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Early Markets of Old Washington
' By John Clagett Proctor. When the writer recently pasted the Western Market, which stands at Twenty-first and K streets northwest, he saw a dismal-looking building, quite un like the way it looked up to the time it was closed a short while ago. The prop erty was relinquished by the Commis sioners for the construction of a dormi tory for Government male employes, probably on the order of the one for women now under construction at Six teenth and Euclid streets northwest, Ihdeed, this early market house ap pealed deserted and gloomy, for the crowd that once assembled there had disappeared. It had lived Its life well. It had served the West End with food for many years. But Its time had come, and without mourners, and probably without a sigh of regret, it was boarded up until such time as the wrecker re moves it for good. It is not what we would call an old building, having been provided for by an act of the District Legislative Assembly, passed in August, 1871, and the struc ture was erected at a cost of 8100,000. It was begun in 1872 »nd occupied about 1873. However, this market had its be ginning at a much earlier date, some time in 1803, to be exact, and this was in accordance with the city ordinance of October «, 1802. But it was not erected on this site, its first home being in the triangular space between Pennsylvania avenue and I itreet, Twentieth and Twenty-first streets, a little over a block south of its present location. How Market Site* Were Set When the Federal City was being planned, the Commissioners appointed by President Washington, in providing for sites for public buildings, also set aside space for the Eastern, Western and Center Markets, but only the site of the latter was used. The location selected for the Western Market was Reservation No. 6, though just why this was done is questionable, since this reservation, bounded by Twentieth and Twenty-first streets. B street (now Con stitution avenue) and the Potomac River, was under normal conditions almost en tirely covered with water, which certainly made it unsuitable for the purpose pro posed, unless a fish market was intended, and even then the few customers who might have come this way would have to use boats for conveyances. This reserva tion is now covered by the Munitions Building, where Is the War Department, which only goes to show how swamp and low lands can be reclaimed. But at the time, this site was certainly not a fit place for a market, and hence the Penn sylvania avenue location was decided upon. The original Western Market was a small affair, about 20 by 40 feet, we are told, but apparently a larger one was not justified until 1822, when a consider able addition, “with a commodious and useful room over it" was built, and this second story or room became the town hall or general meeting place for that part of Washington. As one old-timer records: “It was probably the most popular hall in the District. It was utilized for many pur poses. It was a school room, in which many received at least a part of their education from a Mr. Allison and other teachers; in municipal elections it be came a polling booth, after it had served as the meeting place for the nomination of candidates for office; in the days of Lorenzo Dow it was to some extent his church, for he expounded the Gospel here to crowds; it was also used for tem perance rallies, particularly during and after the Washington movement; for balls, parties and fairs, in which ladles engaged; for political and club meet ings, and, in fact, whenever it was de sired to interest the people of that sec tion and a hall was needed the old town hall came into play. Notwithstanding its general use. there were organizations, including secret societies, which met there—Hiram Lodge of Masons, Friend ship Lodge of Odd Fellows and Marion Division, Sons of Temperance. meetings here were the members of the fire company, whoee roster bore the names of Thomas Munroe, former Com missioner, then city postmaster; Thomas Carberry, surveyor, and afterward Mayor of the city; John N. Moulder, Richard S. Briscoe, Henry M. Steiner, Charles B. Davis, William McPherson. George Mac daniel, John Woodside, Thomas Filli brown. John D. Barclay, Charles Vin son, James H. Handy, Samuel Potts, Jacob Hines, T. B. Dashell. John 8tretch, Joseph Forrest, Daniel Waring, John Potts, W. B. Beall. F. D. Tschiffely, C. A. Davis, Michael Nourse, Samuel Brook, N. R. Ellis, R. Harrison, W. Williamson. John Burke, John Craven and Joseph Thaw, who were department people; Dr. G. Cozens, William O’Neale, Jr.; Nathan Moore, Robert Frazier, Fred Phillips, Abraham and Matthew Hines, Thomas Herbert, S. Sandiford, William O’Neale, Joseph Brumley, George Walker, John Rawlings. J. M. Maus, William Godfrey, Aaron Nalley, Julius Watkins, W. Worth ington, Thomas Sandiford, John David son, W. Anderson, Jr.; James Lowry, Thomas Crown, James Williams, J. B. Timberlake, James Baker, James A. Ken nedy. John Kennedy, W. Llnkins, James Sandiford, Jesse Baker, J. L. Crosby, Benjamin Strong, W. Worthington, Jr.; S. Harkness, Jr.; A. C. Moore, John Thompson, John Williams, L. Brengle, John Barcroft, John Burke, John Rich, Eastern Market, Seventh and C streets Southeast, erected in 1873. remained among us, a bright example of every virtue. The hand of death has removed her to a purer and hap pier state of existence; and while we lament her loss, let us endeavor to emulate her virtues." whose charter was granted December 38, 1837, or Just 110 years ago, met for a while over this old Western Market House, and its records give us about the best account to be found of this old building. The earliest records of this Western Market, Twenty-first and K streets northwest. Construction begun in 1873. Site to be occupied by a Federal dormitory. "As the hall of the old Union Fire Company, whose