I really hate the fake rock facades found throughout our neighborhood (and beyond...). Applied mostly in the early to middle 20th century, they often covered over beautiful brickwork (the photo above shows two once-identical facades; the ornate brickwork on the one on the left was covered in the fake stone you see). My hope is that as that the continued renewal of Shaw will eradicate the misguided faux fad of our predecessors.
In seeking explanation for this poor taste phenomenon, I found this intriguing and informative article explaining the origin of fake facade stone, the reasons people applied it, the potential problems with its application, and the potential pitfalls in its removal. The article even quotes our very own Historic Preservation Planner Stephen Callcott, who is responsible for permit review and inspections of work in the Shaw, Blagden Alley, 14th Street, Massachusetts Ave., Mount Vernon Square, and U Street Historic Districts (among others less relevant to this Blog, like Dupont).