The building is located at 1851 – 9th Street, NW in the Washington DC neighborhood of Shaw. It currently sits abandoned. Doors locked and lights off. The building joins many of its, neighbors frozen in time, time capsules to another era; all but waiting to be cracked opened and gentrified for an incoming class of people eager to buy up what is quickly ceasing to be cheap property and even cheaper rents. A small poster affixed to the door reveals its fate “Planning Meeting 1/16/2017” its future is already determined. 1851 – 9th Street, NW which once held not only The Hospitality High School of Washington, DC but also The Odd Fellows Temple, will be rezoned and turned into upper-class apartments. Once again metamorphosing to fit the needs of its environment 1851 – 9th Street, NW once again escapes the wrecking ball.
However, 1851 – 9th Street, NW’s metamorphosis is an odd one, if only because of what, up until fairly recently it housed. 1851 – 9th Street, NW was the home of the now closed Hospitality High School of Washington, DC. The Hospitality High School of Washington, DC was founded in 1998 as charter school which specialized in preparing and training students for a life in the hospitality industry(“Hospitality High > About Us”).
It’s closing which occurred less than two years ago appeared rather odd. “Washington DC is quickly changing, with new hotels and resutrants being built every day. The demand for a trained and experienced work force seemed to be at an all-time high, why close it?” I thought. Searching for answers I quickly googled the school and was greeted with a link to a website: http://www.washingtonhospitality.org/. Don’t bother searching that link, it only now hosts a series of adds-placeholders until the domain name is bought up again, if it ever is. Undeterred by this set back. I plugged the address into to https://archive.org/web/ ‘s “Wayback Machine”. This revealed a few hits. While incomplete, the snapshot into the past which the “Wayback Machine” provided was the best I was going to get. I chose the date of “February 8th, 2014” as it not only was the most complete snapshot, but also the most recent before the servers went down.
The website itself is/was very unremarkable. Plain, while employing a limited color pallet. The website for The Hospitality High School of Washington, DC serves five distinct purposes: 1) To provide the outside world with basic contact information on the institution itself. This includes the physical address of the school, its fax and phone number, an email which one can use to request more information (the email is dead as of December 1, 2016). 2) To provide basic information on the school, such as its founding mission. 3) To promote itself, not only of its existence in the first place (the mere existence of the website accomplished this task by itself) but also of its impact on the community. This is accomplished by including media elements such as sound bites and article links from local news agencies which feature the High School. 4) To provide students resources to further their studies. These include an academic calender, links to scholarship applications, necessary forms and documents and a directory of (then) current faculty and staff. Finally, the website saught to provide information to those who sought to be employed by the institution. All in all the website was not different from any other high school website at the time. It was basic by design, and displayed its nessary information in a clear and organized manner.
The website was not designed in such a way as to hide necessary bits of information from the public in hard to access locations. The site design promoted just the opposite, with its home page provided easy to access details nessary details (such as event reminders and contact info) while other information was located in easy to access and understand sub-categories.
Due to the necessary route which one has to take to access the site as it previously exisited, it is impossible to achieve a full understanding of the site as no all of it is backed up or backed up correctly. Pictures are missing and drop down menus don’t load where they should. Not enough information exists to conclude that by the time the school closed, it was not facing any outward hardships nor was it excluding (or not excluding) those who wished to get involved in the hospitality industry.
“Hospitality High > About Us.” N.p., 8 Feb. 2014. Web. 15 Dec. 2016.