Category Archives: Not So Long Ago

Not So Long Ago: Wisconsin and O St.

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This week for not so long ago, GM stops by Wisconsin and O. And the lesson here is that even when very little changes physically, a lot can change nonetheless.

Peoples Drug was founded in Washington in 1904. It grew over time to over 250 stores. Here’s a photo from the inside of the Peoples Drug that used to be at 31st and M:

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

Peoples Drug was bought by Imasco, a massive Canadian company,  in 1984. So Peoples was no longer under local ownership by the time the 1993 photo was taken above. But the name survived, and that at least gave it the feeling of parochialness. The name even lasted a few years after the company’s purchase by CVS in 1990. But by the mid-90s the local name was stripped from all stores, and that’s what we have today.

GM never visited a Peoples Drug store, so he can’t compare the relative merits of the two stores. Do you longer term residents miss Peoples? GM always laments the loss of local franchises like Riggs or Chevy Chase Bank, so even lacking actual experience with Peoples, he’d rather have them back.

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Not So Long Ago: Wisconsin and N St.

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This week for Not So Long Ago, GM heads up Wisconsin a little bit. Today it houses Reiss Limited, a British clothing importer. 18 years ago, however, this space housed one of the branches of the nearly gone and once great Kemp Mill Records.

Kemp Mill Records was founded in 1973 in Maryland (GM assumes it was Kemp Mill, MD, but he’s not positive). The store once had multiple branches spread out all over the DC-metropolitan area. Nowadays, they’ve just got one, in Hillcrest Heights, MD. But the memories are still all over the area.

GM’s not sure when Kemp Mill moved in, or when it moved out. But it was certainly gone by the time he moved to Georgetown in 2003, and it was probably gone well before then. The last good record store to shut down in Georgetown was the CD Warehouse in 2007, which was where Iceberry is now. Smash Records moved out a few years before that. The last true record shop was FYE in the mall, and that closed a few years ago. Granted, record shops are closing across the country, so the loss is hardly unique.

Reiss itself is not long for Georgetown. They plan to leave once their lease runs out. GM’s not heard whether a new tenant has been identified.

Here are the photos: Continue reading


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Not So Long Ago: Wisconsin & M

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This week for Not So Long Ago, GM sticks around M and Wisconsin. It’s a bit of a closeup shot, so it’s just one store. But it’s a notable one.

W.T. Weaver & Sons was founded in Georgetown in 1889. It was a general hardware store for most of its existence. Here’s a shot of this block 85 years ago (i.e. So Long Ago):

Four generations later, and Weaver Hardware is still family owned and opened. They’re still even at the same address, just not on the first floor anymore. While as late as 1993 they were still a general purpose hardware store–as the photo shows–since then they have transitioned to a specialty in decorative hardware. The only general hardware store left in Georgetown is the one over on 35th St. (and that one doesn’t carry that much–GM heads up to the fantastic Glover Park Hardware for his needs).

Those purveyors of quasi-pornography, Abercrombie and Fitch, now occupy this storefront. GM’s never been inside, mostly because he doesn’t want to spend the rest of the day smelling like a 15 year old boy heading off to Junior Prom. He sure wishes Weaver would get back to his roots…

Here are the shots: Continue reading


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Not So Long Ago: Wisconsin and M

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This week on Not So Long Ago, GM heads to the heart of Georgetown: Wisconsin and M. And there’s is only one difference on this block from 1993 till today, but it’s a significant one: where the fancy BCBGMaxazria now is, a Burger King once stood.

This block is particularly appropriate to consider after yesterday’s post on chain restaurants in Georgetown. When considering the relative merits of independent restaurants versus chain restaurants, it’s important to remember that there are big differences between chains. While Pain Quotidian and Paul Bakery are not unique to our neighborhood, and thus lend the neighborhood a little bit of a generic vibe, they’re still miles better than a Burger King.

This block echoes the changes made in the first Not So Long Ago, when GM discussed how the Restoration Hardware used to be a Roy Rogers. Like the BCBG store, you may not particularly care for Restoration Hardware, and it might be a soulless chain, but in GM’s opinion it’s still better than a chain fast food joint.

