Known As Block 460
By James Croggon, The Evening Star, October 27, 1906 [p. 11]
A map in the Congressional Library furnishes authority for the statement that one William Woodward occupied most of the block north of Pennsylvania avenue between 6th and 7th streets anterior to 1800. His home is designated about the center of square 460, a spot now the site of the Metropolitan Hotel, formerly Brown's. Mr. Woodward was the progenitor of the family of that name who for nearly seventy years have lived at No. 515 I street northwest, of which the District health officer, Dr. W.C. Woodward, and Thomas P. Woodward of the District Title Company are members.
William Woodward, a carpenter, came from Philadelphia about 1798 and resided here some fifteen or twenty years, when he emigrated westward, locating on a square mile of land, where the town of Marietta, Ohio, now stands. In Ohio he engaged in the lumber business for some years. One day he started with a boat load of lumber for New Orleans, and he was never afterwards seen or heard from. After hoping for his return for years, thinking that he might be a captive among the Indians, his family reluctantly concluded that he had been drowned or murdered.
In the early days six lots was the complement of this square. Three of these, Nos. 1, 3 and 6, were in the name of David Burns, and the others, in 1797, went to Thomas Shaw. In 1798 Joseph Huddleston and Orlando Cook leased lot 4, and within a few years the latter had a $1,600 improvement upon it. In 1801 William Duane, the publisher and bookseller of Philadelphia purchased on the corner of 6th street part of lot 1, fronting fifty-six feet on the avenue, and established himself in business. Later he added this 6th street front to his holdings, having his printing office thereon, with a book and stationery store on the avenue corner. The same year (1801) Mr. Woodward leased the west part of the lot, over sixty feet front on the avenue, the rental being $56 per year. Here was the Center Tavern, which he conducted a few years, and afterward leased to Salomon Meyer. The latter took the adjoining house for a few years, and conducted the Pennsylvania House and Center Tavern. Robert Underwood became the owner of Mr. Woodward's property in 1806.
Property Transfers on the Avenue
The Pennsylvania House
Resort For Men of Note
In 1824 the ground near 7th street was assessed at $1.25 per foot; on the avenue, 95 cents to $1; on 6th street at 25 cents, and the improvements as follows: William Hamer, $400; Jesse Brown, $24,000; Davis & Force, $3,100; A. Cook, Barry & Holtzman, $4,300; W. Hamer, $5,700; Stettinius heirs, $6,800; W. Ward, $3,250; J.S. Clarke, $2,900; Walter Clark, $3,400 and Thomas Cookendorfer $1,000. By that year Barry & Holtzman had a public house about the middle of the square, B.F. French was a bookseller at 6th street; Rapley & Avery had a grocery at 7th street, and A.E. Hough one near Brown's, while S. and M. Allen & Co., J.S. Clarke, William Ward and John Stettinius were in the dry goods business; S.W. Handy & Co., hatters; Davis & Force, printers, etc.; Thomas Webb, apothecary; Chauncey Bestor, dealer in china, etc.; A. Littlejohn, barber; T. Cookendorfer, stage agent; B.O. Tyler, lottery agent; William Bayley, bottler; R. Darrah, dentist, and C.S. Burr, lawyer, were on the avenue, and D.A. Hall and R.M. Beale, lawyers, on 6th Street.
Changes in Business Life
The well-known merchant tailors, Tucker & Thompson, who moved from Bridge street, Georgetown, to the neighborhood in 1816, bought near the corner of 6th street in 1829, but the last named sold his interest to Enoch Tucker, who afterward conducted the business, taking his son into partnership. In 1838 he bought in lots 3 and 4 and converted the old buildings into a hall, becoming known as the Concert Hall. Here he engaged in the manufacture of hats and caps, and the rooms not needed in his business were rented for offices. Adjoining his own store was that of A. Green, auctioneer, and over the stores Charles DeSelding, general agent; Dr. C.H. VanPatten, dentist, and David A. Hall had offices in the forties. Dr. Seth J. Todd came into the square in the thirties as a druggist. Then came Charles Stott, who for many years had a wholesale drug store here. Then were J.F. Clark, apothecary; S. Ditty, merchant tailor; C.S. Fowler & Co., and J.B. Gorman, lottery dealers; Holmead & Catlett, Ward & Noyes, Harper and Kneller & Stettinius, dry goods dealers; Slade & English, hardware dealers, and W.A. Williams, jewelers, on the avenue about 1835.
