Originally Georgia Avenue was in SE, not NW.

Georgia Avenue before 1908Many things have changed in Washington since Congress moved to the city in 1800. One of those things is Georgia Avenue. When the city became the seat of government, Georgia Avenue was located in the  Southeast quadrant and connected the Navy Yard with Asylum Square ( the location of RFK Stadium today).

Then, in 1894, Augustus Octavius Bacon — a lawyer from Macon, Ga. — came to Washington to represent his state in the U.S. Senate. The Georgia Avenue he found here did not please him. It was unpaved, it was full of potholes, and it was frequently a muddy mess. Visitors to Congressional Cemetery had to pass along this venue after stepping off the streetcar at 14th and Georgia.

Brightwood AvenueRather that use his position to hasten repair of Georgia Avenue, Bacon instead had his eye on Brightwood Avenue and chose to work toward having it renamed after his state instead.

Brightwood Avenue was originally known as the 7th Street Turnpike and was built in 1810. It connected Washington with Rockville, Md., leaving the city from its northern boundary where 7th Street crosses today’s Florida Avenue.

Augustus Octavius Bacon, Senator from Georgia, 1895-1914

As news of Bacon’s plan spread, residents of Brightwood Avenue protested. Residents of Georgia Avenue, SE, also protested. Yet neither would prevail. Ultimately, Bacon was able to push an amendment through Congress in 1908 and have Georgia Avenue assigned to the road to Rockville.

After considering the names “Naval Avenue” and “Navy Yard Avenue,” it was decided that the former Georgia Avenue would be renamed Potomac Avenue.

Georgia Avenue ca. 1890s

You can read the sentiments of one of Georgia Avenue, SE’s, residents published in the May 3, 1908, Washington Post after the jump.

Explore posts in the same categories: History, People, Streets and Trees

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3 Comments on “Originally Georgia Avenue was in SE, not NW.”

  1. jterry Says:

    Sounds like a rallying cry for home rule if I ever heard one.


  2. […] the renaming of Brightwood Avenue to Georgia Avenue in 1908 by an act of Congress is well documented, I’ve recently learned that the U.S. Senate also […]


  3. […] Because a male insisted upon beating a tattoo upon his chest down at Marshall Hall eleven years ago, mr. Jacob Xander, formerly our best-known wine merchant, has now retired and is living out his declining years with as much grace as possible, considering the street cars and the changing of Brightwood avenue’s name. […]


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