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D.C.-Area Historic Sites Awarded Preservation Grants

Congressional Cemetery was among the capital region historic sites to receive grant money through Partners in Preservation, an effort spearheaded by American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The eighth annual Partners in Preservation challenge identified 24 historic sites around the area and used social media to tally support and help devise how to divvy up $1 million in grant money for historic preservation purposes.

Washington National Cathedral, which racked up the most votes, will receive $100,000 to help repair damages sustained during the 2011 earthquake.

The remaining $900,000 will be divided among the runners-up, including $50,000 for Congressional Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark that predates the Civil War, to renovate a row of 26 mausoleum vault roofs. A local advisory committee helped Partners in Preservation determine which sites and projects would receive the runners-up grant money.

“We were thrilled,” cemetery President Paul K. Williams said. “We didn’t win the popular vote; we came in about 12th place … but the strength of our social media and an open house we hosted, I think, helped put us in line.”

According to Williams, the mausoleum renovation project will cost about $65,000 total. But the availability of matching charitable contributions and other funds will make it easy to compile the remaining $15,000, Williams said, and he expects the project to be completed this fall. “Probably late fall, into November, December,” he said.

Some other notable area sites that will receive partnership money include Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in D.C., which will receive $75,000 to repair the stained-glass windows; Mount Vernon in Virginia, which will receive $100,000 to restore George Washington’s dining room; the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in D.C., which will receive $90,000 to restore stained-glass windows; and the Greenbelt Theatre in Maryland, which will receive $75,000 to renovate its art deco lobby.

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