The Epicurean Eating House, at the corner of 6th street, was in 1834 the negro Snow's establishment and the scene of a mob uprising because of an alleged insulting remark concerning the ladies of Washington made by him. This remark was said to have been made to a butcher, and in a few hours the irate people were searching for him, but without success, and his place was sacked and bar smashed, and pandemonium lasted for two days. Mrs. Seaton, wife of Col. Seaton, of the Intelligencer wrote of this occurrence:
"During the past two days we have been in an alarming state of disorder from a dread of insurrection, or rather a dread of the illegal hanging of instigators to mischief. A white man was put in jail a few days since on the charge of circulating incendiary pamphlets. This was the beginning of disturbance. Mobs have collected to break down the jail and hang him without trial. Marines are stationed in and around the jail, but there is great apprehension felt, the soldiers from Point Comfort having gone to Baltimore, so that we have no means of suppressing a riot. Snow will certainly be torn to pieces by the mechanics, if he be caught, and they are in full pursuit of him. Unfortunately, several hundred mechanics are out of employment, who, aided and abetted by these sympathizers, create the mob. * * * I tremble for the consequences of any encounter with mistaken, infuriated men, who have set the laws at defiance, and must now be put down by force. The post office is guarded, but they threaten the major; and you will understand all my fears when I tell you that your dear father has been out the last two nights exerting his influence to quell the storm. We have only a handful of troops here, but a company from Annapolis is expected tonight. * * * Your father has just returned home and reports all tranquil."
"The Middle Forties"
In square No. 459, between 6th, 7th and C streets and an unnamed avenue, as stated in the old deeds, there were six original lots, and though before 1803 they had passed out of the hands of the commissioners, occupancy and settlement was slow. Capt. Thomas Truxton was the first purchaser, he taking lot 6, at the northeast corner of the square, in 1799, and by that date William H. Dorsey had the lot south, Robert Brent that west, Mr. Dorsey the next, J.C. Wilson and Thomas Herty the next one, and the corner on which the Bank of Washington is situated was owned by Mrs. Ann Brodeaux. At that period the ground was valued at 8 and 10 cents per foot, but four years later 5 cents was the rate. There were no improvements listed. In 1810-13 conveyances appear to Stettinius, Jones, the Clarkes, Davis and others interested in the square south, and there is little doubt that some improvements were made then or shortly afterward. In the twenties improvements were charged to W. Crawford et al., $500, and R. Brent, $400, on lot 1; Mrs. Cana, $300 in 2, and S. Stettinius' heirs, $2,200 in 5; and the value of the ground was a quarter or more. There were in this decade the boarding house of Mrs. Margaret Bender on Louisiana avenue and boarding house of Mrs. Sarah Sherlock on C street.
Ten years later the Bank of Washington had come from Capitol Hill and bought the Stettinius property facing Louisiana avenue, 7th and C streets, on which was a spacious three-storied brick building on the site now covered by the marble structure of the National Bank of Washington. Gen. Weightman was then the cashier of the bank and had his residence over the bank for a number of years. Gen. Weightman's residence became as well known as the bank itself. He was prominent in social as well as business circles, and the halls over the vaults and offices were often the scene of society functions. One of these was a fancy dress and masquerade ball, in 1837, at which Washington's "400" turned out en masse, and this having equalled, if not surpassed, all prior affairs of this kind. "Gen. Weightman's ball" was long in the mminds of the people.
In the thirties there were several stables on C street, that of Jesse Brown being an attachment of the Indian Queen Hotel. There were on Louisiana avenue, south side, the homes of Horace Jennels, Kitty Evans and John Emmerich, shoemaker; Nace Adams, a colored hackman; J. Forrest, shoemaker; Philip Knowland, and Mrs. Sarah Sherlock's boarding house were on C street in addition to those before named.
Half a dollar per foot was the average valuation of ground, and the listed improvements were charged to William Crawford, $800, lot 1; Joseph Stettinius, $3,000; and John Stettinius, $500, lot 2; H.M. Moffett, $300, and William Ward, $2,900, lot 3; Walter Clarke, $1,600, lot 4; John Stettinius and Bank of Washington, $7,000, lot 5; and S. Drew, $1,600, lot 6.
In the forties there were William Thompson (long a magistrate) and W.C. Choate, copper, etc., on Louisiana avenue near 6th street. On C street were the residences of Capt. James Power and Moses T. Parker, the shoe shops of Jonathan Forrest and Michael Kreamer, and the blacksmith shops of Charles Lenman, Michael Kavanaugh and John Lynch; on Louisiana avenue were Mrs. E. Collison's boarding house, M.T. Barker's paint shop and Keen & Hunt merchant tailors; and at the west end of the square the residence of Gen. Weightman, owner of the Bank of Washington.
The vacant ground west of these squares was not used, for here there were many political meetings held and bonfires lighted and also flag raisings, to say nothing of the many outdoor temperance meetings. On Sunday afternoons especially the temperance speakers were active about 6th street and the Avenue, near reputed gambling houses; but on the 7th street area nightly there was something doing in the interest of religion or temperance. Here, too, was the field for fakirs, Yankee Allen, with his shaving soap, and others expatiating on the virtues of their wares. Late in the fifties there was erected here a frame building in which an industrial exhibition by the Mechanics' Institute had much success.