The Georgetown Metropolitan is proud to present the first in an ongoing series of thought pieces titled “Why Not”, wherein we explore different ideas for our neighborhood that are not typically discussed. The first installment relates to the street names. As described ad naseum last week, most of the streets in Georgetown used to have different names. They were changed in 1880 to be consistent with the rest of the District’s street grid. In the interests of celebrating Georgetown’s past as an independent city, should we consider changing them back?
Of course not, but there’s another option for recognizing the past that comes from the Crescent City. Find out after the jump:
Just about every street in Georgetown used to be called something else. You can see from this map below all the old names:
Changing the names back to the old names would be silly and confusing (and probably expensive). But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something to highlight the 120 years Georgetown spent as an independent municipality.
Down in the French Quarter in New Orleans, there are a series of signs on the walls announcing what that street was called when the city was under Spanish control. Here’s an example:
It’s impractical to ask people to install similar signs on their houses here in Georgetown, but could we install alternative street signs below the official names? In the Capitol Hill Historic District they have emblem signs on the sign posts; Georgetown really has nothing like that. First of all: we ought to do something like that. Moreover, in whatever we do we ought to consider putting in an acknowledgement of what the old street name was since it’s an expression of Georgetown’s independent past.
P.S.: Was R St. really called “Road Street”? Did they get up that high and just run out of ideas? That’s one of the few cases where a plain letter’s probably better…