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Georgetown Market

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1865, Stephen Decatur Button. 3276 M St. NW
  • Georgetown Market (Franz Jantzen)

This modest red brick market house extends more than 500 feet south from its narrow three-bay front on M Street. The market was constructed in 1865 on an earlier stone foundation. The Building Committee for the proposed market solicited bids in 1864 from contractors and builders for its construction, noting that the plans could be seen at the office of architect Stephen Decatur Button in Philadelphia.

In the 1930s, after farmers had stopped using it as a traditional produce market, the building became a grocery and later an auto parts store. In the late 1970s, it was resurrected as an upscale market to serve Georgetown residents. At that time, the “stage set” interior contained a mezzanine restaurant overlooking a choreographed group of sellers offering produce and meats as well as “condiments” and “ready-made hors d'oeuvres to full meals.” This experiment with a transformed market collapsed because of competition from surrounding commercial establishments; it drew throngs of visitors but few residents.

The red brick market structure is instructive nonetheless for its scale and location, recalling the homey pre-supermarket neighborhood whose residents sought daily provisions at establishments along M Street and Wisconsin Avenue. The one-story common bond red brick structure is notable for its brick pilasters that separate round-arch window openings along the side elevations. A similar treatment can also be seen at Eastern Market on Capitol Hill, where the brickwork is more ornate.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee
Updated By: 
Jay Shockley (2023)



  • 1865


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Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Georgetown Market", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 404-405.

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