Houses With A Prospect

Houses With A Prospect (HM2568)

Location: Washington, DC 20007
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 54.353', W 77° 4.078'

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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

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.


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 office that directed the closes 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 wit hthe 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
HM NumberHM2568
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, February 2nd, 2018 at 7:03am PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 320685 N 4308365
Decimal Degrees38.90588333, -77.06796667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 54.353', W 77° 4.078'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 54' 21.18" N, 77° 4' 4.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3400 Prospect St NW, Washington DC 20007, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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