As GM said in response to complaints about the loss of good and cheap eats: we’ve got good and cheap eats with local character to boot, Wingo’s. Continue reading


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Not So Long Ago: M St. and Bank (again)

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Last week, GM took a look at M St. and Bank–where Cady’s Alley now is–and several readers asked about the rest of the block. So this week, GM is going to do just that.

Above is the western end of that block. Today it houses (from left to right) L’Eclat de Verre, Citysports, and Bo Concept (the Ukrainian embassy can be seen sticking out the top).

Back in 1993, this block had (left to right): Royal #1 Cleaners, Walker Gallery, Niagara Cafe & Pizza, and Sunny’s Surplus.

GM couldn’t find any mention of the cleaners or Walker Gallery. Niagara Cafe, however, is mentioned in this anachronistic list of Georgetown restaurants (which has, for instance, both Geppetto’s and Mendocino).

Sunny’s was a Maryland-based regional chain that sold military surplus and camping gear. It went bankrupt in 2007, emerged out of bankruptcy later that year, and then went back intro bankruptcy for good in 2008.

GM’s not sure when all of these specific stores closed, but he believes that Anthony Lanier started piecing together Cady’s Alley in the mid-90s, so that’s probably about when these closed.

Here are the photos: Continue reading


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Not So Long Ago: M and 33rd

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Today for Not So Long Ago, GM stops by the west end of M St. between 33rd St. and Bank St. Today this block hosts the fashionable Cady’s Alley shopping district. It’s one the the nicest additions to Georgetown in over twenty years. That’s why it’s so hard to imagine that block as a run down collection of inexpensive restaurants, which it was in 1993.

As you can see from the photo above, where Waterworks now is, an Indian restaurant once stood. GM’s not sure if it was called Tandoor Indian Cuisine, or whether that was merely descriptive of the offerings. There’s a smaller sign above the awning that says “Madurai Indian Vegetarian Cuisine”. In 1989, a listing in Vegetarian Times recommends the “Madurai Vegetarian Room” and says it’s “upstairs”. So maybe there were two restaurants, one called Tandoor Indian Cuisine, and the other Madurai Indian Vegetarian Cuisine.

The banner advertises it being 18 years old, which would mean it opened around 1975. Anthony Lanier started buying up Cady’s Alley in the mid-90s, so this restaurant probably wasn’t open much longer.

To the left of the Indian restaurant was a TCBY. Interestingly, there’s a small Metro map in the window. It’s crazy to GM to think that the rail system was only 17 years old at the time this photo was taken. The photo itself is 18 years old.

To the right is Zed’s Ethiopian Cuisine, which is now located on M and 28th (and looks a lot fancier than it did back then).

There’s another Madurai sign above Zed’s, which suggests that the restaurant was on the second floor of that building too. Continue reading


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Not So Long Ago: O St.

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Today for Not So Long Ago, GM stops by the little O St. commercial strip. Today there’s the English Rose Garden, Wingo’s, and Prince and Princess. But in 1993, it was what might be Vivian’s, Olympic Carry Out, and the Georgetown Shoe Hospital.

Because GM can’t know for sure what the name of the far left store is, he can’t find any information on it. It looks like it was a gift or clothing store.

GM knows that Wingo’s opened in 2001. GM’s not sure when the Olympic Take Out place closed. It appears to have been a Greek fast food joint (making it the second space to formerly house a Greek restaurant to be featured in Not So Long Ago). It’s funny to see the tree outside Wingo’s not covered in beads.

GM believes that the Georgetown Shoe Hospital, or some version of it, is now the cobbler that’s at 3147 Dumbarton Ave., right next to Big Planet Comics. The space on O St. where is was has been merged with Prince and Princess, a clothing store that occupies the corner of O and Wisconsin.

Finally, the O St. Studio, an exercise and physical therapy provider, appears not to have changed a lick since 1993.

