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The Washington Post

Remembering Arthur Cotton Moore, an architect who liked his house city


I used to be sorry to study of the death last week of Arthur Cotton Moore, an architect who actually liked town he grew up in, which — luckily for us — occurred to be Washington.

Arthur was 87 and I believe he was working till the top. He used to e mail me every so often, sharing architectural concepts that had come to him whereas he moved by his hometown.

“I used to experience round on a motorcycle,” he as soon as advised me. “Now I stroll round with a pen.”

That was in 2017, when Arthur referred to as to share an concept he had for repurposing outdated Metro automobiles. He needed to turn them into tiny houses.

“They’re a really good enclosure which is watertight and has beautiful home windows,” he advised me. He had different concepts, too: for the District’s World War I Memorial, for a brand new FBI constructing, for the Kennedy Heart …

“Take the Kennedy Heart,” he stated. “That is the biggest flat roof on the town. Why would not that be an ideal place for photo voltaic panels?”

In his profession, Arthur labored on celebrated renovations of the Library of Congress Jefferson Constructing and the Previous Submit Workplace. He designed Washington Harbour. He knew that structure concerned its share of compromises.

“Each venture, there’s normally one thing that you just’re upset in,” he stated. “One of many issues I used to be most upset in in Washington Harbour was the truth that it was not a harbor.”

He’d needed a protected house for boats to tug in and tie up, with a low bridge like the type over an Amsterdam canal.

Simply final December, Arthur emailed me his concepts for becoming the Smithsonian’s new ladies’s historical past and American Latino museums on the Mall.

“The search [for locations] is troublesome within the typical Washington means,” he wrote. “Two museums with giant constituencies and due to this fact nice clout in Congress give it an urgency and a pressure.”

The Smithsonian tells me a call has but to be made for putting the 2 new buildings. Arthur’s concept was to relocate the jumble of entry roads south of the Washington Monument and put each museums between the monument and the Tidal Basin. A pedestrian bridge would let individuals amble over Independence Avenue SW, which, for those who’ve ever tried to dodge visitors there, you understand is just not a nasty concept.

“I really like town,” Arthur Cotton Moore as soon as advised me. “I need to make it as magnificent as it may be, accurately.”

Sarah Manning O’Leary died in Columbia on Aug. 31 at age 91. In September 1946, {a photograph} of Sarah together with her mom, Helen Manning, and her seven siblings ran in The Washington Submit.

“That goofy image had been hanging on the wall of my grandmother’s home all my life,” stated Invoice O’Leary, a Washington Submit photographer.

One of many first issues Invoice did when was employed right here in 1984 was go all the way down to The Submit’s archives and discover the adverse for that photograph.

“It was a time-travel second,” he stated. “I’m holding a chunk of movie that was in the identical room as my mom in 1946 in god-knows-what resort.”

Maybe I ought to clarify the context. The photograph reveals the Manning brood gathered round an opened copy of The Submit as their mom peruses the paper, in search of housing. Helen had fled her abusive husband, taking her eight youngsters and transferring from Massachusetts to Washington.

Why Washington? She had managed to extract a promise from J. Edgar Hoover to rent her 4 oldest women as clerk typists on the FBI. Helen believed she and Hoover had been vaguely associated.

However in these postwar days, housing was briefly provide. Caught in a resort, Helen referred to as the newspapers round city, determined for assist. The Submit despatched a photographer, the photograph ran, and a landlord got here ahead with a suggestion of housing in Northeast.

Considered one of Helen’s daughters, Alice, stayed on the FBI for her complete profession. Two others, Joan and Claire, married FBI brokers. Invoice’s mom married his father, William O’Leary, then raised six kids. Till final month, Sarah was the final residing particular person in that photograph.

Sarah’s husband, William, labored for the CIA, then went to NASA, the place he did background checks. William’s father — Jeremiah Aloysius O’Leary Sr. — was a journalist who began at The Submit in 1911, then moved to the Washington Night Star, the higher paper on the time. Considered one of Jeremiah Sr.’s sons — Jeremiah Aloysius O’Leary Jr. — adopted his father to the Star. Considered one of Invoice’s cousins, Timothy O’Leary, was a newspaper journalist in New Orleans and Dallas.

All these O’Learys — first on the Star and now at The Submit, the place you’ve in all probability seen Invoice’s pictures — characterize greater than 100 consecutive years of O’Leary bylines in Washington’s newspapers.

Mentioned Invoice: “I don’t know if there’s anybody else that may make that declare.”

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