This week in Now and a Long Time Ago, GM swings up Wisconsin Ave. to what is now the George Town Club. While this is not a terribly interesting selection from a visual point of view, the history of the property is in fact quite rich.
Or is it?
The George Town Club is a rather exclusive private city club that was formed in 1966. According to its website, the building it is housed in was once Suter’s Tavern.
That is not an idle claim. Suter’s Tavern (actually it was the Fountain Inn, it just was run by someone named John Suter) was one of the popular taverns that existed in Georgetown in the 1780s. It was supposedly the location of where George Washington set up his headquarters while surveying the future federal city. Pierre L’Enfant also supposedly stayed there. And Thomas Jefferson left this 18th century version of a Yelp review when he said “no man on the Atlantic coast can bring out a better bottle of Madeira or Sherry than old Suter.”
Its exact location is a mystery. But most historians agree that it was somewhere between Bridge St. (now M St.) and the river, just east of High St. (Wisconsin). In the early 20th century, most were convinced it was one of the frame houses that stood at the northwest corner of 31st and K. But by the 1940s, many were claiming that the Old Stone House was Suter’s Tavern (it most likely was not).
But where did the idea that the tavern was really all the way up at Wisconsin and Volta (or rather High St. and Fourth as it was called then)? There were not many buildings up in that part of Georgetown in the 1780s. And while the portion of the property that has wood siding could theoretically be from the 18th century, most of the rest of the properties on that block are from the mid to late 19th century. Continue reading