In 1864—the same year that Congress mandated funds for Arlington Cemetery— Abraham Lincoln commissioned $25,000 for construction of Washington, DC's first naval hospital just blocks from the Capitol. Now, 145 years later, the Old Naval Hospital, a landmark of the Capitol Hill neighborhood, has been transformed into Hill Center, a vibrant, campus-like community center for cultural enrichment, lifelong learning, and civic engagement.
In just over a year and at cost of some $10 million, the facility has undergone a major, historic renovation, bringing the structure back to its original appearance, adorned in its original colors and surrounded by its monumental wrought-iron fence.
Hill Center's 11 program rooms, including a fully outfitted demonstration kitchen, computer labs, activity and meeting rooms, will host classes in writing, cooking, computer literacy, language, GED, ESL, drawing and painting, parenting, yoga, Zumba, and much, much more. The Center will feature an active calendar of special events, including chamber music and other musical performances, sneak television previews, film showings, book readings, and lectures—all supported by state-of-the-art video projection, audio, and lighting technology.
In addition, Hill Center will feature interpretive displays and a docent program to honor the Old Naval Hospital's proud history as a post-Civil War hospital, medical training facility, and old soldier's home.
With its beautifully landscaped gardens and gracious architecture, Hill Center promises to be a grand addition to the Capitol Hill neighborhood and a jewel in the crown of the city.