The D.C. Historic Preservation Board has voted unanimously to designate the Evans-Tibbs house in Northwest a historic landmark.
"This has made my day -- no, actually it's made my year," said Thurlow Tibbs Jr., the fourth generation of his family to live in the home at 1910 Vermont Ave. NW.
The Evans-Tibbs home, built in 1894, was nominated to become a local historic landmark in 1981. The cream-colored house has served as a gathering place for the black elite for more than 80 years.
Tibb's great-grandfather, Wilson Bruce Evans, a noted educator, bought the home in 1904 when nearby U Street was becoming a center for black culture and commerce. The house was passed down to his daughter, Lillian Evans Tibbs, the first American black woman to sing opera professionally.
At the turn of the century black leaders as philosophically diverse as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois visited Evans.
Evans raised his children in a whirl of intellectual and cultural activity that would intensify by the time his daughter, Lillian, had children of her own.
An accomplished lyric soprano, she was better known to the public as Madam Lillian Evanti. She was chosen as a national cultural ambassador to Latin America during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration and helped found the National Negro Opera Company in 1941.
During the 1930s and 1940s. she turned the home into a salon. Author Langston Hughes would drop by, as would dancer Bill (Bojangles) Robinson and poet Georgia Douglas Johnson.
Evanti had the home remodeled extensively in 1933 in a neoclassical motif -- the interior embellished with columns, trimmed with delicate molding, and aglow with soft yellow light from the windows.
The designation means that neither the interior nor the exterior of the house can be changed without city approval.
The board also recommended that the home, be nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.