Historic Designation for Palisades Recreation Center

With the help of ANC3D, our DC Historical Preservation Board gets its wires crossed (again) to the detriment of the Palisades.   The HPO has landmarked the park and thereby preserves the sad, little fieldhouse.   Their summary explanation:

Palisades Playground and Field House, 5200 Sherier Place NW, Case 15-13.

The concurred with the Advisory Neighborhood Commission in favor and Board designated the Palisades Playground a historic landmark in the D.C. Inventory of Historic Sites. The Board requested that the nomination be forwarded to the National Register of Historic Places for listing as of local significance, with a period of significance stretching from about 8000 B.C. until 1936. The fieldhouse is to be considered a contributing building and the archaeological resources collectively a designated archaeological site. The Board requested that the nomination be edited for more information about the parcel’s prehistoric and historic background and archaeological resources and on the role of the Public Works Administration in the development of the playground. Vote: 5-2.

I wrote a letter to the Current newspaper but it was never printed.

Here’s my cry in the forest:

The DC Historic Preservation Office’s conclusion that the Palisades Park Recreation Center be landmarked due, in part, to its prehistoric significance is an irrelevant argument and plagued by preposterous claims.  A lot of the park’s prehistory was destroyed during the construction of the new baseball and soccer fields, and though some areas do remain “intact”, how keeping the field house would protect the site’s prehistory is anybody’s guess.   From plans I have seen of preserving the field house, improvements to the structure would entail additions to its footprint – one of the few ways of salvaging a non-functioning structure.    This of course would run counter to the preservation of the site’s American Indian history by disturbing what remains of the park’s “still intact soils.”  If that fact goes unquestioned, I suppose it is no surprise that researchers felt they could compile a report based on unfounded dates.

The report claims they “found undisturbed Native American artifacts there from 8000 B.C. to 1700 A.D.”   I do not doubt that signs of American Indian were found at the park since the previous park redevelopment unearthed many stone tool and pottery artifacts.  Suggesting the site goes back 8000 B.C. however is disingenuous.  Twelve years ago, when nobody seemed to care much about the prehistory of the site (especially those who today use the prehistory argument for keeping the depression-era building), I collected various carbon samples in situ when a retaining wall for the soccer field was constructed.  I raised money from interested neighbors to have one of the samples radiocarbon dated.   Choosing the deepest sample associated with a stone projectile point, we received the date of 781 A.D.  +/- 26 years.  There are more samples to be tested and plenty of artifacts in the Palisades Museum of Prehistory that give generalized time periods,  but nothing goes back anywhere near 8000 B.C.    Real research would have condensed the likely time span of human occupation, and considered the evidence found in the Palisades Museum of Prehistory.  However no inquiries were ever made on part of the researchers, and any evidence for such dates are non-existent (or have been omitted from the report).  In reaching a conclusion to the landmarked status, the HPO used every imaginable argument in favor of landmark status for the field house – and in the irrelevant case of the park’s prehistory, even pseudo-science was deployed.

Doug Dupin

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Big Bro Restored

My experiment in art conservation seemed to work.  Big Brother is now mounted to plywood with only minor warping at the edges.  Out of the press, the MDF board is flat.  I then glued it to plywood.

bigbroflattened bigbroglue bigbrogluepress bigbrowithframe

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dewarping Big Brother Oil Painting

With Matt Sesow’s exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum coming in May, I pondered the warping of his Big Brother painting that hangs on my wall.

sesow_big_brother_1aIt’s an oil painting on something like MDF/masonite.  A framing sherpa called Meredith Forte told me that the metal frame prevents any expansion of the piece and that results in a warped board.   Of course days hung in the subterranean confines of bunker#2 probably did not help its pristine state.

bunkerartbigbroToday I thought I would play art conservation expert and try to straighten out Big Brother.

bigbroinpressI salvaged two 3/4″ inch plywood from the alley, and put down a vapor barrier drop on one side of the plywood.

bigbrowithdroptarpI placed Big Brother faced down against the plastic.  And heated up some

bigbrofacedownwater and rag, and wiped the back of the board.

bigbrowithtowelI then placed some weights consisting of flooring and batteries on top of the plywood.

bigbrowithweights I realized, in addition to the batteries and wood,  I could roll the entire workbench on top of the plywood sandwich.

bigbrounderworkbench I will wait a few days before checking on progress towards flattening the art.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Hard to believe you could ever rest, let alone do so in peace – you will be missed.

dadandi dadandi1990William Francis Dupin, b. 1940 – d. 2016


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ili’ili’opae Heiau Molokai

I recently came across  photos from what was the most difficult hike of my life.  Paul Machle and I crossed a mountain range from the civilized part of Molokai (starting at the Ili’ili’opae Heiau) to the uninhabited northern side of the island.   I always figured this would be the spot to disappear to if need be.

intrepidemoPaul stands in front of the sign stating fair warning. infrontofheiauMe in front of Ili’ili’opae Heiau

IliiliopaeHeiauAbove the Heiau

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Beach Camping

Beach camping in the month of March on Assateague Island is challenging.  On our third day, wind collapsed our humongous tent and our trip was over.


Inside our tent mcmansion


Part of the beach camping experience, continuously living in sand


The beach to ourselves


threebrosInspiration by Sid Burnard


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

DC’s New Ravens

After watching this NBC 4 News story about our new DC Ravens, I made a river foray to see if I could find them.  I never found the actual nest but did spot one hanging out in a Sycamore tree.  By the amount of turds below the bird, I suspect this is a favorite spot and not far from the nest.

raven2 raven1Here might be a Dept. of Wildlife crittercam monitoring the nest.    I assume it was not a real bird, but did not want to get too close.  The little hole at the base of the tail might have been photographing me.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recent Finds on Potomac Ave.

Here are (common) stone artifacts recently found on Potomac Ave.   – flakes, broken points/chisel,  fired rock, likely pestle fragment.   5601potomacfindsJust more of  your Palisades archeo textbook finds at about 10 inches below surface.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

El Payaso Gringo

There’s always a general shock when returning to civilization, but Donald Trump’s escapades yesterday made mine even more traumatic.  Reading an article in the NYT, I found Thomas R. Edsall’s comments most insightful.

The tragedy of the 2016 campaign is that Trump has mobilized a constituency with legitimate grievances on a fool’s errand.

If he is shoved out of the field somehow, his supporters will remain bitter and enraged, convinced that a self-serving and malign elite defeated their leader.

If he prevails, a constituency that could force politicians to confront the problems of the working and middle class will waste its energies on a candidate incompetent to improve the lives of the credulous men and women lining up to support him.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Temporary Residence

carlosartstudioThis was my home-away-from-home over the past week- otherwise just known as Carlos’ art studio.  It’s beautifully enveloped in a tropical eden.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment