Georgetown Through the Eyes of a Forty-Three Year Old Kids Book

Being a proud District resident and a new father*, GM recently picked up a copy of the classic “This is Washington, D.C.” by M. Sasek. Browsing the book, GM saw that Georgetown gets a couple pages, and it’s pretty funny:

Georgetown is the oldest part of Washington, a district of beautiful old houses as well as of cozy small taverns and bookshops; an exclusive residential area and also an artists’ quarter. Georgetown used to be a port. It is the eastern terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canel. By the way, it is named for George II, the British king, not George Washington, the American president.

Some of this was true and still is, some was true and isn’t anymore, and some may never have been true (historians can’t decide whether Georgetown was named after George II or George Beale or George Gordon, or all three). There still are some “cozy taverns” but there are probably fewer than there used to be. We all know the sad state of Georgetown bookshops…

It’s the “artists’ quarter” that caught GM’s eye. GM went into this a bit a while back when he wrote about the infamous Hamilton Arms:

According to written accounts, in its salad days the property contained the Hamilton Arms Coffee House. The coffee shop was built in 1939 by Milo Brinkley, Mary’s father. He wanted to recreate a European-style village and thought it needed a gathering place. The community and the coffee shop eventually attracted early beatniks. And speaking of salad, the coffee shop was supposedly the site of the first salad bar in the District.

Oh, and in the 1950′s it was supposedly the location of Georgetown’s first pot-party.

GM wonders if Sasek visited Hamilton Arms before drawing these denizens of Georgetown:

*GM promises not to turn the Georgetown Metropolitan into a Daddy Blog! But being a parent in Georgetown certainly will now inform GM’s writing. And being a good place to raise kids is one of the things that most attracts GM to Georgetown; so now he gets to write about that first-hand.

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5 Comments

Filed under History

5 responses to “Georgetown Through the Eyes of a Forty-Three Year Old Kids Book

  1. Some of those “strange visitors” never left.

  2. Marcy Logan

    I hung out around Hamilton Arms in the early 1960′s – around the “pond.”
    We smoked a lot of pot, drank a lot of booze. The “mayor” was Ned Mitchell who became my friend for ten years until he died in 2004. He eventually rose to vice president of the Riggs Bank, albeit somewhat belatedly (he told me) due to his somewhat wild lifestyle which he maintained at the same time as he maintained a conservative banker facade and who attended what I called “the adult parties” of the upper, upper class of Georgetown. He was related (grandson?) to Woodbury Blair of the Washington Post and the Blair House. At the time, there were a number of authors residing in Hamilton Arms. We enjoyed “paint-in” parties but our lifestyle wasn’t as outrageous as some might have thought. A paint-in party consisted of finger painting nude bodies of all participants. What fun!! I had a Hamilton Arms menu which I gave to the Georgetown library.

  3. Pingback: Now and Once Upon a Time Ago: Canal Towpath | The Georgetown Metropolitan

  4. Do the daddy blog angle if you want. I’m sure if anyone can make it work, you will!

  5. My grandmother worked as a hostess at the Hamilton Arms Coffee House, and I visited there many times. I own some of the handpainted china used as serving dishes there. Sandra Brown Kelly, Roanoke, VA

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