Now and a Long Time Ago: M and Wisconsin

This week on Now and a Long Time Ago, GM swings by M and Wisconsin. Today, this is the location of Calvin Klein Underwear, the former Unos, and the ever going-out-of-business Riccardi’s.

In 1966 the scene was somewhat different. For one thing, there was a huge neon sign on the side of the building. It spelled out “Comley’s” and it was advertising the George A. Comley flower shop that stood at that spot. Comley started selling flowers in Georgetown in 1905. His shop was located originally at 1204 32nd (which, confusingly, it was Wisconsin Ave. was called back then) right next to W.T. Weavers and Sons.

It seems that Comley’s wasn’t open too much longer after this photo. By the mid 70s, this was the location of the Old Thread Oriental Rug company.

Next to Comley’s was Randolph’s barbershop. It too did not survive much beyond the date of this photo. By 1977, both this location and the old Comley’s location were combined into a restaurant called La Potagerie.

La Potagerie has a bit of an interesting history as well. It opened during a time when Georgetown residents were beginning to fight any new liquor license application. This was pre-moratorium and the residents were pinning their hopes on a moratorium being put in place. In the mean time they were fiercely fighting each new application. La Potagerie lost its fight for a license and either didn’t stay open long, or never opened. By 1981, Chicago’s Pizzeria Uno opened an outpost here, which just closed a few months ago.

On the far left, in 1966 sat “Parties Unlimited”. This store was owned by Paul Hochman, who served as the president of the Georgetown Businessmen’s Association. GM’s not sure when it opened but there are ads for it (or rather the Singer sewing machine center it hosted) back into the 40s. Hochman was also a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force who served in WWII. He died five years before this photo and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Now and a Long Time Ago: M and Wisconsin

  1. Nemo

    A very, very handsome Federal style double house. When was it built — 1815-1830? I wonder how I’ve missed it all these years, and what the original ground floor looked like. Given the fact that High Street/32nd Street/Wisconsin Avenue was at least partially commercial by that time, the ground levels of both buildings might well have been offices or shops even then. It does appear that the street level was lowered a little during the great “Grading of Washington” in the late 19th century, but not by much.

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