1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Georgetown (District of Columbia)
GEORGETOWN, formerly a city of the District of Columbia, U.S.A., and now part (sometimes called West Washington) of the city of Washington, U.S.A., at the confluence of the Potomac river and Rock Creek, and on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, about 2½ m. W.N.W. of the National Capitol. Pop. (1890) 14,046; (1900) 14,549. The streets are old-fashioned, narrow and well shaded. On the “Heights” are many fine residences with beautiful gardens; the Monastery and Academy (for girls) of Visitation, founded in 1799 by Leonard Neale, second archbishop of Baltimore; and the college and the astronomical observatory (1842) of Georgetown University. The university was founded as a Roman Catholic Academy in 1789, was opened in 1791, transferred to the Society of Jesus in 1805, authorized in 1815 by Congress to confer college or university degrees, and by the Holy See in 1833 to confer degrees in philosophy and theology, incorporated as Georgetown College by Act of Congress in 1844, and began graduate work about 1856. The college library includes the historical collection of James Gilmary Shea. A school of medicine was opened in 1851, a dental school in 1901 and a school of law in 1870. In 1909-1910 the university had an enrolment of 859 students. Rising in terraces from Rock Creek is Oak Hill Cemetery, a beautiful burying-ground containing the graves of John Howard Payne, the author of “Home, Sweet Home,” Edwin McMasters Stanton and Joseph Henry. On the bank of the Potomac is a brick house which was for several years the home of Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star-Spangled Banner”; on Analostan Island in the river was a home of James Murray Mason; Georgetown Heights was the home of the popular novelist, Mrs Emma Dorothy Eliza Nevitte Southworth (1819-1899). Before the advent of railways Georgetown had an important commerce by way of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, by which considerable coal as well as some grain is still brought hither, and of which Georgetown is now a terminus; the canal formerly crossed the Potomac at this point on an aqueduct bridge (1446 ft. long), but in 1887 the crossing was abandoned and the old bridge was purchased by the United States government, which in 1889 constructed a new steel bridge upon the old masonry piers. Chief among the manufactories are several large flour mills—Georgetown flour was long noted for its excellence. There is a very large fish-market here. Georgetown was settled late in the 17th century, was laid out as a town in 1751, chartered as a city in 1789, merged in the District of Columbia in 1871, and annexed to the city of Washington in 1878. In the early days of Washington it was a social centre of some importance, where many members of Congress as well as some cabinet officers and representatives of foreign countries lived and the President gave state dinners; and here were the studio, for two years, of Gilbert Stuart, and “Kalorama,” the residence of Joel Barlow.