Then and Now: York Auto Supply to Metro Station

York Auto Supply Co. (1920)Georgia Ave/Petworth Metro

(Historic image from the Library of Congress, ca. early 1920)

Long before work began in earnest in the 1990s for the Metro station at 3701 Georgia Avenue, the northeast corner of New Hampshire and Georgia Avenues became associated with transportation when the York Auto Supply Company opened in 1920.

The Petworth Presbyterian Church was once located where Metro is today(detail from: Baist’s real estate atlas of surveys of Washington, District of Columbia (1909))

Prior to 1910, this property was vacant. Surprisingly, the structure that came to be associated with the site for over 65 years was not the first to be erected there. That honor belongs to the Petworth Presbyterian Church which was begun in 1910 and in use by 1911.

The use of this corner by the church was short-lived however, for by August of 1919 a new building permit was  issued for another building to be located there … a single story brick structure owned by Morris Collins and built by Winfield Preston.

When the new building opened in early 1920, it housed True & Co. Cleaners and Dyers at 3703 Georgia Avenue and the York Auto Supply Co. on the corner at 3701.

To fully understand the significance of the new business supporting automobile owners, one needs to understand that in 1920 such a business was still a relatively new idea.

In the District, there were 4,833 residents with registered vehicles in 1914. This rose to 8,009 in 1915. From 1916 to 1919 ownership continued to rise from, 13,118 to 35,400 respectively. By the time the York Auto Supply Co. had broken ground, Washington had one vehicle for every 10.73 residents, ahead of the national average of 14.14 persons per car.

Between 1924 and June, 1927, a second story was added. This appears to have been for apartment use. Ultimately, it was the dry cleaning business that was most suited to the structure over time. Sometime prior to 1965 Orchid Dry Cleaners was in the lower level where the service station had been, the drive through bay enclosed in a modern glass front.


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2 Comments on “Then and Now: York Auto Supply to Metro Station”

  1. […] Avenue. Among the items that the sign could include are Engine Co. 24, the Little Tavern Shops, York Auto (introduction of car culture to society), and Peoples Drug […]

  2. […] Changes are afoot at the former Blue Banana at 3632 Georgia Avenue. Perhaps the change of most interest is the name, which has finally been chosen. The new establishment will be called the York Patio (not the Petworth patio) — paying homage to former Park View businesses that have been located along the 3600 block of Georgia. Most notably, these include the York Theater, the York Haberdasher, York Barber shop, and York Auto Supply. […]

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