Want to learn more about the history of the All Souls neighborhood? Check out this continuing series on the Young Souls Blog that features historic information about the surrounding area.
WAMU, June 27, 2017
By Brakkton Booker and Tanvi Misra
“In its heyday in the 1950s, The Woodner was a swanky apartment-hotel, where residents and guests entered the massive lobby through a door held open by a doorman and walked to the elevators over a carpet emblazoned with a cursive “W.” Celebrities like Bob Hope and Jimmy Hoffa roamed its segregated lobby surrounded by women in glittering gowns. Today, the massive building at the northern tip of Mount Pleasant on 16th Street overlooking a branch of Rock Creek is one of the last bastions of affordable housing in the area.
Local historian Izetta Autumn Mobley calls The Woodner “an entire cultural landscape,” a microcosm of the changes Washington has undergone in the last 65 years. As the area around the building transformed from upscale in the 1950s to crime-ridden after the 1968 riots to multi-ethnic and middle class in the 1980s, the community within the Woodner also changed. Now the neighborhood is gentrifying, and The Woodner is moving in the same direction, threatening the sense of community that makes this place unique.
WAMU partnered with The Atlantic’s CityLab to track how change within the walls of this illustrious structure reflects the sweeping demographic shifts taking place outside it.”
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