Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:
It’s that time of year again, when people start to wonder what the hell are those giant grain brain-shaped fruit around Georgetown. As in past years, GM is ready with the answer, as reprinted below:
This time a year, if you wonder around Montrose or Volta Parks you’re bound to find on the ground weird softball-sized green fruit like the one above. People are often so struck by the sight of the fruit, they pick up one or two of them and bring them home. But what are they, you ask?
Despite their green color, they’re oranges. Osage oranges, to be specific. They are grown by Osage trees, which line the Parrot rope walk. These trees are prevalent in the Great Plains states, where they are often planted along hedgerows. Traditionally, the pliable but strong nature of this tree’s wood made it valuable for fence posts and archery bows.Continue reading
Due largely to stubborn vaccine hesitancy, Covid has continued to rage throughout DC at rates it hasn’t seen since some of the worst pre-vaccine days of last winter. But it is an uneven wildfire. While it races through neighborhoods east of the Anacostia–where seven day average positives rates reach as high as 260 per 100k residents–in the western side of the city it remains low. And that includes Georgetown. That said, Georgetown has seen an increase in positive cases that dates to mid-August, i.e. the time when thousands of Georgetown students began returning to campus.
But GM doesn’t want to exaggerate the uptick. Last week, the city reported that just 11 positive cases were found in west Georgetown, and 13 in east Georgetown (which for data collection’s sake includes west Dupont). This is up from where the levels were the last time GM looked into it in July. At that point, west Georgetown had only two cases for the whole month. East Georgetown had a bit more at eleven. Yet even still, west Georgetown is still only reporting positives at seven day average rate of 16 cases per 100k residents. East Georgetown reports a similar rate of 19 cases per 100k residents. (For comparison’s sake, the great state of Connecticut, which is currently reporting the lowest levels of all states, has a rate of 18 per 100k.)Continue reading
This week for Georgetown Time Machine, GM is again passing on an amazing shot unearthed by the great Old Time DC account (you should follow them!). It’s taken from the back of Oak Hill Cemetery looking down to Rock Creek circa 1875.
The photo is sort of 3D. It is one half of a stereoview shot. An accompanying shot was taken a few inched to one side of this one using a camera like this:
The two prints could be viewed simultaneously using a special viewer and the combined effect was to give the viewer a 3D view of the scene. If you ever used a Viewmaster as a kid, you can remember the experience. This technology was the first steps towards the modern 3D movies we have today (which seem to wax and wane in popularity over the years).
This particular photo was taken by William Moody Chase, a longtime resident of Baltimore. A Civil War vet, he made a career out of touring the mid-Atlantic taking stereoviews of dramatic scenery, like this one. He operated from the end of the war until 1895 and published over 2,000 prints.
The shot itself is quite striking as it shows Rock Creek in a much different state to the one it has today. Of course the intrusive highway is not present. But beyond that the most notable difference is that there was a dam up river a bit:
It almost appears as if there is a road that travels down to and across the dam, which would not be suprising. This was long before the great bridges started to span Rock Creek. Rather than even building a small bridge, it was often easier to just create a spot where a wagon could ford the river, barring any flooding. (Cars crossed Rock Creek by fording into the late 20th century.)
That said, this 1861 topographical map doesn’t show a road crossing at this spot:
This map shows fords elsewhere, so it’s safe to assume that there wasn’t one here, at least not in 1861.
Oak Hill Cemetery was completed in 1853, so it was several decades old by the time this photo was taken. (If you’re interested in the cemetery in the time of the Civil War, GM highly recommends the bizarrely fascinating novel Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders.)