I’m continuing to re-post a series of articles that were originally published in the Washington Times that paint caricatures of various Washington suburbs as they were in 1908. I’ve previously posted the articles for Georgetown, Anacostia, and Tenleytown. Today’s feature is Brookland.
Almost Deserted During Day, Activities Begin After Nightfall.
MALES AT PREMIUM DURING DAY HOURS
Grocers Wake Up, Druggist Starts Fountain, and Business Begins.
By THEODORE TILLER
BROOKLAND is inhabited mainly by people who are not afraid to go home in the dark.
Hastening oout there early in the afternoon, I expressed a burning desire to round up its well-informed citizenry and learn all about the place. Dr. J.H. Brooks, who had much to do with laying out the sub-division some fifty years ago, inasmuch as his ancestors had thoughtfully annexed considerable land thereabouts, quickly disillusioned me.
“You would converse with our leading citizens?” he asked, or words to that effect. “Ha! You are stranger in our midst evidently. We are all sundowners our here. Wait around until nightfall and the folks will come in from the Government departments. Our doctors, lawyers, merchants and other leading lights never hang out their shingles until after sundown. Yes, indeed, business picks up a bit out this way at night.”
The doctor was right. I conversed at length with the policeman, postmaster, town barber and a few women and children, all of whom have to stay in Brookland during the daytime, until the real population arrived at sundown.
As the hour of 6 approaches a mighty cavalcade was seen descending from the hilltops, upon which the Brookland cars stop. The doctors prepared to diagnose, the lawyers to expound, the village barber to sharpen his razor, and the merchant to weigh out the daily portion of choice groceries.
Frantic canines heralded the approach of the head of the family; joyous children did likewise and clamored to know what further reason existed for not serving the evening meal. Brookland had come into her own and her male population had become a fixture for another fourteen hours.
While waiting. I had learned considerable about the place. It is bounded on the north by sites for colleges, on the west by colleges, on the east by more colleges, and on the south by still other colleges. Everything except a correspondence school is represented, and perhaps that will be as soon as land can be cleared.
People never ask out there about a stranger’s name or business. It’s “what school does he go to?” The rah-rah boy, the solemn visage wearer of the pronounced clerical garb, with theology written all over him, the vivacious seminary girl, the more sedate aspirant for a place in the cloistered precincts, bewhiskered professors – they are all every-day sights in Brookland. Read the rest of this post »