G - Changing Neighborhood
Location: Block Corner at 9th and E Streets, NW
Metro: Metro Center Station (Red-Orange-Blue lines)
informational links below)
What if you could stand across the street for a few
hundred years and see this corner change? In the 1790s you’d watch Dr. John
Crocker build a fine brick home complete with stables, smokehouse,
outbuildings, and a cistern to hold clean water. By 1800 the house was the
city post office. Soon after, newspaper publisher Joseph Gales, who also
served as Mayor, lived here until he and his family moved to Lafayette
Square. From the 1830s until the Civil War you could watch Congressmen and
others come and go from this fashionable boarding house. You would notice
the creek that formed one boundary of the property.
the 1860s you might be sad to see the house demolished to make way for new
retail buildings as the streets were graded and the stream channeled into a stormwater drain. In the early 1900s you’d call this a vibrant area with
clothing shops, theatres, movie houses, burlesques, tattoo parlors,
restaurants and penny arcades. You might wave to Harry O. White, who managed
vaudeville acts here until at least 1916 and lived at 506 9th Street.
Upstairs he left behind tickets, photographs, business
cards and other items, including an advertisement for Wilfrid the Wizard
Presenting an Artistic, Wired and Comedy-Magical Production. Vaudeville
faded away and by the 1960s and 1970s this area was well known for
pornographic theatres and shops. The New Gayety Theatre closed in 1987.
Archaeology in Downtown
a walking and metro guide to the past...
was produced cooperatively by the National
Park Service, National Center for Cultural Resources, Archeology and
Ethnography Program; the District of Columbia Office of Planning, Historic
Preservation Office; the Center for Heritage Resource Studies, University of
Maryland, College Park; and the Society for American Archaeology.