Growing Up on the Hill in the 1920s and '30s

November 14, 2006
In observation of the five-year anniversary of our oral history project, this lecture on November 14, 2006, took the form of a staged interview with one of our more remarkable interviewees, Margaret Wadsworth, who delighted her audience with recollections of Capitol Hill in the 1920s and 30s.

The dialogue was conducted by Beth Eck, who interviewed Mrs. Wadsworth for the Overbeck project in April 2005, and was accompanied by projected scenes of the neighborhood as it appeared in Mrs. Wadsworth’s childhood and as it appears today.

Born Margaret Fleming in 1920, Mrs. Wadsworth spent her childhood in her family's home in the 500 block of 8th Street S.E., in the heart of the Barracks Row business corridor, and later on Bay Street S.E. She attended the Holy Comforter elementary school, graduated from Eastern High School, and made an early attempt at a singing career, auditioning for band leader Bob Crosby and performing briefly on Arthur Godfrey's radio show. She and her late husband raised their family in the neighborhood, but moved to Arlington after the 1968 riots. She worked for many years at the Naval Historical Center at the Washington Navy Yard and also at the Smithsonian Institution. She also served as a volunteer teacher's aide, reading to children at Glen Forest Elementary in Fairfax.

Past Lectures