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Dear PoP – Who was Otis Street, NW Named for?

by Prince Of Petworth April 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm 29 Comments


Photo courtesy of AOK Library & Gallery, UMBC

“Dear PoP,

Do you happen to know who “Otis Street, NW” is named after?

My kids go to E.L. Haynes on Otis Street, so that’s how it came up. In discussions among parents, we found many exceptional people named Otis. There were some of our suggestions.

James Otis, Jr. 1725 – 1783 was an early patriot who coined the phrase “Taxation without Representation is Tyranny” D.C.’s motto, I think.

Bass Otis (July 17, 1784 – Nov. 3, 1861), was a famous early American artist, inventor, and portrait painter.

Harrison Gray Otis (October 8, 1765 – October 28, 1848), was an important Federalist and member of congress.

Another Harrison Gray Otis,(February 10, 1837 – July 30, 1917) was a civil war general and hero.

Other suggestions:

Otis B. Driftwood was the famous Groucho Marx character who said, “Those are my principles. If you don’t like them…well, I have others.”

Finally, one person suggested Otis Redding, the soul singer.”

Hmm, if I were to guess I’d say James Otis, Jr. but if I were to dream I’d say Otis Redding? Any historians out there know for real? Saf? Folks from Cultural Tourism? Anyone?

Just out of curiosity were any other famous Otis names left out of the list?

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