M Street has always been heavily traveled. In 1795 this prompted passage of the first local speeding law, making it illegal to gallop horses on M Street. Back in 1634, things were quieter. Then, Englishman Henry Fleet wrote of finding "deer, buffalos, bear, and turkeys in abundance" in this area. Algonquin Indians sometimes made camp nearby.In colonial times this part of M Street was known as Bridge Street, named in the English fashion after local landmarks. In 1755 the doomed British General Edward Braddock led his troops through Georgetown to fight in the French and Indian War. In 1781, during the Revolutionary War, General Lafayette's troops marched through on their way to help win the Battle of Yorktown. In 1789, George Washington stopped in route to New York for his inauguration as the nation's first president.While Georgetown was untouched by the Revolution, it was inundated during the Civil War with Union Army troops, causing many southern sympathizers to cross the river to Virginia for the duration. The town swarmed with soldiers, wagons and artillery, which tore up the unpaved streets. Ambulances carrying the wounded to make-shift hospitals clattered by at all hours.Some buildings remaining on M Street are among the finest examples of Revolution-era architecture in town. One of Washington's oldest
houses is the Old Stone House, just across the street. Built in 1765, it served as a residence or shop until 1953, which it was purchased by the U.S. Government. The corner house directly across was built in 1794. Street grading in the 1870s required the addition of a storey to the bottom of the building.