Here are the photos if the above Flash file doesn’t work:


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Not So Long Ago: Wisconsin and 34th

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Today for Not So Long Ago, GM stops by Wisconsin Ave. just below 34th st.

Today it’s a Starbucks, one of two in Georgetown (there used to be a third where Georgetown Cupcake now is. It was closed due to flooding, then closed for good back when Starbucks was closing a ton of stores a few years back).

Of course to long time residents, this Starbucks will always be associated with a tragedy. In 1997, three of its employees were shot to death by Carl Derek Havord Cooper, a robber. After remaining unsolved for two years (and attracting conspiracy theories), Cooper was arrested in 1999. He is serving life in prison with no chance of parole.

In 1993, this property was a used car dealership called Georgetown Motors. GM’s not sure, but he guesses that the parking lot next the the Starbucks was where the merchandise was kept. This may have been the last car dealership in Georgetown (GM thinks there used to be one or two other ones down on M St.)

Nowadays the Starbucks here is constantly hopping. There’s a great roof deck that gets a lot of use in the warmer months. Safeway’s new lounge across the street probably has cut into the sit-around-squinting-at-laptops-drinking-coffee crowd, but the Starbucks seems to still be doing well.

Here are some static photos if the photos above don’t come through: Continue reading


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Not So Long Ago: Wisconsin and N

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This week on Not So Long Ago, GM is stopping by the northeast corner of Wisconsin and N St. Today it holds Paolo’s Restaurant, but in 1993 it held Stoupsy’s Cafe. Actually, Paolo’s was there too, but only occupied part of the space they have today.

Stoupsy’s Cafe was a greek restaurant. There is a Stoupsy’s restaurant in International Square downtown and one out at the White Flint mall. GM can only assume they’re related. GM’s not sure when Stoupsy’s closed or when Paolo’s took over the space. Anyone remember?

Prior to being Stoupsey’s, this space was a Little Tavern burger shop (an old and now-gone Baltimore-based chain). You can tell that it was once a Little Tavern since it has the distinctive architecture of the chain. It’s funny, because GM never realized that Paolo’s was once a Little Tavern, but as soon as he saw Stoupsy’s, with the old paint job, GM knew immediately that it must have been a Little Tavern. According to one account, the Little Tavern closed down in the late 80’s.

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Not So Long Ago: M and Potomac

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This week on Not So Long Ago, GM takes a break from Wisconsin Ave. and checks out M St., the 3200 block to be specific.

Nowadays these buildings house (from left to right): Lucky Jeans, Lululemon Athletica sporting goods, and the Levi’s Store. But back in 1993, these buildings housed Trincus Restaurant, Too Cute!, Nash’s Sports & Casual, and Machu Picchu (which was on the second floor; GM’s not sure what was on the first floor).

GM’s not sure when any of these places closed. The only record of Trincus he can find is from 1988, when it had its liquor license suspended for Halloween due to multiple infractions on previous Halloweens. This was back in the day when Halloween in Georgetown was a pretty rowdy affair. It’s popular nowadays, sure, but the crowds are pretty tightly controlled. Back then it was crazy, and that’s reflected in the way that the ABC board suspended the restaurant’s license for just one weekend due to the way it acted a whole year beforehand.

GM can’t find anything on Too Cute! Under the Too Cute! neon lights, it looks like it says something like Junetto Brothers, or something like that. It appears to have been a inexpensive clothing store.

Nash’s Sports & Casual was a sporting goods store. GM believes that the Nash’s in Columbia Heights and L’Enfant are the same store, but he’s not certain.

Machu Picchu was a restaurant. They appeared on an ANC agenda as late as 2002 regarding a liquor license renewal. But they are one of the licenses held in safe keeping, so the fact it was renewed in 2002 doesn’t mean the restaurant was still open. Anyone remember it?

Note: GM wrote this article before he heard about the horrible events up at the Bethesda Lululemon. He decided to run it and use it as an opportunity to highlight Lululemon’s contribution of $125,000 towards a reward fund. Contact Montgomery County Police for more information on the fund.

Here are the photos in case the Flash photo above didn’t come through: Continue reading

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