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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

In October, 2017, we're introducing our readers to Marie Sansalone Guy, who grew up over her Italian family's grocery store at 240 First Street SW during the 1930s and 40s. While we normally don't think of Southwest Washington as being part of the Hill, we think this location qualifies because it was replaced in the 1960s by the Rayburn House Office Building.

Read the transcript of Marie's 2015 interview, with her niece Judith Sansalone to learn about life in an area that most of us living today have never known. This interview is enhanced with Sansalone family pictures, and to assist our readers, we also added to the transcript some census information and clarifications about some of the places being discussed; there's also a link to a 1919 map of the Sansalones' block and others nearby.

With this addition, the website now contains 187 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.

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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