Decision Summary HPA No. 00-234
- HPA Number
- Building Name
- Evans-Tibbs House
- 1910 Vermont Ave. NW
- Date of Order
Full Text of Order
Applicant, personal representative of the co-owner of the estate of Evans-Tibbs House, a landmark listed in both the National Register of Historic Places and the Greater U Street Historic District, sought approval for the already-completed installation of eight replacement windows, including the replacement of two unique diamond-shaped windows. The Mayor’s Agent ordered the Applicant to reinstall replicas of the two diamond-paneled windows since he found that those windows contributed to the significance of the historic site.
Applicant argued that the diamond-paneled windows it had removed from the landmark Evans Tibbs House were not compatible with the style of windows on other houses in the district, and were thus not a character-defining feature. Noting that the district’s regulations state that previously-altered windows should be maintained if the alteration has “achieved significance in its own right” and that Madame Evanti’s selection and installation of the diamond-paneled windows were indicative of the artistic and individualistic character of her life, the Mayor’s Agent found against the Applicant, concluding that the windows contributed to the significance of the site.
Because Applicant provided no specific cost estimates at the hearing, the Mayor’s Agent did not consider its argument of economic hardship, but noted that had Applicant provided estimates, the outcome in this particular case would likely have been the same given the contributory significance of the windows to the site.
1910 Vermont Ave., N.W. was designated a historic landmark in both the National Register of Historic Places and an individual landmark in the Greater U Street Historic District primarily because it belonged to Lillian Evans-Tibbs (“Madame Evanti”), the first internationally renowned African-American opera singer, from 1890 to 1967. The Mayor’s Agent noted that “[T]he historical significance of this site is primarily focused upon who lived in the building and the activities that were conducted inside the building.”
The Mayor’s Agent rejected Applicant’s argument that the completed project was necessary as a project of special merit without going into specific detail to explain his position apart from noting the contributory significance of the diamond-paneled windows to the site.
Applicant had replaced two diamond-paneled wooden windows from the Evans-Tibbs house, with plain one-over-one aluminum framed windows. The Mayor’s Agent found that the diamond-paneled windows contributed to the artistic and historical significance of the site as manifestations of the former owner’s (Lillian Evans-Tibbs or “Madame Evanti,” the first internationally renowned African-American opera singer) personal sense of individualistic style. The Mayor’s Agent therefore ordered the Applicant to remove the replacements and reinstall replicas of the diamond-paneled windows.