The Beall-Washington house is a historic home on the corner of R and 30th St. It is one of the grand 19th century estates that dot upper Georgetown. The property is named after the Beall-Washington family, which was formed through the marriage of George Washington’s grand nephew and a descendant of Scotsman Ninian Beall, the original owner of much of Georgetown. It was also owned for a time by District of Columbia Governor H.D. Cooke (who built Cooke’s Row on Q St.). The property has a large circular driveway, which gives the home an unusually country feeling in urban Georgetown.
Nowadays, the home is better known as Katharine Graham’s house. The Washington Post owner lived in the house for decades and with her parties ensured that 2920 R St. was at the center of the Georgetown social circuit.
After Graham’s death in 2001, the home was bought for $8 million by local private equity multi-millionaire Marc Ein. And in GM’s opinion, Ein has been a terrible steward of this historic home. Continue reading
GM heard a rumor that the mayor and Jack Evans were out and about Georgetown watching over a new strategy for side-street clearance. He rushed down to Cambridge St. with his trusty Nikon and snapped a photo of the pair.
The new strategy involves driving a Bobcat (actually this was technically a Mustang) with a crew of shovelers. And it’s pretty effective:
Buuuuuuuut, how’s R St.? Continue reading
Sitting at home on his second straight snow day, GM yesterday got a front row seat to automobile futility. He saw at least a dozen cars and trucks get stuck in the snow (mostly on the unplowed R St.):
Two wheel drive sedans were no match for the mess that is R St. But it wasn’t just the small cars getting stuck. A flatbed tow-truck that came to save one of those stuck sedans got stuck itself. For about an hour. Continue reading
GM had a snow day yesterday and took the opportunity to walk around Georgetown and take stock of the sidewalks and roads. His findings: Most residents held up their end of the deal, but it only takes one bad apple on a street to cancel out the efforts of its neighbors. But residents were head and shoulders above businesses, who have left most of the sidewalks on M and Wisconsin almost untouched by shovel or salt.
Ideally a sidewalk should be shoveled down to the brick. For the record, that is exactly what GM did in front of his home:
Not everyone has a shovel good enough to scrape the snow off the bricks (although GM was doing a pretty handy job using a pizza peel until his neighbor lent him a shovel). After a storm like last weekend’s blizzard, it seems acceptable to have a thin layer of packed snow. If that’s the case, you still ought to throw down some (pet-friendly) salt to make sure you don’t end up with a sheet of ice.
But a disappointing number of residents and businesses failed to meet even that lax standard. With all the entrepreneurs running around offering to shovel your sidewalk, to do nothing truly earns you the Sidewalk of Shame title.
GM took a random walk through the village and came across several Sidewalks of Shame:
R St. between Avon and 31st.
Reservoir and 32nd. This is a classic example of the negligent corner-house owner. They cleared out the sidewalk in front of their door but completely ignored the Reservoir St. side. If you don’t like it, I’m sure there are plenty of non-corner lot homeowners that would be happy to trade houses with you. Continue reading
By the time this post appears, the first few snow flakes of a supposedly historic snowstorm should be falling on Georgetown. Just Wednesday GM issued a call for photos of egregious non-sidewalk shovelers. So far he’s only received one entry. Surely this snowstorm will provide additional competition.
But to see if he can’t shame a few more homeowners into doing their duty, GM is posting that one photo he received. It’s from the corner of Wisconsin and R St.
The photo highlights one of the common causes of icy sidewalks: corner lots. In this particular case, the owner might be forgiven into think that the BID would clear the Wisconsin Ave. sidewalk (clearly the BID doesn’t and given the steep grade, the owner really should be especially certain it’s cleared). But as a general rule, as a corner lot homeowner, you have the responsibility to clear the sidewalk on the whole length of your property, not just the side you exit from. Continue reading
Adorable Shoveler by Bigwibble6.
This has been the worst winter DC has seen in recent memory. Last night was the fourth respectable snowfall in a season that has already seen one blizzard. That said, citizens’ responsibility to shovel their sidewalks is all the more important in a winter like this.
So in the interests of keeping our sidewalks clear, GM is deputizing his readership to keep an eye out during the rest of the winter for flagrant violators of the keep-your-sidewalk-clear law. As you see flagrant violators, whip out your cell phone or camera and take a shot (preferably showing all the other sidewalks clear) and email it to Georgetownmetropolitan(at)gmail.com.
GM will choose the best shots, publish them and try to leverage a little public shaming into safer sidewalks.