Now and a Long Time Ago: Wisconsin and Dumbarton

Today on Now and a Long Time Ago, GM stops by one of the more unusual buildings on Wisconsin Ave.: 1335 Wisconsin Ave., or what many still think of as Au Pied de Cochon.

According to the Historical American Building Survey, this structure was constructed around 1890. Interestingly, the survey came to this conclusion based upon a 1960 interview with George Scheele from the Georgetowner. Scheele stated that he believed that the first business to occupy the new building was Robert Weaver who ran a meat market.

From then until 1928, the building hosted a series of grocers. After remaining vacant through 1929, Payne’s Millinery opened. It only lasted three years though. By 1934, the space was a restaurant, and has remained as such ever since.

From 1939 till 1954, the restaurant on this spot was called Connor’s Grill. By the time of the photo above, however, Le Hi Grill had moved in.

In 1976, Pied de Cochon moved in. Ghosts of DC ran a nice history of this historic restaurant last winter, including how it hosting the famous “un-defection” of Vitaly Yurchencko in 1985.

Pied de Cochon sadly closed its doors forever in 2004. Despite the unfortunate current tenant, Five Guys, much of the character of the building is in tact. Hopefully someday Five Guys will shuffle off and a better option will move in.

Finally, GM would like to point out the stark difference in tree cover on Dumbarton. In 1966 there was a tall line of trees. Now there’s hardly anything.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Now and a Long Time Ago: Wisconsin and Dumbarton

  1. Nemo

    I don’t recall the phonetic spelling: I believe it was named the “Lehigh” Grill or Tavern — could be wrong, though. Not a fancy place, but old-style Georgetown; decent food and drinks, served without pretention to a broad spectrum of customers — working men did not feel out of place there. Nothing was quite like Brits, though, the all-night breakfast place where toffs in evening clothes rubbed shoulders with GU and GW students, drag queens, cops, street people, and goodness knows what else. The tin-fronted building next door to the Lehigh/Le-Hi, which later housed Les Fruits de Mer, was once home to the gay-friendly Georgetown Grill. Too bad about the loss of “forest cover” in Georgetown: perhaps the lost trees were elms that succumbed to Dutch Elm disease.

  2. RNM

    Personally, I miss the old late night haunt of Au Pied. So many post work call meals there with friends. That being said, not sure why the locally grown Five Guys must be so derided. We probably eat from there more than we did Au Pied over the last decade of its life…and thank goodness stop getting the phone calls for Au Pied since our landline is one digit off…I used to answer the phone Au Pied, until one day I got someone who was looking for them and had to convince them I wasn’t them. Still, don’t get the pretentious anti anything that appeals to real people tone that this blog takes.

  3. RNM

    A community that is diverse can handle both a Citronelle and a Five Guys. That is the beauty of living in a real live city and not some Disneyfied gated compound that seems to be the desired residence for some.

  4. Kate Whitmore

    I also noticed the loss of trees in the modern photo.

  5. the difference in tree cover is just plain stark. it blows my mind that the tree canopy is still such low priority in town. sure, we work hard through organizations like casey trees to fight the loss of trees, but it’s clear that it’s going to take more involvement to bring back a full canopy of healthy trees in this city.

  6. z

    the bigger issue is the awful facade on the adjacent shoe store….

  7. As times change, so must many establishments. Glad to see a try at different types of restaurants at the locale.

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