Old Washington
(Boots & Shoemakers)

By James Croggon, The Evening Star, August 1, 1910 [p. 4]

In the early days of the last century the making and mending of boots and shoes was the occupation of quite a number of Washingtonians. The establishment of boot and shoe stores was gradual. It was necessary, too, to supply the material, and this was provided by the few tanners and curriers. There was then no machine work done.

Prior to 1820 few tanyards were in operation, one on the canal, near the intersection of Virginia and New Jersey avenues, in which Capt. James Barry was interested; another on the canal near 11th street, conducted by John Crothers, who afterward occupied the present site of the Masonic Temple, New York avenue and 13th streets, which for twenty-five years after was operated by George Cover; on New York avenue, north of Convention Hall, James Moore had a tannery. There were curriers located as follows: Daniel Coates, on the east side of 12th street, north of the Avenue; J. R. Fiarity at the northwest corner of Pennsylvania avenue and 3d street; and Thomas Rice, east side of 9th street, between D and E streets.

A leather store was established at the northeast corner of Pennsylvania avenue and 12th street, about 1820, by James Patterson, who for some years after conducted a boot and shoe factory there, believed to be the first of the kind in the District. The people mostly had their footwear made to measure. Boots were for many years popular, at least three-fourths of the men wearing them on dress occasions. In the twenties the only store devoted exclusively to the sale of ready-made boots and shoes was that of Walter Clarke, on the south side of the Avenue east of 7th street, to which a factory was attached. Some, however, furnished head as well as foot wear. Isaac Clarke, a few doors east of the above, had a hat, cap, boot and shoe store, as well as a stage office, he being the agent of the Union Line. Thomas Spratt, on the east side of 9th street, north of the Avenue, kept boots and shoes, hats and caps. A number of the boot and shoe makers, when not engaged in custom trade, made up small quantities, which they kept on sale.

Prominent in Civic Affairs
The boot and shoe makers were not the least important of our citizens. Some of them took a leading part in advancing the interests of the community, being members of the city councils and filling also municipal offices, active in the military and fire companies, in the secret orders, churches, etc. Not a few left their impress on the community. Some attained means. Capt. John H. Goddard, the well known organizer and captain of the auxiliary guard in 1842, was also a justice of the peace and alderman, and followed ladies' shoemaking on the west side of 10th street between D and E streets. James Crandle, whose shop was on L street between 5th and 6th streets southeast, and who after for some years kept a store on 8th street opposite the marine barracks, was a sixth ward councilman, a member of the board of health and police magistrate. Harvey Cruttenden of New Jersey avenue between B and C streets, afterward became a brick manufacturer, with kilns between N and O, 9th and 10th streets northwest.

On Capitol Hill, besides Mr. Cruttenden, above noted, were Jacob Janney, on the south side of B street between New Jersey avenue and 1st street; Edward Rice, near 1st and A streets, and Nathan Hall, on 2d between A and B streets, all southeast. On the Navy Yard Horatio Aukward settled on L street west of 8th street and followed the business thirty years or more. Patrick F. Nash, with whom was associated Michael Nash, had a shop on 8th street opposite the barracks, as did N. Cassidy and Thomas Wiggins. J. Moody was at the corner of 11th and Pennsylvania avenue, and on 7th street near the navy yard wall, near M street, were F. McClasky and John Suit.

Besides the stores of the Clarkes, noted above, there was opposite, in the Indian Queen Hotel, the shop of William Thumlert. Thomas Davidson and Charles White were opposite Strother's, now the New Willard. Jonas Newell was on Pennsylvania avenue between 9th and 10th streets, and S. Miller was on the Avenue between 12th and 13th streets. Job Mills was opposite the treasury; F. Turton was on the Avenue between 18th and 19th, and Spencer Johnson on the corner of Pennsylvania avenue and 21st street. Among other shops were those of Elsy Kendall, G street east of 15th and S. Holmes, 1st between 20th and 21st; Isaac Nuttle on the square west, J. Paskin, northeast corner of 14th and F; William Morgan, F street eastward; William Knight, northwest corner of 12th and F streets; Zebedee Flynn, east side of 10th between E and F, afterward at 5th and E streets, R. Wright and W. Gahan, 9th street between D and E; John Getchell and L. Pool, F street between 6th and 7th; J. C. White, 8th street between G and H; John Jeffers, D street between 3rd and 4th; M. Cumberford, 4th street near M.

Increase in the Forties
By the forties the population had increased from fifteen to nearly forty thousand and the shoe trade had several hundred engaged as dealers, makers and menders. The Patterson shoe factory had disappeared, but another factory, that of Andrew Hoover, was on the Avenue opposite Brown's hotel, and he also kept a shoe store on the Avenue between 19th and 20th streets. Opposite the Metropolitan was the store of Andrew Coyle & Son, and nearby were the shops of James Phillips and James Jack. T. M. Brashears was opposite Brown's and R. Cohen afterward had a store there, but in the forties was on G street between 5th and 6th. Hall & Magruder kept a store on the Avenue between 8th and 9th, and afterward T. J. Magruder kept a wholesale boot and shoe house. Thomas B. Griffin was on the north side of the Avenue, between 9th and 10th streets; George Burns & Co., W. Mann, E. Lacey, J. H. Lusby, D. Rhea were in the business on the Avenue between 4 and 6th streets.

Thomas Creaser on the south side of F street between 8th and 9th was a ladies' shoemaker and kept the leading store for ladies' wear. Capt. John Mills, in the National Hotel, was a popular bootmaker of this vicinity. On the southeast corner of 11th and F streets was Fowler's Philadelphia shoe house; at H. L. Cross's store on the Avenue, 9th and 10th; on the north side of the Avenue between 19th and 20th were shoe stores of note. Elijah Edmonston on the north side of H between 4th and 5th streets, late in the forties opened a shoe store on 7th between D and E streets, which in years afterward was conducted by Robert Hall. In the Navy Yard section was Mr. Crandle, above noted; Thomas Hayne, opposite the barracks; Theodore Bowen, L street between 7th and 8th; Thomas Evans, 7th street between K and L; James Gordon, 11th street between L and M; E. Keithey, 8th street between I and K; G. Rau, G street between 10th and 11th; and E. Smithson, 3d street between M. and N. On Capitol Hill was W. J. Wheatley's store on the south side of A street between New Jersey avenue and 1st street, and E. Reilly's on East Capitol street between 1st and 2d. On the Island, or south Washington, was A. Liphard, in house No. 460 N street, which he had occupied from 1835 and in which he died a few years since, William Devaughn, on 7th street; W. Whitmore, on 11th street between E and F; J. H. Whitmore, 7th street between D and E.

Other recalled shoe dealers and makers are William Noyes & Son, wholesalers, on the north side of Louisiana avenue between 6th and 7th; William Whitney, south side of the Avenue between 6th and 7th; John Walters, retail shoe store, west side of 7th between L and M; John Williams, ladies' shoemaker, 8th street between I and K; James M. Towers, east side of 6th between G and H; H. H. Shutz and William Croggon, on 7th street between G and H; Thomas French, corner of 9th and I streets; John Golden, D street between 7th and 8th; C. G. Klopfer, 10th street between F and G; G. D. Knipple, 11th street between G and H; and A. Lehman, northeast corner of G and 13th streets.