What is This Mystery Smokestack on Capitol Hill?

There is a mystery smokestack on Capitol Hill. You may have seen it behind St. Peter’s Church at 2nd and C St. SE. Below is an image sent to us by GoDCer Geoff a while back, asking what this smokestack was. If anyone in the GoDC community knows, please share your thoughts below in the comments.

- click image for more -
Mystery smokestack on Capitol Hill
Mystery smokestack on Capitol Hill

Here is the satellite view from Google Maps. The smokestack is in the middle, behind the church.

Below is what the block looked like in the 1921 Baist map. I see now evidence of a smokestack.

1921 map of 2nd and C St. SE
1921 map of 2nd and C St. SE

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  • Publius Washingtoniensis

    Elementary, my dear Watson: this chimney serves or served the common steam heat furnaces for Saint Peter’s Church, its Rectory, and probably its then-Convent, located on C Street, SE, which now serves as a residence for right-wing House Members and was the inspiration for “Alpha House.” Saint Peter’s current ungainly flat roof replaced an elegant peaked roof with an exceptionally high gable. It was destroyed in a massive fire in 1940 or 1941. Ghosts of Washington should try to find photos of the church as originally designed. Incidentally, Daniel Carroll of Duddington, one of the original land owners of the District of Columbia, donated the land on which the Saint Peter’s campus is built.

    • korbinator

      You’re right, 3/27/1940, a 5-alarm fire

  • JJJ

    Awesome find. I would love to learn more about my area – Bellevue. I feel like we’re ‘the other Southwest.’ You have posted a few great items about occurrences there though.

  • LADave

    The 360° view from the Capitol on this site includes St. Peter’s with the original roof design.