Portrait of a Georgetowner
Within the rather well-defined borders of the Town live more than 13,000 Georgetowners. And to commemorate our 58 years of publication, we at the Georgetowner have a speculation: Is there a “typical Georgetowner”?
If the New Yorker is a dandy in a top hat with a butterfly on his nose, and the proper Bostonian is a reserved gentleman who is addicted to beans and cod, what is the prototype of the Georgetowner?
Perhaps a composite portrait of these symbolic creatures’ salient characteristics would reveal cosmopolitans with a passport in one hand (they travel a lot), a leash in the other (they love their dogs and can be found at Rose or Volta Park at around 5 p.m. for their daily strolls), a backdrop of a fine Federal house (they are traditionalists), while the foreground of the picture would be taken up with symbols of many interests (a Georgetowner’s days are full). Since this is a self-portrait, we can leave out any unflattering touches.
Asked to describe an “average Georgetowner,” a nationally syndicated columnist replied, “Someone who never goes near the kitchen.” Most understandable. Why bother cooking, when one can breakfast at Martin’s Tavern or Booeymonger’s, or lunch at Cafe Milano, Peacock Cafe, Tony & Joe’s or Chadwick’s, or have supper at 1789, or the cozy saloon Clyde’s of Georgetown, or Bistro Francaise or Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons?
Another characteristic of a true Georgetowner is commitment. For 58 years, this newspaper has recorded the efforts of dedicated and hard-working individuals who did more than their fair share in espousing and defending the wishes of our citizenry. People like Bill Cochran, a local architect who served the Citizens Association of Georgetown as its preservation chairman. Bill followed in the footsteps of Eva Hinton and Bernie Wyckoff, two Georgetowners who laid the groundwork in the preservation of historic Georgetown. Other early leaders worth mentioning are Grosvenor Chapman, Charlie Poore, Juan Cameron and Louis Alexander Traxel, all former presidents of our citizens’ group. All are gone now but should never be forgotten for their commitment.
A true Georgetowner gives back to the community. We have been fortunate to record the efforts of so many who have donated time, money and ideas to making this a better place to live. People like Virginia Luce Allen who founded and directed the Georgetown Senior Center; Stuart Davidson, founder and owner of Clyde’s restaurants, who along with his partner John Laytham and their spouses have helped so many good causes, like restoring Volta Park, and supporting financially virtually every good thing that has happened in this Town for the past 50 years; Tim Jackson, who owned Swensen’s Ice Cream Parlor, who, along with Jim Weaver of W.T. Weaver’s & Sons Hardware, put on the best parades this Town has ever seen every Sept. 14 in honor of Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and a true Georgetowner. Along those lines, we recall Jonda McFarlane, head of the Francis Scott Key Foundation, whose organizational skills helped get Key Park completed almost 20 years. Add to that, the great work of John Dreyfuss with the group and the former steward of Halcyon House.
A Georgetowner is loyal. They support the local businesses here, always have. When this newspaper began in October of 1954, it became an instant hit thanks in large measure to the support of its merchants. People like John Learmont who ran a very upscale record and audio tape establishment on M Street; early restaurateurs and saloon keepers like Billy Martin II (who owned Martin’s Tavern and the Carriage House) and Howard Joynt (who ran Nathans) and the good folks at Chez Odette, Rive Gauche, Dino’s Paramount, Mr. Henry’s, Chadwick’s; shop owners like Dorothy Stead, Dorcas Hardin, Muriel Mafrige, Mimi Crocker, Rose Raynor, Corrie Wickens, Rick Hindin (Britches of Georgetowne); and the Neam brothers at Neam’s Market, the Greenbergs of the Food Mart, Ladd Mills of the Georgetown Exxon and his car rental firm down on K Street. The list is long. Georgetowners always support their own.
A portrait of a Georgetowner must also include in such characteristics the fact that they recognize the historic importance of this community and attend such meetings as those of the Citizens Association and the Advisory Neighborhood Commission among others with regularity and sincerity.
A final note: From the date of its first issue on Oct. 7, 1954, this newspaper has had your acceptance and support. The Georgetowner thanks citizens and business persons alike for their continued interest. There have been many changes during the past 58 years. New and younger families flourish here. Many new businesses have been established in this old town on the River of Swans. We will continue to give you the news and features for your enjoyment