Category Archives: Circa

Circa: November 1980

Today GM adds another entry to his occasional Circa series, wherein he looks back to a particular snap-shot of Georgetown in an earlier time. Up next: 1980.

On the eve of the 1980 election, all of Washington was on the edge of its seat following the close race between Carter and Reagan. However, at least a few were out in the streets looking for some booze. And not just any booze: Canadian Club Whiskey.

The reason they were out on the streets looking is that Canadian Club hid a case of its liquor somewhere in the District. Where was it?

Start at a place that was named for America’s most important city. See where a bark takes you. From there, go to what you can’t miss. When you have arrived, face in the direction of a past scandal that was uncovered and made public. Turn in the opposite direction and make tracks for a nearby Metro station. Ride three stops.

Come up and then find the way to a famous ending. Continue in the most obvious direction, when you know the time is right. Before it’s too late, head for the nearest bridge that can take you over water. If it becomes impossible to continue in a straight line, go toward a body of water and find a spot with three banks. From the highest bank, go in the direction of a bridge. When you’ve reach it, walk back 100 paces and you’ll be right over the hidden treasure: a whole case of Canadian Club.

It’s all yours if you’re first to find the person in charge and say, “C.C. please” with feeling.

So where was that case of Canadian Club? Continue reading



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Circa: October 1986

Phot courtesy of the Library of Congress


GM would like to introduce a new segment: Circa. For this segment, he will highlight an article about Georgetown from the Washington Post’s archive that captures a particular moment or issue from the past that has slipped into the fog of neighborhood history. The first article: “Georgetown Market’s Bitter Saga; Lease Drew Criticism, but Developer Says He Lost Millions” October 6, 1986. Hope you enjoy.


As early as 1795 there was a market at what we now call 3276 M St. Throughout the 19th century the market waxed and waned. At times it was a produce market at other times it was a slave auction house. Eventually it was torn down and replaced in 1865 with the building that stands today. In the 20th century it saw almost steady decline. From 1945 until the 1970’s it housed Southern Distributors, an autoparts wholesaler (seen above in 1966). By the mid 1970’s it sat empty.

Interestingly, almost since the beginning the local government has owned the property. It was first conveyed to the Georgetown Corporation in 1803 and then became the property of the District when Georgetown was absorbed in 1871. It remains a District-owned property to this day.

Circa October 1986:

Herb Miller’s Western Development took over a lease with the District in 1979 that called for it to operate the building as a market. Over the course of the convening six years, the market was a disaster. Continue reading


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