Overbeck Project Celebrates Five-Year Anniversary
On the afternoon of Sunday, October 15, 2006, more than sixty of our volunteers
and interviewees gathered at the Christ Church parish hall on G Street S.E.
to celebrate our five-year anniversary as an oral history project.
It was in the Fall of 2001 that about a dozen neighborhood volunteers gathered
in a living room on Massachusetts Avenue for the training and orientation session
that launched the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Over the
next five years the steadily expanding effort collected 119 interviews with
longtime residents and former residents of the Hill, building “a permanent,
accessible, ongoing record of the people and events that have shaped our community.”
Nearly a hundred volunteers have participated so far, serving as interviewers,
transcribers, trainers, photographers and archivists, and the project has also
launched a highly successful lecture series.
The October 15 celebration served as an unexpected reunion for a number of
participants. Some of our older interviewees who no longer live in the community
encountered onetime neighbors they had not seen since childhood. They
were also treated to audio-visual presentation featuring photos of all the
interviewees in attendance.
The Capitol Hill Restoration Society presented the project with a congratulatory
commendation, and project managers Bernadette and Jim McMahon received a thank-you
gift from Nicky Cymrot, president of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation,
which sponsors the project. The gift was a copy of Washington At Home, a book
on D.C. neighborhood history which includes a chapter by our namesake Ruth
Ann Overbeck, with an inscription thanking the McMahons for their dedication
to the project and the community.