Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A tribute to Lee Rogers

Image: John Kelly/The Washington Post. Lee Rogers stands next to one of more than 500 maple trees were planted in 1920 along 16th Street NW to honor Washingtonians killed in World War I.

Lee Rogers was a transportation consultant and local historian who knew so much about the once extant local streetcar system. He died last December, at 70.

He worked on a local history documentation project I ran in 2001-2002, which is how I got to know him a little.

There is a brief tribute to him in today's Post, " Lee Rogers treasured DC area and transportation history ," and there will be a memorial service for him on April 7th.

I always thought it was a shame that his knowledge wasn't tapped into with regard to the efforts to reintroduce streetcars to Washington.

In recent years he was hard to get ahold of, but I ran into him a few years ago at a National Train Day event at Union Station (he admonished me to not carry food or drink onto an old Metrobus that I think is part of the collection at the National Capital Trolley Museum). He contacted me last year and we meant to get together, but we didn't. Damn.

The article recounts all the stuff in his house and how volunteers are sorting it for donation to the Baltimore Streetcar Museum (which is sharing some of it with the National Capital Trolley Museum).

One of the stories I remember him telling me is how the library of the Association of American Railroads was discarding what they considered unnecessary items, more historical than relevant to the concerns of the organization's freight railroad members, and his "recovering" of many of the discards.

That's a sentiment I truly understand. The problem is that only about once every 10 years is there someone obsessed enough to go through that kind of literature. But when they do it's revelatory.

Lee Rogers Memorial service
April 7th, 2 pm
Davies Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church
7400 Temple Hill Road
Camp Springs, Maryland
Talk about H Street campaign: Transportation
Lee Rogers provided this photo of 8th and H Streets NE from sometime in the late 1940s or very early 1950s in this image advertisement that Kevin Palmer and I created for the H Street Main Street program in 2003-2004. (The image is cropped slightly. Just beyond the bottom left of this image was a street clock.)

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