City Paper Widget

Monday, October 20, 2014

Historic Preservation Website Reboot Creates Hundreds of Broken Links, Vanished Information

Without any apparent announcement or press release that I could find, DC's Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) and its mother agency, the Office of Planning (OP), have redesigned HPRB's web presence. The result, as of this writing, is that hundreds of hyperlinks that formerly led to HPRB informational web pages and official documents, from its welcome page to scores of staff reports, now lead to a default "page not found" page (see screenshot below). In addition, I am unable to find any information on the HPRB website about Board meetings before September 2014.

A Google Search for HPRB yields this
A email request for information from HPRB about the broken links and removed information was not answered as of this writing. The email request was made before opening of business three days ago, Friday, October 17.

In addition, Google searches for "HPRB" or "Historic Preservation Review Board" also lead to the default "page not found" page, as of this writing.

This page advises, among other things, to visit the Office of Planning at the following URL: . However, this URL does not lead to a functioning web page.

However, there is a link on the page that reads "Historic Preservation" on the upper left of the same page. This link leads to the new HPRB web presence.

In the HPRB's new "Agendas & Reports" page, no longer has information prior to September 2014. Before the reboot, this HPRB page contained information going back to 2010 -- see this archived page of the old HPRB website from Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.

Hyperlinks to HPRB documents, especially staff reports, from many local blogs and other sources now lead to dead links. A short Internet search lead me to find broken links to HPRB documents at the web site of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B/Dupont Circle (the broken link is located on this page) and at the following blogs that report on HPRB activity:
In each case above, the hyperlink leads to the page with the broken link.

Dozens of links to HPRB-related stories I have written about on this blog in the
last 14 months are now also dead.

Finally, the abbreviated URL ( that HPRB posts on its mandatory public placarding (see example left), which promises a web page where people unfamiliar with the process can get information about historic preservation review, also leads to the unhelpful "page not found" page.

HPRB announced a pilot program of public placarding of historic preservations projects in March -- see SALM blog post of March 28. I first noticed actual placards appearing in public in September -- see SALM blog post of September 2.

I would appreciate comments or emails from anyone who can help me make sense of the HPRB website redesign and/or help me re-link articles to now-difficult-to-find HPRB information.


  1. Contact Bruce Yarnall at HPO. He's the info guy, and usually good about returning messages quickly.

    1. Thank you to this commenter. Yarnall replied to my email only minutes after this post was published. I hope to do another post with more information soon.