Now and a Long Time Ago: TJ and M


It’s been a while since GM has written a new entry for the Now and a Long Time Ago series, but today he ends the wait. Unfortunately he had some technical difficulties and can’t publish the “swipe” photo. Static photos will have to suffice.

Today’s location is the southeast corner of Thomas Jefferson St. and M. It currently houses Juicy Couture, but for over 100 years this building housed the Birch Funeral Home.

Started in 1861 by Joseph F. Birch, this funeral home served Georgetown until the mid 1960s. Joseph apparently was a cabinetmaker too (which makes sense given the similarity between a cabinet and a coffin).

By 1892, the phrase “and sons” was appended to the name, suggesting a multi-generational concern.

The home shows up in city directories as late as 1965, but by 1967 the building was vacant.

The shots above show Thomas Jefferson st. What now is a row of show windows was once a set of stable doors. The older photo was from 1967, so horses had probably long since vacated the property, but you can still see how they looked.

It’s easy as modern Americans living in an old neighborhood to forget or overlook how much infrastructure there was around horse travel. Many old stables are gone, or converted like these were.



1 Comment

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One response to “Now and a Long Time Ago: TJ and M

  1. Joseph F. Birch’s cabinet making business began in Georgetown in the early 1820s and by 1841 so many requests were made of him for coffins that he switched his “business model.” A good source of information is the four volume set “Register of Burials of the Joseph F. Birch Funeral Home” that covers the years 1849 to 1938. Available at the DC Public Library’s Peabody Room and Washingtoniana Division

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