A fascinating map created by the Army Corps of Engineers from 1884 demonstrates that Georgetown could’ve almost been lakeside.
The map, from the George Washington University Museum collection, was highlighted yesterday by the museum. What it depicts was the plan to convert Rock Creek into a large reservoir by constructing a large dam across the gorge.
This would have brought the lake right up t the northeast corner of Georgetown. (Given that Oak Hill Cemetery was already there, it is likely that the plan would have located the dam somewhat more north than that.)
The museum reports that local lobbying scotched the plan. Instead Rock Creek Park was created as one of the first national parks, in 1890. That was probably a better outcome, although an even better outcome would be if they hadn’t constructed commuter highways through the park.