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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Georgetown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

America's Oldest Catholic University

 
 
America's Oldest Catholic University Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, August 6, 2018
1. America's Oldest Catholic University Marker
Inscription. Georgetown University, founded in 1789 by the REverend John Carroll as a school for students of "Every Religious Profession," is the oldest Catholic university in America, administered by the Jesuits since 1805. According to the 1831 University prospectus, students were to bring, "a silver tumbler and spoon, two knives and forks, a matrass (sic) and a pillow, two pair of sheets and two pillow-cases, three blankets and a counterpane or rug."

Healy Hall, which faces the University's front gates, is named for Georgetown's 29th president, Rev. Patrick F. Healy, S.J., who served from 1873 to 1882. Father Healy, the son of an Irish father and a mother who had been a slave, was the first African American president to head what has become a major research university The south pavilion of Healy houses the Riggs Memorial Library, one of the few remaining cast-iron libraries in the country. It is balanced in the north pavilion by Gaston Hall, the University's primary ceremonial space, named for Georgetown's first student, William Gaston, who later served in the U.S. Congress. Since 1879, Healy has made a striking Georgetown landmark with its 200-foot-high central clock spire visible up and down the Potomac River.

Behind Healy Hall is the original quadrangle, where the Old North Building houses classrooms and faculty offices.
Restoration of Georgetown’s Call Boxes Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 23, 2009
2. Restoration of Georgetown’s Call Boxes Marker
Completing the original quadrangle are Dahlgren Memorial Chapel of 1893 and former residence halls – Maguire, Gervase, Mulledy, and Ryan – named for earlier Jesuits and benefactors.

President George Washington addressed students from the front porch of Old North in 1797 as did the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824. Among Georgetown's alumni are President William J. Clinton, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, National Basketball Association player and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Patrick Ewing, Sr., actor John Barrymore and Senate Majority leader George Mitchell.

[Reverse:]
Georgetown’s Call Box restoration project is part of a city-wide effort to rescue the District’s abandoned fire and police call boxes. Known as Art on Call, the project has identified more that 800 boxes for restoration. Neighborhood by neighborhood, they are being put to new use as permanent displays of local art, history and culture. The Georgetown project highlights the anecdotal history of Georgetown and its unique heritage as a thriving colonial port town that predated the District of Columbia.

Police alarm boxes such as this one (originally painted blue) were established for police use starting in the 1880s. An officer on foot - as most were in the late 19th and early 20th centuries - used the box to check in regularly with his precinct or to
Restoration of Georgetown’s Call Boxes Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 23, 2009
3. Restoration of Georgetown’s Call Boxes Marker
- on the opposite face of the restored call box stand (dark green with gold-painted cap) in left foreground, across 37th Street from the entrance to Georgetown University - Healy Hall NHL visible in background.
call for backup if needed. The police boxes were locked, opened by a big brass key that officers carried. Inside was a telephone that automatically dialed the precinct’s number. Checking in regularly was a way to make sure the patrolman was doing his job, and also a way to make sure he was safe. Use of the call box system began to decline in the 1960s with the advent of two-way car radios and walkie talkies. The phones were finally disconnected in the 1970s and replaced with today’s 911 emergency system.

Art on Call is a program of Cultural Tourism DC with support from DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, DC Creates Public Art Program, District Department of Transportation, and Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

Citizens Association of Georgetown, Georgetown University
 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC.
 
Location. 38° 54.455′ N, 77° 4.292′ W. Marker is in Georgetown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 37th Street NW and O Street NW, on the right when traveling north on 37th Street NW. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1307 37th St NW, Washington DC 20007, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A different marker also named America's Oldest Catholic University
"Art on Call" - Restored Police Call Box in Georgetown image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, August 23, 2009
4. "Art on Call" - Restored Police Call Box in Georgetown
(here, next to this marker); Poulton Hall (a few steps from this marker); John Carroll (within shouting distance of this marker); S/Sgt. Richard F. Hoffman, A.A.F. (within shouting distance of this marker); Healy Hall (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); La Casa Latina (about 300 feet away); The Black House (about 300 feet away); John Fitzgerald Kennedy (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Georgetown.
 
Additional keywords. law enforcement.
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicCommunicationsMan-Made Features
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 14, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 5, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,285 times since then and 39 times this year. Last updated on August 6, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1. submitted on August 6, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   2, 3. submitted on December 5, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   4. submitted on December 9, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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