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Who's Who At the Overbeck Project

Dozens of Capitol Hill residents contribute their time and talents to make this all-volunteer project a success. Here are just some of them ...


Bernadette and Jim McMahon raised their family on Capitol Hill and have long been active here with St. Peter's Church, the Boy Scouts and other community efforts. Bernadette is retired from a career as a chemist with the Food and Drug Administration, and works now as a consultant in data base development. Jim, an American history buff, served as an attorney for a number of government agencies and congressional committees.


John Franzén, our Steering Committee chairman, ran his own media consulting and production company in Washington for three decades and also served as a senior communications officer for the Pew Charitable Trusts. A resident of Capitol Hill since 1973, he conducted the interviews with Ruth Ann Overbeck that led to the founding of this project.

Nicky Cymrot is president of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, which funds and supports this project. She has co-owned a real estate rental and development business on Capitol Hill since the 1960s, headed the creation of Hill Center, and supported numerous other community organizations and projects.

Stephanie Deutsch, a writer who contributes frequently to Voice of the Hill and the book review sections of the Washington Times and the New York Times, is a board member of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation. She and her husband David are native Washingtonians and longtime residents of Capitol Hill, where they've raised three children.

Robert Hughes was Ruth Ann Overbeck's husband and worked with her on many of her historical research projects and neighborhood preservation efforts. An accomplished artist and active member of the Capitol Hill community, he manages the Scholars Program of the American Chemical Society.

Nancy Metzger, who also chairs our Search Committee, has been intensively involved for many years in Capitol Hill community improvement and historic preservation efforts. She headed the successful effort to have the Capitol Hill Historic District extended down 8th Street S.E. to the Navy Yard and serves today on the city's Historic Preservation Review Board.


Nancy Metzger chairs our Search Committee, which identifies prospective interviewees in the neighborhood and links them up with our interviewers. She's the author of Brick Walks and Iron Fences, a guide to walking tours of Capitol Hill, and former chair of the Historic District Committee. Before the Overbeck Project was founded, she was already recording oral histories in the neighborhood with the support of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society.

Stephanie Deutsch, a Capitol Hill writer, also serves on our Steering Committee (above) and is currently at work on a biography of businessman and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald. She's a board member of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation and chairs its Grants Committee.

Bonny Wolf heads our effort to record the recollections of longtime merchants at Eastern Market, the last surviving facility of its kind in the city. Bonny has been a writer, reporter and editor for nearly thirty years, and is working now on a book about food in the lives of George and Martha Washington.


Nancy Metzger and Maygene Daniels coordinate the Overbeck History Lectures, held four times a year at Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital (921 Pennsylvania Avenue S.E.). If you have suggestions for future topics or speakers, please contact them at OverbeckLecture@CapitolHillHistory.org.


Elizabeth Lewis is coordinating a special effort by our volunteers to record the recollections of merchants, outdoor vendors, public officials and other individuals connected with Eastern Market, documenting the survival and rebuilding of the beloved Hill landmark in the wake of the 2007 fire. A former congressional speechwriter, Elizabeth has lived on the Hill with her husband David Abernathy for over 20 years and has served on the board of the Capitol Hill Day School, which their two children attended.


Christine Castro of Hunt Smith Design manages our web site. Hunt Smith Design is a full-service graphic design firm headquartered on Capitol Hill.

Special thanks to Rick Hamecs, who managed this site for its first eight years of operation. We greatly appreciate his time and effort.

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    The Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project, Washington, D.C.