Front:Restoration of Georgetown's
Georgetown citizens have been central to preserving Georgetown's important historic houses. Three of these houses, built at the turn of the 19th century on large plots of land overlooking the port, are now accessible to the public and are testaments to the rich architectural heritage of Georgetown.
Built in 1800, Dumbarton Oaks, 3101 R Street, was purchased by former diplomat Robert Woods Bliss and his wife Mildred in 1920. They restored the run-down houses and added the gardens designed by renowned landscape architect Beatrix Farrand.
In 1923, inspired by the Blisses, fellow diplomat Ferdinand Lammot Belin saved Evermay, 1623 28th Street, from demolition for apartment house construction. Belin restored Evermay's 18th-century Georgian character by removing Victorian additions. Evermay became home to three generations of Belins.
Dumbarton House, 2715 Q Street, was built in 1798. In 1915, when the Dumbarton Bridge was built over Rock Creek, the house was moved 100 feet to accommodate the extension of Q Street into Georgetown. The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America purchased and restored the house in 1928.
Tudor Place, 1644 31st Street, was built by Martha Washington's granddaughter, Martha Custis Peter and her husband, Thomas, who bought the land with a legacy
of $8,000 from George Washington. Designed by William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol, Tudor Place was home to six generations of the Peter family. In 1966, Armistead Peter III became the first private home owner to grant the nation's first scenic easement to protect historic property.
Georgetown citizens were instrumental in persuading Congress to pass the Old Georgetown Act in 1950, creating the Georgetown Historic District.
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 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
Dumbarton Oaks · Tudor Place