Known As Block 460
Square of Ground Owned by William Woodward
Prior to the Year 1800
North of Pennsylvania Avenue, Between 6th and 7th Streets
Hotel A Resort For Noted Men
Change in Business Life in 1830 and Thereafter--"The Middle Forties"

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
Samuel Stettinius, John Christian and N. Spurer had leases in the west lot at 7th street in 1801; the first named had the corner and later acquired the fee to the entire lot. Spurer shortly transferred his lease to A. Kallenback, and Walter and Joseph Clarke acquired the fee simple title to that portion. In 1806 there had been some improvements on ground first valued at 12 cents and four years later at 10 cents. The property of Mr. Duane was valued at $1,500 and later at $2,500; of Mr. Woodward, at $2,000; of the Washington Building Company, represented by R. Brent and other trustees, $4,000; Huddleston & Cook, $1,600; W. & J. Clarke, $600; S. Stettinius, $1,000 and later $1,000, and John Christian, $250. It was not long before the most of these improvements gave way to substantial brick houses of three stories, some occupied as boarding houses or taverns. The Huddleston and Cook property was improved by a three-story brick building before the war of 1812. It was used for some years for hotel purposes, and many congressmen quartered there. A ninety-nine-year lease at $35 per year, redeemable at $450, was renewed in 1810, in which year William Hamer became the purchaser for $10,000. In 1811 Charles Jones had a lease on part of the Stettinius lot at 7th street and conducted a tavern there for a few years, and in the same year William Edwards and Harvey Bestor bought twenty-five feet front in lots 3 and 4 and there located in the china and glass trade for a series of years. Mr. Stettinius was first in the grocery business at the corner, and the Clarkes on the same lot in the dry goods trade. By 1816 the lease of Mr. Jones had passed to Mr. William Ward, who turned the tavern into a dry goods store. W.E. Davis and Peter Force, as Davis & Force, purchased a lot and opened as printers and booksellers. B.O. Tyler, lottery agent, and Thomas Cookin of the Baltimore stage line, bought east of the hotel. Roger C. Weightman, as a bookseller, succeeded to the Duane store at 6th street, becoming afterward mayor of Washington. Col. Peter Force of Davis and Force also held this office.

The Pennsylvania House
About 1808 John Davis became the proprietor of the hotel which took in the site of Woodward's tavern, and the Pennsylvania House, purchasing the property in 1812, and here for a few years he was the host. The site was all of lot 2, and part of lot 5, but that the hotel grew in size is indicated by the fact that its site is afterward described as part of lot 1 and all of 2, 3 and 6. During the war of 1812 Mr. Davis moved to another location, and was succeeded by Col. David Keowin, a revolutionary officer, who drew about him many of the leading men of the day. It was here that Gen. Jackson was dined when, after his victory at New Orleans, he made his visit to Washington, and there were many complimentary dinners given to him and to the heroes of the war of 1812, particularly of the naval branch of the service. Col. Keowin retired from business about 1819, and located on a farm near Vansville, Prince George county, Md., where he died in 1833. Jesse Brown followed Col. Keowin, first as lessee and then proprietor, and under the name of the Indian Queen or Brown's the business prospered from the time that the arrivals were by stage or horseback to the present. As Mr. Brown's sons, Marshall and Tillotson, became of age they were taken into the business, and from a modest hotel of three stories, a former dwelling remodeled for hotel purposes, it was remodeled and enlarged in 1852 to take in nearly half the area of the square and given the marble front which has so long beautified that section.

Resort For Men of Note
One of the first guests under the elder Brown was the well-known John C. Rives, who long was publisher of the Congressional Globe, and a prominent, useful citizen. It is related that Col. Rives rode horseback to Washington from his home in Kentucky, bringing his fiddle and rifle, and that from the time he gave his horse into the keeping of the groom, friends flocked about him. As a resort for men of note it may be mentioned that way back in the twenties James Buchanan made his home in the Pennsylvania House, and seldom has the register's page been minus a title of "honorable, "general" or ":colonel." It is remembered by some that Kossuth was a guest here in the early 50's, when he made an address to a large assemblage of citizens who complimented him with a serenade. Gen. Sam Houston of Texas also registered at the house, and among other celebrities frequently in the lobby was "Beau Hickman."

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
About 1830 there was a Brown's Tavern as well as hotel on this square, one William Brown keeping such a place in a frame building at the corner of 6th and C streets, which in a few years passed into the hands of H.H. Tilley. The valuation of the ground in this decade had trebled, ranging from $1.00 to $3.00 per square foot, and the assessments were raised. Lots 1 and 6 had been subdivided into twelve parts, A B and C being on the avenue and D to G on --- street. The valuations were: A, B, D, E and F, $6,500, to John Withers; C, $2,000, T. Cookendorfer; G, $800, D.D. Arden; parts 1, 2 and 8, $35,000, Jesse Brown; 3, $2,500, W.A. Davis; 4, $2,000, W.H. Hamer; and $4,200, Barry & Holtzman; 5, W. Ward, $2,400; W. Clarke, $4,200; J.S. Clark, $3,900 and John Stettinius, $8,000.

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"
By the middle of the forties the name of S.W. Handy & Co., hatters, had disappeared from the square, and that business was represented by W.B. Todd, afterward Todd & Davis, now by the Davis brothers, at 12th street and Pennsylvania avenue. The dry goods trade was represented by George Stettinius, J.B. Clarke and Briscoe & Clark, those names having been continuous for years. The merchant tailors were represented by Enoch Tucker & Son (the senior having been of the ancient firm of Tucker & Thompson, which had been dissolved); Young & Steer (A.H. and P.J., both long in business), and W.T. Jennings & Co. of New York, with W.T. Howe in charge, and J.H. Daniels and Charles Stott and G.D. Gilman, whose name is preserved there today, were the druggists. Daniel Wolf had a daguerrean gallery over the Stott store, reached by a stairway on C street. The lottery and exchange offices of A.W. Kirkwood, C.J. Nourse, H. Howison and Richard France & Co. were here. Walker's eating house has taken the place of Snow's at 6th street. The C street front of Todd's concert hall buildings was the location of Oliver Whittlesey & Co.'s paint and oil store, as nearby was Timothy Buckley's fruit store and J.J. Hempler merchant tailor, and J.N. Carey had a barber shop on 6th street. An old resident tells of his experience in buying lottery tickets in this section as follows: "They were pretty square people to me. For some years I made a habit of buying so as to always have a ticket, and, while I never won a large prize, I won several small ones. At one time, however, I was going to the bad, being nearly $200 out. I walked in an office one day and was persuaded to buy a ticket. This drew a prize, and when the dealer cashed it I remarked 'With the discount off I will be left about square.' The dealer paid me the money, remarking: 'Young man, if this squares you, keep so and never buy another ticket.' and I never have."

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.

"Solomonís Temple"
"Solomonís Temple" was the appellation given to the original house at the corner of 6th street and Louisiana avenue. The frame residence of Mr. Solomon Drew, a well-known merchant tailor, who for some years conducted a boarding house. John Bessley, a well-known hackman of his day, and Henry Turner, also a hackman, were neighbors. The latter enjoyed the distinction of having had Lafayette as a passenger in his coach from Washington to Baltimore, which circumstances he was ever wont to relate.

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.