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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Georgetown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The History of Canal Square

 
 
The History of Canal Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 27, 2018
1. The History of Canal Square Marker
Inscription.  Canal Square has seen more than century and a half of change in Georgetown. It is a typical brick and fieldstone industrial structure built to facilitate barge traffic on the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal. Necessary for westward expansion, canals were the primary means of moving goods before the development of the railways. The building served as a barrel maker's warehouse until 1892, when it was purchased by Dr. Herman Holerith, a self-styled statistical engineer involved in developing the 1890 and 1900 census. Here some of the first "punch cards" were manufactured, a major icon of 20th century modernity and an important tool in the development of the computer. In setting literally full of bells and whistles, his steam-driven machinery punched census information onto the small cards, which were then taken in horse-drawn carts to another building where the data was tabulated using more of Dr. Holerith's machinery. In 1924, Dr. Holerith's tabulating company and several competing businesses were incorporated as International Business Machines (IBM).

After IBM consolidated its operations, 1054 reverted to warehouse status and was almost
The History of Canal Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 27, 2018
2. The History of Canal Square Marker
demolished to make way for a parking lot in the 1960s. Architect and developer Arthur Cotton-Moore resurrected 1054 and its adjoining parcels into Canal Square. This 19th century warehouse and its 1970s addition has become a European-style town square.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceScience & MedicineWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal series list.
 
Location. 38° 54.268′ N, 77° 3.676′ W. Marker is in Georgetown in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is on 31st Street Northwest south of M Street Northwest, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1054 31st Street Northwest, Washington DC 20007, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Herman Hollerith (a few steps from this marker); The Georgetown House (within shouting distance of this marker); Creating a National Park (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); At All Hours (about 300 feet away); Mule Power (about 300 feet away); 5 Congress at Oak Alley (about 400 feet away); Georgetown and the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (about 400 feet away); Old Stone House (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Georgetown.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 22, 2019. It was originally submitted on January 27, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 98 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 27, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Jul. 5, 2020