Georgetown’s history is well documented in photographs and history books. But an even richer source of the neighborhood’s history is in the stories of those still alive to tell them. And tonight CAG is holding its annual meeting focused on the oral history of Georgetown.
The meeting is at 7:00 at a building that is about as historical as they get in DC: the City Tavern Club (so this is also a great opportunity to get a peak in this private club for free!) On the panel giving their stories will be Steve Kurzman, Barbara Downs, Pie Friendly, Billy Martin (of Martin’s Tavern), and Chris Murray. Continue reading
While GM was away last week, he received several emails from readers lamenting the new paint-job at Serendipity 3 at M and Wisconsin. GM got home last night and took a quick trip by, and yes it is pretty hideous.
Using the company’s purplish pink hue, the restaurant painted about a quarter of the building’s trim. The color is pretty garish, but GM’s not sure if it’s made better or worse by only being haphazardly applied. It’s like they gave up once they realized how ugly it is.
But this is no call to action. Despite the rigorous historical preservation laws that Georgetown is subject to, there are no restrictions on paint color. And really, there shouldn’t be. Preservation is about preserving permanent things. Paint color is temporary (it’s slightly different, however, if we’re talking about unpainted historic brick. No protections exist for them now, but there could be a case to do so.) Continue reading
In honor of Clyde’s 50th anniversary, GM is re-running this article he wrote several years ago about a cool little community that once existed on 31st St. It was at this location that Stewart Davison, founder of Clyde’s, came across a New Yorker magazine cover that inspired the design of the restaurant. That cover can still be seen framed on the wall at Clyde’s.
Think Georgetown in the 1950′s and 60′s and most people think of JFK and socialite doyennes. Almost totally forgotten from those days in Georgetown is a coffeehouse and a community of beatniks and free-spirits once located in a small courtyard off 31st st. Nowadays it’s the office complex called Hamilton Court at 1232 31st. St. Find out the wine-soaked pot-scented history of this perfectly ordinary looking office complex after the jump:
Right now the businesses and residents of the neighborhood near Nationals Stadium are arguing over what that neighborhood should be called. Residents seem to prefer the more established name of Navy Yard, while the BID prefers its own name: Capitol Riverfront.
If Georgetown is any precedent, then the newer Capitol Riverfront name won’t stick, at least not forever. As Georgetown shows, while a new name might stick around for a little while, eventually people are drawn back to historic names.
Georgetown preexisted the District of Columbia by fifty years. With the formation of the District, Georgetown remained an independent city under the umbrella of the new capital.
In 1871 the charter for Georgetown was revoked and the city was merged with the city and county of Washington. Ever since there have been no independent municipalities in DC.
In 1878, Congress revoked DC’s limited democracy and imposed an appointed commissioner system that lasted until 1967. In doing so, Congress redubbed Georgetown as “West Washington”. Continue reading
GM is off to Europe this week, so in the meantime enjoy a rerun of his Field Guide to Georgetown Homes:
If there’s one constant in Georgetown real estate listings, it’s that every house, no matter its shape and style, is described as “Federal”. The problem is that only a small percentage of homes in Georgetown could fairly be described as “Federal”.
As GM described during his ten favorite things countdown, Georgetown represents a cross section of 19th century architecture. It has buildings of just about every major style from that time period. To help his readers better appreciate the wealth of architectural styles in Georgetown, GM is going to take a shot at writing a field guide to Georgetown homes.
First up: Colonial and Federal Homes
This week in Old Georgetown in Color, GM returns to another old photo he’s shown before. It’s a photo of the Potomac waterfront after a flood. The photo at the Library of Congress merely says “Potomac flood, Georgetown, D.C.” [created between 1909 and 1923].
GM thinks, however, that this flood was from Feb. 1918. Check out this excerpt from a Washington Post article from 2/19/1918: Continue reading
This week on Old Georgetown in Color, GM returns to a photo he features a long time ago. It’s from August 21, 1924 and it features Father F.H. Tondorf, Prof. David Todd, and Father John S. Gipprish at the Georgetown University Observatory.
Although as GM noted previously, by the way they’re posed, it almost looks like a publicity shot from some community theater. It’s like “F.H. Tondorf, David Todd, and John Gipprish star this weekend in Ralph J. Simonsen’s ‘Catch a Rising Comet’ at the Davistown Country Playhouse.”
GM is still struggling to get the coloring just right. Particularly of things that are black or white. Nothing’s truly black, white, or even gray. There’s always a slight shade of some color, and figuring our how to add that color while keeping it still black, white or gray is tricky.