A Community Exploring Its Past

While most Americans probably think of Capitol Hill as simply the site of the U.S. Capitol, those who live here know it as an old and thriving residential neighborhood, a small town within a large city. The Overbeck Project captures the history of this community by recording the recollections of its longtime residents and preserving other records of its fascinating past.

Project volunteers collect and transcribe interviews for posting on this site. We also sponsor a highly successful lecture series exploring our city's history. We urge you too to get involved in this exciting effort, sponsored by the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.

The Overbeck Project realizes we'll never be able to interview all potential candidates, so we're delighted to incorporate other pertinent interviews into our collection; links to material already available elsewhere on the Internet are of particular interest. Readers are encouraged to send us suggestions.

Transcripts Recently Added

New in February, 2017, is an interview with George Hutchinson, who grew up in the Stanton Park neighborhood during the 1920s and 30s. George provides a unique story about serving as a Supreme Court page during his high school years -- who knew pages used to wear knickers? Other memories from his youth include the Bonus Marchers and Lindbergh's return.

With this addition, the website now contains 186 transcripts of interviews with Capitol Hill neighbors from many eras. We encourage readers to use the Search function to find transcripts that mention subjects of interest to you.

Transcripts added in September, 2016:

Dr. Ben Williamowsky. Dr. Ben spent his teen years on Capitol Hill attending Eastern High School, while his father served as rabbi of the Southeast Hebrew Congregation on Ninth Street SE. The transcript includes a 1959 photo of the building, courtesy of the Historical Society of Washington.

Suzanne Wells and Mike Godec. Suzanne and Mike were interviewed in 2011 when they were awarded a Community Achievement Award for their several efforts to improve the Capitol Hill Community, especially Suzanne's role in the School Library Project and Mike's involvement with Soccer on the Hill as it expanded into Sports on the Hill.

Martha Huizenga. Martha's Community Achievement Award came in 2012 and honored her years of service as an officer and Board member of the Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals, the Capitol Hill Group Ministry, and the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.

John "Peterbug" Matthews. Peterbug's contributions to the children of Capitol Hill stem from his own childhood right here in the neighborhood. He also received a Community Achievement Award in 2012, for his role in founding his namesake Shoe Repair Academy where he daily fulfills his goals to "save souls and heel people".

Eastern Market: The Rebuilding
Langley Bowers' Video Available on YouTube

Eastern Market: The Rebuilding, a powerful 20 minute video, was created and produced in 2009 by Langley Bowers as part of the Overbeck Project's efforts to record first-hand accounts of the 2007 fire that devastated the Market building -- but not the Market itself or the spirit of the neighborhood.

Supported by the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, Capitol Hill native Langley, then a recent graduate of the University of Delaware, recorded reactions to the fire by both vendors and neighbors, then followed the process of the Market's amazing reincarnation. Langley interviewed many of the same people whose oral history transcripts are collected as Eastern Market Voices on this website. He also incorporated original video of the 2007 fire, old and new photos of the Market, and scenes from the Market's June 26, 2009, grand re-opening ceremony. Ian Walters composed a jazz piano score to accompany and dramatize the visual images.

DVDs copies of this video are available for sale at Riverby Books, 417 East Capitol Street SE.

Items Found Elsewhere on This Website 

Ten Interviews Done in the 1970s

1947 Photos Donated to the Overbeck Project

1967 Drawing Donated to the Overbeck Project

Were You There? Remembering the 1963 March on Washington

301 East Capitol Street: Tales from the Heart of the Hill

  Photo courtesy of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Not to be reproduced without permission.
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The Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project, Washington, D.C.

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