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

Houses With A Prospect

 
 
Houses With A Prospect Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 27, 2018
1. Houses With A Prospect Marker
Inscription.

The early mansions of wealthy ship owners, merchants and land speculators in this part of Georgetown were built high above the Potomac River with fine views, or prospects, of the harbor filled with ships and the wilds of Virginia on the other side. Streets were narrow and paved with stones. The residences were often self-sufficient with livestock, orchards and kitchen gardens alongside formally designed landscapes.

The beautiful Georgian house behind you was finished in 1789 for the first secretary of the navy, Benjamin Stoddert, who called it Halcyon House. The original house was built to face the river, so the front door could not be seen from the street. The Palladian façade you see was added much later. Its handsome gardens were laid out by Pierre L'Enfant, who planned the city of Washington. After a century of neglect, the house was restored by John Dreyfuss, who in the 1970s embarked on a 17-year effort to bring the house back to its original glory.

Prospect Street is still a popular promenade, linking Georgetown University to the town's commercial streets — Wisconsin Avenue and M Street. On the south side of M at the foot of 34th is Forrest-Marbury House, where George Washington dined in 1791 with Georgetown landholders to secure land for the new District of Columbia. West of the house is a
Houses With A Prospect Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 27, 2018
2. Houses With A Prospect Marker
beautiful park that marks the site of the home of Francis Scott Key, author of The Star-Spangled Banner. The house was built in 1802 and demolished in 1949 for the construction of an elevated highway along the waterfront. It was this demolition and the public outcry that prompted Congress to pass the Old Georgetown Act, setting the boundaries of the Georgetown Historic District and protecting the buildings within its limits. The adjacent bridge—Key Bridge—was named in Key's honor.

Reverse:
Restoration of Georgetown's Call Boxes
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 than 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.

Fire alarm such as this one (originally painted red) were installed in the District after the Civil War. In most boxes, the alarm was activated by opening a door on the front of the box and pulling a lever. An automatic telegraph system transmitted the box number to a central
Houses With A Prospect Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 27, 2018
3. Houses With A Prospect Marker
office that directed the closest fire station to dispatch a fire truck to the vicinity of the call box. After almost 100 years, the system began to decline in the 1960s with the advent of two-way car radios and walkie-talkies. The alarms were finally turned off in the 1960s and replaced with the 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
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

Citizens Association of Georgetown
Long & Foster, Georgetown

 
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC.
 
Location. Marker has been reported damaged. 38° 54.353′ N, 77° 4.078′ W. Marker is in Georgetown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Prospect Street Northwest and 34th Street NW, on the left when traveling west on Prospect Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3400 Prospect St NW, Washington DC 20007, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this location. Halcyon House (a few steps from this marker); 3425 Prospect Street NW (within shouting distance of this marker); Forrest Marbury House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Francis Scott Key Park (about 400 feet away); The Star-Spangled Banner (about 400 feet away); Francis Scott Key (about 400 feet away); Prospect House (about 400 feet away); Francis Scott Key Bridge (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Georgetown.
 
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Credits. This page was last revised on February 11, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 27, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 41 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 27, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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