Then (left): The mansion at 1800 New Hampshire Avenue, NW was designed in 1908 for banker Joseph Taylor Arms. The Democratic Republic of the Congo has owned the property since the 1960s, but due to internal strife in that country, they had allowed it to deteriorate significantly, forcing the diplomatic staff to rent space elsewhere in the city. Paint was peeling, there were several holes in the tile roof, and the window sashes were rotting. Image by Travlr on Flickr, taken August 24, 2008. Click on the picture to enlarge; the deterioration is much more visible at high resolution.

The DC Preservation League listed this building first on its 2008 Most Endangered Places list. Last winter, after some prodding from the State Department, local preservation groups and neighborhood leaders, the DRC government announced it had selected a firm to restore the building.

Now (right): The roof is now repaired with original tiles, and the stucco finish restored. According to Dupont Circle Conservancy President Rick Busch, the project team will soon begin restoring the driveway in front. Image by Rick Busch.

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.