GM is back again with Ghosts of Markets Past. This is a series in which GM highlights properties around the residential parts of the neighborhood and discuss their previous life as a commercial establishment. Today is a property close to GM’s heart, in that it is literally just down the street from his house: 1531 33rd St.
This property, on the southeast corner of Volta and 33rd, is a classic former market building. Two features jump out on that score: a door facing the corner and a large picture window.
The property is actually only a recent ghost, as it was used for retail until last year. But GM will start with the deeper past.
As early as 1896, the building hosted a grocery store:
(Volta Place was called Q St. at the time. It didn’t become Volta Place until 1920).
So it’s possible the grocery store existed even earlier. In either event, the store was owned by a succession of shop keepers. Like many grocery stores around DC, the proprietors were often Jewish. For instance, for a while the grocery store appears to have been owned by Jacob Bass, who was prominent in the Washington Jewish society, having once served as president of the Adas Israel synagogue.
In the 1920s, the grocery store joined a syndicate of small grocery stores called District Grocery Society:
The relationship with DGS lasted at least through the 1940s, but the operator changed several times. For instance, in 1935 it was run by Meyer Yalom:
This week for Georgetown Time Machine, GM is taking a slightly different approach. He’s highlighting an ad in the 1871 Boyd’s Directory. The establishment was the Union Bottling Depot, run by Riley A. Shinn.
It was, in effect, a soda factory, producing soft and hard drinks, like ginger ale or porter beer. It was located on the corner of what is now 29th and Olive:
The company started at this location in 1843 as Rother’s Vinegar Depot. It passed through several hands until Shinn joined in ownership with a Charles Arny. Shinn bought him out in 1863. He renamed the company as the Union Bottling Depot. It was probably named that because Shinn also owned the famous Union Hotel on the same block:
The Streets of Washington wrote a fantastic article about the proliferation of soda dealers like this one, but the relevant part is this:
For Christmas, GM’s neighbor gave him a lovely jar of honey. But it was not just any honey, it was honey made right here in Georgetown.
The honey is made by a small family-run company called Heritage Honey. It was started in 2011. As described on their website:
We’ve lived in Georgetown for many years and only started beekeeping quite recently + unexpectedly when we learned about the success of beekeepers in urban areas. Our family has always been passionate about bees, beekeeping, gardening and nature.
A handful of new restaurants are on the horizon for Georgetown. Although GM has few details about them, he can at least give you a brief list!
The first is called Afghania and it set to take over the former Don Lobos location at 2811 M St. The cuisine will obviously be Afghan.
The second is Georgetown Seafood, taking over the former Luke’s Lobster’s location at 1211 Potomac St. It’s unclear whether this will be another lobster roll shack, or have a different focus. The space is so small that it can’t really accommodate anything but a prepared food operation.