More of Those City Beautiful Plans for Georgetown

Thanks to an astute reader, GM is now aware of some more of the insane plans that would have utterly demolished a huge swath of Georgetown had they been enacted.

The two additional renderings show more of what the new streetscape would look like. And it’s 100% straight from the City Beautiful playbook. It would call for a grand new boulevard lined with dramatic new civic buildings. Here’s some closer looks:

The landing of the Key Bridge would have a grandiosity that would make Albert Speer blush:


Besides being way over the top and dreadfully destructive of the existing neighborhood, the plans don’t make a lot of geological sense. Look at where Key Bridge enters that pantheon. It’s remains at grade all the way up to what was once N St. But that is not what the existing landscape looks like, at all. They’d have to excavate the cliffs around the Car Barn all the way past the old Georgetown Hospital. And ultimately the drop from N St. down to the circle would have been a lot steeper than the drawings suggest. They be at least as steep as the drop from the top of the Carn Barn to M St., and probably a bit more than that.

And despite that huge drop, the buildings on the north side of the boulevard appear to be built at grade with N St.:

That building looks to be at least eight to ten stories above N St. That would then put the drop from the top of the building down to the boulevard at around fourteen stories. That would be nuts.

Also, the proposed traffic circle would be huge. It looks like it would be about 550 feet in diameter. Keep in mind that circles like Dupont and Washington are more like 370 feet wide. The Key Bridge circle would be about as large as Lincoln Circle is around the Lincoln Memorial. (Which having been built just five years before these plans, may have been a large part of the inspiration.)


Based upon the size of the humans in the rendering, the towers would be about 130 feet tall. Crazy.

Anyway, the plans obviously never got built. And despite GM’s diligent search through the Post archives, he can’t find any hint that these plans ever entered the public dialog. Maybe they were just the ravings of a City Beautifuler after too much Viennese coffee?

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