This week on Georgetown Time Machine, GM is donning a fez and visiting the old Masonic Hall on Wisconsin Ave. just above M st.
The photo comes from the Willard R. Ross Postcard collection. The photo is dated from 1911 and shows 1212 Wisconsin Ave. On the first floor is the venerable Weaver hardware store. The building dates to 1858, but this family-owned business has operated there since 1889. The family continues to operate at this same location, which it continues to own.
The hardware store operated on the first floor at the time of this photo. On the second floor was the meeting hall of Potomac Lodge No. 5 of the freemasons. (Freemason halls were always on the second floor to prevent eavesdroppers). This is the oldest masonic lodge in DC, and even predates the formation of DC.
You may be wondering: Wait it doesn’t look like this anymore does it? Indeed it does not. That’s because it suffered a catastrophic fire in 1963:
The building was rebuilt as one of those faux historic styles that GM is always banging on about. The Weaver’s continued to operate their hardware store on the first floor up to the 90s:
But then they moved upstairs and began renting out the first floor to retail (Abercrombie and Fitch is there now). The Masonic lodge continues to operate upstairs as well.