Hi, and welcome to another edition of Where We Live. This week, we’ll be looking at a DC neighborhood that is older than DC– Georgetown! Home to beautiful architecture, a thriving commercial district, and a major university, Georgetown probably draws more out-of-towners than any other DC neighborhood (except maybe Adams Morgan on Saturday nights). Read on to find out what real Georgetown residents think of their neighborhood.
History: Lots of history to cover here. Way back in 1632, an English fur trader documented a Native American settlement called Tohoga where Georgetown currently is, and he established trade there. Fast forward to 1751 when the town was incorporated as part of Maryland (interestingly enough, it’s not named after George Washington as I had erroneously assumed– it’s either named after King George II or its founders, George Gordon and George Beall). Because of its geographic location as the furthest point up on the Potomac River that boats could reach, it became a big port, and warehouses and buildings grew around the tobacco trade (and sadly, the slave trade too).
When Congress created the District of Columbia in 1791, Georgetown was included in the outline of the 10-mile square. Georgetown continued to grow, with Georgetown University founded in 1789, and much of the area developed with commercial buildings near the water and residential buildings further north on higher ground. Georgetown retained its identity for quite a while– that is, until its town charter was revoked in 1871, and when it was finally ordered in 1880 to conform with DC’s street naming structure.