This week on Georgetown Time Machine, GM visits the oldest structure still standing in Georgetown and the day it was knocked down a few pegs, historically-wise.
The building, obviously, is the Old Stone House, which appears now pretty much exactly as it appeared in this article, dated July 5, 1932. The reason for the article was that the owners of the building decided to take down a plaque from the building claiming that it had served as George Washington’s headquarters while the city was being surveyed:
This misbelief may explain why such an old building survived into the 20th century on such a busy commercial street long after most other 18th century structures were replaced. GM recently explored how a mistaken belief about another historical building in Georgetown led many believe that the famous Suter’s Tavern was still around into the 20th century. (It wasn’t). In that case the building mistakenly believed to be Suter’s Tavern was knocked down itself some years later.
As for the Old Stone House, it wasn’t for lack of trying that a connection to Washington wasn’t found:
Notwithstanding its fall from grace, the building survived. By the 1950s it was acquired by the National Park Service to serve as a museum to early 18th century Georgetown. (At the time it was acquired it was home to a used car dealer.)
There is something refreshing in seeing people take down a “Washington Slept Here” sign and replace it (figuratively) with one of those novelty “On this spot in 1770 Nothing Happened” signs, despite the fact it surely lowered the value of the property. Historical accuracy matters!
2 responses to “Georgetown Time Machine: Historic Historical Revisionism”
If the removed sign exists, I want it for the Peabody Room!
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