The Morning Metropolitan

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Good morning Georgetown, here’s the latest:

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  1. In honor of 1789’s 50th birthday, let’s look back at what the reception was like at the time (link to source in my name):

    But before he could open up shop, McCooey was caught up in a battle for the establishments’ liquor licenses. A group of Georgetown residents signed a petition objecting to the venture on the grounds that it would “alter the residential character of the neighborhood.”

    Anonymous anti-1789 letters were sent to neighbors, according to an article titled “ABC Hears Final Debates; 1789 Decision Anticipated,” published in The Hoya on Dec. 7, 1961.

    Opponents argued that the restaurant’s location was too close to Holy Trinity School, adding that the university would profit from its alcohol sales. Residents feared that the restaurant would foster a drunken atmosphere, diminishing the character of the high-end neighborhood.

    McCooey’s attorney called the protesters’ efforts “a campaign of almost military precision, unparalleled in [his] 25 years of legal experience,” according to the Dec. 7 article.

    Concerned neighbors launched a two-pronged effort to halt 1789’s progress. After attempting to prevent McCooey from obtaining liquor licenses, the neighbors turned to the Progressive Citizens Association of Georgetown and petitioned to revoke the remodeling permit McCooey had already been granted.

    “There was a great deal of apprehension about and resistance to the university’s expansion into the neighborhood in the early 1960s,” Curran said. “Neighbors began referring to ‘imperial Georgetown.'”

    According to The Hoya’s article “1789 Sets Construction With Zoning Board’s OK,” published Oct. 26, 1961, neighbors contested the construction project, arguing that it would not adhere to zoning restrictions and that it lacked adequate parking space.

    According to Curran, local residents appealed to powers beyond the local government and alcohol board.

    “One resident wrote to the Archbishop of Washington: ‘The clock on Healy Hall strikes … pealing forth over our neighborhood the ominous suggestion that our days as a residential community are numbered and soon … Georgetown University will extend all the way to Rock Creek,'” Curran said.

    Plus ça change…

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