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  • It’s interesting that what are now two-syllable names in alphabetical order were city names in alphabetical order. The only overlap is Quincy, but the alphabet got shifted, so the old Quincy is now Taylor.

    I have an 1889 DC guidebook whose map just misses Grant Circle. Most of the local streets are not named on the map, but Georgia was Brightwood Avenue.

    Since Illinois was the same as now, and Georgia is one of the original states, I wonder if the Confederate states were banned for a while after the Civil War.

  • This is totally awesome!!!

  • Rich,

    No, Confederate states were not banned.

    The original 15 ‘state’ streets (the original 13 states plus Vermont and Kentucky, which had been admitted to the union before the city was laid out) were all within Washington City (south of Florida Ave, which was originally Boundary Street). Interestingly, they were even arranged more or less geographically where the states were, with northernmost states in the northernmost parts of the city, and southern states in the southern part of the city.

    Look at a map and you’ll be able to still see it.

    The original Georgia Avenue is now Potomac Avenue, and it was by design pretty much the southernmost state street in Washington City.

    At some point, some senator from Georgia decided that his state’s street was too insignificant, and wanted a bigger one. He somehow got the city to go along with renaming Brightwood Avenue to Georgia Avenue (and so Georgia Avenue became Potomac Avenue).


  • I took this pic at the MLK Library in the Washingtoniana room up on the 3rd floor. They have a whole collection of Baist Real Estate Atlases from ~1900 to ~1960. Plus also lots of old photos and newspaper clippings – it’s definitely worth checking out. More here:

  • So if most of the homes around Grant Circle weren’t built until closer to 1920, what was around in 1903?

  • Anonymous Luke, thanks for the history. You got me curious about the one thing I thought I knew about the state-named avenues of DC, namely that Washington is the one state which does not have an ave, because it would be too confusing.

    But son of a gun, I found it on Mapquest, in SW. However, I could find no North Dakota. And California only gets a Street and Ohio a Drive. Is that fair? Or did I miss something?

    By the way, California St may be unique in Washington government in that it has one block on which ALL the members of an ANC live!

  • For those who are interested, the DC Library’s Washingtoniana section offers a free evening class on DC neighborhood history, and how to research it. I highly recommend it.

  • Rich,

    Try using Google Maps instead of Mapquest.

    North Dakota Ave is a couple of blocks long, between 3rd Street NW and Kansas Ave NW, where Blair Road crosses Kansas.


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