Now and a Long Time Ago: M and Wisconsin

This week for Now and a Long Time Ago, GM stays on M St. but heads east from last week. The subject of today is 3210 M St.

Currently this property hosts BCBG Maxazari, a pricey women’s store. But it’s had quite an illustrious history. It was built in 1796 to house the Bank of Columbia. Among the banks shareholders was none other than George Washington himself, who served as a director of the bank. The bank only stayed at this location until 1806. From 1807 to 1822 the federal Bureau of Indian Trade was housed in the building.

Most interesting for Georgetowners, the building served as town hall for Georgetown from 1822 till 1871, when the city’s charter was revoked by Congress.

The tall doors are a giveaway to how this building was used next. From 1883 till 1940, it was used as a station for Fire Company No. 5. In 1940 the company was merged into another company and the property was abandoned. It was used as a garage for DC’s sanitation department at least into the 1960s.

All this information plus the old photo (which dates from 1966) comes from the Library of Congress.



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5 responses to “Now and a Long Time Ago: M and Wisconsin

  1. heynerdlinger

    It would be interesting to know why the right-sde windows are offset.

  2. Hazel Denton

    Thank you for this fascinating nugget. You also highlight another factor – look at the old photo and see how well the trolley tracks lay embedded in the cobble stones – exactly the way they are being put back today.

  3. Topher

    @Heynerdlinger Maybe the staircase was there, and they wanted the window to be centered in that space, but also wanted the other three windows centered in the main room? Just a guess.

    @Hazel: You’re right. And I bet the old tracks are actually still under M St.

  4. Geronimo himself came to Georgetown and to this building to discuss matters with the Indian Affairs people. Apparently things did not go as planned for Geronimo.

    In the 1970s, local citizens and merchants tried, in vain, to make this a fire firefighting museum. It was a good idea, but funds were not easy to come by.

    Rumor also has it the CIA used this building for some nefarious doings.

    It also housed a Burger King restaurant for a few years if I’m not mistaken.

  5. Phil

    It was a Burger King for a while, and had some of the historic fire house pictures hung inside. I made the Annie’s-Burger King trek a few times back in the day.

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