24 Sites Around D.C. Compete for Preservation Funds

Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's home in Arlington, Va., and Clara Barton's downtown Washington office, where she ran an operation to search for missing Civil War soldiers, are among 24 sites around the nation's capital competing for $1 million in historic preservation grants.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express announced an initiative Wednesday to enlist area residents and visitors to help choose which buildings and landmarks receive preservation funding in the District of Columbia and suburban Maryland and Virginia. Between Wednesday and May 10, the public can vote online to help their favorite historic places win funding through the Partners in Preservation program.

The public also can help sites earn points by posting on Twitter, checking in on Foursquare or sharing images of historic places on Instagram, organizers said.

In the case of Barton's long-forgotten office, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine is raising money to turn the site into a museum recalling the work that led to her founding of the American Red Cross.

Washington National Cathedral is seeking a top grant of $100,000 to help fund inspections and repair work on its 100-foot-high vaulted ceiling, which was damaged in a 5.8-magnitude earthquake in 2011. Since then, the ceiling has been obscured by dark nets to catch any mortar or debris that may fall, cathedral officials said.

The earthquake caused about $20 million in damages to the historic church. About $9 million has been raised for repairs so far.

Other competing sites include the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, George Washington's dining room at his Mount Vernon estate in Virginia, Washington's Meridian Hill Park, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, which needs major roof repairs. Maryland sites include the single-screen Greenbelt Theatre and one of the nation's oldest pet cemeteries, The Kennel at Aspen Hill Memorial Park in Silver Spring.

Since 2006, the Partners in Preservation program has awarded grants worth $9 million in seven other cities, including San Francisco, Chicago and New Orleans.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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