Neighborhood Institutions Launch NoMa History Project

Group Seeks Interviews, Participation from Community

 Washington, D.C., April 24, 2013 – Did you know that President Abraham Lincoln signed the charters of the Government Printing Office and Gallaudet University more than 150 years ago? Neighborhood stakeholders are now launching the NoMa History Project, a collaborative effort to research, catalogue and tell the stories of this quickly growing neighborhood.

Representatives from Gallaudet University, the Government Printing Office, the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, Two Rivers Public Charter School, and the NoMa Business Improvement District met in late March to kick off the NoMa History Project. The group will hire a historian to dig through the wealth of information about the NoMa neighborhood in existing archives, then conduct interviews to create an oral archive of long-time and new residents and stakeholders. The information will be curated to live on a website initially, but the group plans to determine other ways to tell the story, such as walking tours, murals and more.

“Through this project, we will seek to create a picture that lasts through time and tells the story of this neighborhood,” said Robin-Eve Jasper, President of the NoMa Business Improvement District, a partner in the project.

“As you learn of its rich history, Northeast DC comes alive with meaning and a sense of community,” said Sam Swiller from Gallaudet University, as he told a story about Amos Kendall, the compassionate postmaster general who donated the land on which Gallaudet resides.

Interested community members and residents are invited to contact Ali Newman, NoMa BID Marketing & Events Associate, to donate archival information, participate in an interview, or receive updates and information about the project, at [email protected] or 202-617-0409. Join the NoMa History Project today to lend your voice and tell your story!

Special thanks to the following people for helping kick-start this project: George Barnum, Jill Clark, Lynn Heidelbaugh, Elaine Hou, Paul Pascal, Rev. Stephen W. Planning, Nancy Pope, Beverley Swaim-Staley, Charles Schilke, Sam Swiller, Graham Tyrrell, and Fred Weiner.

A Taste of NoMa History

  • 1850: Working-class Irish immigrants call this agrarian area “Swampoodle” because of the overflowing banks of Tiber Creek, which now runs beneath North Capitol Street.
  • 1862: The Government Printing Office prints 15,000 copies of the Emancipation Proclamation for the War Department, which are distributed to troops and diplomats worldwide.
  • 1864: President Lincoln signs the charter of Gallaudet University, the only university in the world where all classes, programs and services are designed to accommodate deaf and hard of hearing students.
  • 1907: Grand opening of Union Station. Hundreds of rowhouses were razed to make way for construction. Chicago architect Daniel Burnham modeled the front archway after the classical Arch of Constantine in Rome.
  • 1964: The Washington Coliseum (later known as the Uline Arena) hosts the first Beatles concert in North America; greats such as Bob Dylan and Chuck Brown later performed there.
  • 1998: DC officials recognize the untapped potential four blocks from the Capitol and coin the moniker ‘NoMa,’ for the area ‘North of Massachusetts Avenue.’
  • 2004: NoMa-Gallaudet University (formerly NY-FL Ave) Red Line Metro Station opens. The station is funded through a ground-breaking public/private partnership that raised $120 million.
  • 2010: NoMa BID plants 30,000 daffodils and tulips throughout the neighborhood for cheerful spring commutes.
  • 2012: NoMa Summer Screen attracts 800 neighbors for an outdoor showing of ‘Shaun of the Dead.’

About NoMa Today

NoMa is a vibrant, growing neighborhood north of Union Station and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In the last seven years, private developers have invested more than $5 billion in the 35-block area in the NoMa BID boundary. NoMa is now home to 45,000 daytime workers, with 4.5 million SF leased in the last 4.5 years. More than 3,900 apartments have been recently completed or are under construction. NoMa has 13 modes of transportation, including two Red Line Metro stops, and the best biking facilities in D.C., with the only East Coast Bikestation, the 8-mile Metropolitan Branch Trail, and access to eight Capital Bikeshare stations. NoMa is the most connected neighborhood in Washington, D.C. The NoMa BID organizes more than 50 free community events each year to connect friends and neighbors. For more information about NoMa, visit and sign up for our bimonthly newsletter. Follow us on Twitter @NoMaBID and like us on Facebook at


For immediate release

News media contact:

Rachel Davis


[email protected]