One Place, Two Stories

This is the Columbia Residences, the apartment building where I live in D.C.

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It is right between Georgetown and downtown DC, and is considered a very desirable location for those, like my dad, who work downtown and want to be close to the restaurants, shops, and other conveniences of Georgetown. He was one of the first tenants of the Columbia Residences after the company he works for developed it into condominiums in 2006. He has a two bedroom condominium on the first floor.

This is the Columbia Hospital for Women (circa 1920)

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Opened in 1870 shortly after the Civil War, the hospital was created due to a shortage of medical care facilities in the area. Secretary of War E. N. Stanton indicated that funds be set aside to establish this 50-bed hospital, as long as 20 of these beds were reserved for the wives and widows of U.S. soldiers. Half of the first floor was the site of the morgue.

When looking at the photography of Jessica Ingram, I immediately thought of my home. Not necessarily because any brutalities took place here (that I know of), but instead because of unknown. I didn’t know what took place in this building until I moved in with my dad six months after he had moved downtown, and he tried to keep it from me, knowing about my intense childhood fear of ghosts. However, the placard above the front door of the building still reads “Columbia Hospital for Women”, and the history of the land the building stands on, and the impurity of place, is ever-present. 

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