This week for Georgetown Time Machine, GM is exploring a photo of Dumbarton House from 1913. It comes from the Willard R. Ross postcard collection in the DCPL archives.
While this photo might seem not so different from how the building appears today, there are some rather huge differences!
But first, the small differences. For one, the building was not called Dumbarton House yet. It was called Bellevue and it was owned at the time by John L. Newbold. Newbold had purchased the home just the year before from Howard Hinckley.
Although the home was built in the federal period, and had many distinctive features of that style, such as the Palladian windows and the bowed rear wall, Newbold added some Georgian features. You can see these in the picture above, particularly the quoins (the blocky white parts attached along the corners) and the parapet across the top of the roofline. Since the Society of the Colonial Dames, who currently own the building, want to highlight the original federal features of the house, these additions were removed.
The house was also known as the Rittenhouse home (as mentioned in the photo). In fact Hinckley bought the house from Sarah Louise Rittenhouse, who grew up there. Rittenhouse was a prominent Georgetown leader who was instrumental in the creation of Montrose Park (the sculpture in the rose garden is dedicated to her). Rittenhouse also was instrumental in another significant act that came from the same legislation that created Montrose Park: the construction Dumbarton Bridge.
It’s that time of year again when GM harangues you about caring for our precious street trees. So here is goes:
Water your street trees!
It’s still early in the spring, and trees are only starting to leaf out, so you do not need to start watering street trees immediately. But it will become necessary sooner than you think. So if you have a young tree on the sidewalk in front of your house or apartment, please, please keep it in mind this summer and water it. The basic goal you should have is to water young trees at least once a week, so long as you get a good 20-25 gallons of water.
The preferred watering device is the ooze tube (the bags that go around the bottom of the trees). You can differentiate them from the not-preferred gator bags because the gator bags have zippers. (They’re not preferred because they can create an unhealthy environment around the trunk and you have to remove them after each use.) With the ooze tube you can just fill it up and let it go.
Entry will be by timed tickets, which will be offered starting on May 15th. If that is too long for you to wait, season pass holders will be allowed to secure tickets for entry starting April 20th.
GM wonders if this will increase the number of people purchasing season tickets. Getting in three weeks early would be great, especially since this includes the height of the wisteria blooming. But one of the best reasons to get a season pass in normal years is to skip the (often long) line at the gate. With timed entry, the lines will be non-existent. If you think it’s still worth the money for you to get a season pass, buy it here.