“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)

Crossroads of Georgetown

Crossroads of Georgetown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 2, 2018
1. Crossroads of Georgetown Marker

You are standing at what has been the crossroads of Georgetown since Colonial times. George Town was laid out on the bluffs above the harbor on either side of Wisconsin Avenue. The avenue then was called Frederick Town Rolling Road because it was used to roll large barrels of Maryland tobacco down the hill to the Potomac River docks. The road also served as the post road, or mail delivery route, which crossed the Potomac by ferry. The current M Street was once Bridge Street to the east of Wisconsin Avenue and The Falls to the west.

George Town, which consisted of 60 acres, has expanded to one square mile (about 640 acres) bounded by the Potomac on the south, Whitehaven Parkway on the north, Rock Creek on the east and Glover-Archbold Park on the west.

The first stagecoach service between George Town and Frederick, Maryland departed from Sewall's Tavern at 3206 M Street (later the City Tavern Club). Sewall's was the meeting place of the George Town Corporation, the local governing body. The tavern hosted elections as well as the Mayor's Court. President John Adams was toasted 18 times when he dined at the tavern in 1800 while checking on the progress of the new Capital City. Day-to-day problems debated at the tavern included fire protection, street lighting, removal of rotting fish, and the control of geese,
Crossroads of Georgetown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 2, 2018
2. Crossroads of Georgetown Marker
swine, and other livestock running free in the streets.

Georgetown's intimate scale and distinctive character were saved by one of the country's most publicized preservation efforts in 1950, when Congress designated the entire area the official Georgetown Historic District.

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 boxes 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 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.
Crossroads of Georgetown Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, February 2, 2018
3. Crossroads of Georgetown Marker
The alarms were finally turned off 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
Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development

Citizens Association of Georgetown
Pura, Rick & Siena del Sontro

Erected by Cultural Tourism DC.
Location. 38° 54.304′ N, 77° 3.771′ W. Marker is in Georgetown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue Northwest and M Street NW, on the left when traveling north on Wisconsin Avenue Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20007, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The City Tavern (within shouting distance of this marker); Potomac No. 5 (within shouting distance of this marker); Chesapeake & Ohio Canal (within shouting distance of this marker); 5 Congress at Oak Alley (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The History of Canal Square (about 500 feet away); Herman Hollerith (about 500 feet away); Canal House (about 500 feet away); John Lutz (about 500 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 February 2, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 73 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on February 2, 2018, by Devry Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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