A day in Georgetown gave me the opportunity to wander the back streets of this historic northwest Washington DC neighborhood. Georgetown, known for its famous university, was a port city on the Potomac River and originally founded in 1751 in the Province of Maryland long before being incorporated into the federal capital of Washington DC. South of the main bustling M Street, I walked the old towpaths alongside the remnants of the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal. It originated here when the river began to silt up and it stretched westward 185 miles to Cumberland Maryland. The canal lost out to the cheaper railroads and the decline of relevancy began. A number of pedestrian bridges now span the old canal and I discovered a few public enclaves along the way to relax.
Crossing M Street and heading north upwards from the Potomac, I passed by the original iconic Farmers and Mechanics Branch of Riggs Bank with the gold dome and the Old Stone House (c.1765) which is the oldest standing building in Washington DC.
Straying into the back streets I noticed historic Fire Insurance Markers on the front of homes that indicated in the event of a fire (back in the day) that the residence would be serviced by a private insurance company fire brigade.
Prior to the DC Metro, the city’s rapid transit was a network of streetcars. Remnants of a few remaining tracks can be seen embedded in some of the small cobblestone streets. At the west end of Prospect Street stands the Car Barn (1895), which served as a depot for streetcars until they stopped running in 1962.
Alongside the Car Barn are the famous Exorcist steps leading down to M Street that I just had to traipse....
A number historic buildings (some conduct tours) and small parks are around every turn. The Georgetown Library sits at the top of the hill behind Book Hill Park. While the M Street and Wisconsin Avenue corridors are crowded with pedestrian and motor vehicular traffic, the side streets are nicely quiet and calming.