apparatus was housed on the market floor at the west end. It was widely known. Among those who prior to 1830 were often participants inc The old Center Market in the hone and buggy days. M. J. N. Water*, L. Lepreux, John Palmer, 8. R. Waters, W. Ford, W. Bur ket, John Mattingly, James Hodnett, Thomas Cook and James Watson.” Testimonial Meeting A meeting of more than passing im portance was held in this old building In 18S2, when the people gathered there for the purpose of taking action on the death of Mrs. Marcia (Burnes) Van Ness, wife of John P. Van Ness and the hand some and wealthy daughter of David Burnet. Mrs. Van New died on the morning of September 9 of that year, during her husband’s administration as Mayor of Washington, and on the evening of her death the meeting in the Western Town Hall took place, when It was resolved that a resolution bo drawn up and a plate executed, and which, as afterward Inscribed, road: “The CMtisens of Washington In testimony of their veneration for Departed Worth, Dedicate this Plate to the Memory of MARCIA VAN NESS, The excellent consort of J. P. Van Ness. If piety, charity, high principle and exalted wfcrth could have averted the ahafts of Pate, she would still have The funeral was held from 8t. John's Church, Sixteenth and H streets, and Rev. William Hawley, the rector, con ducted the aervices, in which, in part, he said; — "The old cottage house, in which she was bom and in which her beloved parents ended their days, was an ob ject of her deep veneration and regard —a true token of genuine filial affec tion—of undying love for the memory of departed parents, which dutiful chil dren wiU always cherish to their latest breath. In this humble dwelling, over whose venerable roof wave the branches of trees planted by her dear parents and now stretching forth their kindred boughs to shelter it from the pelting storm, she had selected a secluded apart ment, with appropriate arrangements for solemn meditation, to which she often retired and spent hours in quiet solitude and in holy communion with God and Saviour." Mrs. Van Ness was buried in the fam ily burial plot, on H street between Ninth and Tenth streets, south side, then and for many years afterward known as Mausoleum Square, but later her body, together with those of other members of her family, was removed to Oak Hill Cemetery Hiram Lodge, No. 10, F. A. A. M., lodge are missing, but the minutes, dated January 14, 1848, say: “At a regular meeting of Hiram Lodge, No. 10, held at their lodgeroom over Market House, City of Washington.” The lodge's ac count then continues, saying: "Then follows a list of members pres ent and a brief account of the instal lation of officers with W. B. Magruder as master. The ‘room over the Market House,' known as the Town Hall, was the second home of Hiram Lodge. Its first meeting, in 1827, was held in the ‘Eastern Edifice of the Seven Buildings.’ The ‘Seven Buildings’ were erected on lots 1 and 4, square 118, Pennsylvania avenue between Nineteenth and Twen tieth streets. The house referred to as the ■Eastern Edifice’ was the comer build ing and was owned in the 20s by Miss Margaret Freeman. The row was buUt by Greenleaf, Morris & Nicholson about 1799. “Before 1800 that portiqp of Wash ington in the neighborhood of Pennsyl vania avenue and Twentieth street was the scene of some building operations. The fact that the ground valuation north of the avenue was 25 cents a foot and that by 1802 buildings had been erected on all the lots fronting on I street be tween Twentieth and Twenty-first streets save one shows that the property owners were enterprising. West of this point but six buildings had been erect ed, end on the squares eastward were seven buildings on the Avenue and some improvements had been made on Z street. •The locality gained in Importance In 1803, when the West Market was estab lished on the northwest corner of the triangle made by the lines of the Avenue, Twentieth street and I street. The ap paratus of the Old Union Fire Company was located there the following year. In fact, it may be said that at the pe riod in the early part of the last cen tury, when the Irish poet bestowed the title of ‘City of Magnificent Distances' on Washington, this section possessed some of the characteristics of a small town. There was the well-known O’Neal Tavern, a wood yard, several groceries, blacksmith and wheelwright shops and shoe shops within a few hundred yards of Twentieth and I streets, where, in 1803. was located the West Market, with its Town Hall for meeting purposes. Within a short time after Its formation Hiram Lodge found quarters in this Town Hall and continued to meet there until 1848. “A brief description of this old build ing has been furnished by Brother James H. Bryam, who as a boy was familiar with this section of the city. It was located on the triangular plot of ground bounded by Pennsylvania avenue, I street and Twentieth street, and faced upon the last named street. It was con structed of wood, two stories high, with a bell tower over the front gable, and resembled somewhat in appearance tha old engine house now located at the southeast comer of H and Nineteenth streets, A flag pole projected at a slight Link ins, John J. Pfll, Georgs Pfluger, Louis P. Repp. Schafer it Oo , Shafer it Botch, Andrew D. Sheel, Robert Smith, William H. Smithy, Conrad 8ohl, Thomas Weaver, Thomas Wright and John E. Yeabower. The butter and cheese dealers were: T. A. Ball, John Bateman, J. H. Caldwell, Andrew Carroll, Joseph C. Pearson, Lewis E. Prank, Isaac S. Gray and Wil liam H. Walker. Produce dealers: Marie Briggs. Edward H. Clements, William Cross, John Pul behe, G. J. Mall, John S. Hill. W. W. Hough, Levi Kid well. James Lalontaine, August Miller, Richard E. Sinclair, Thomas H. Smith and Henry Whalon. Provision dealers—Bayliss & Scott, Latimer Eli, J. Goetainger, P. McKeys, P. Melhorn, John K. Pflel, John T. Rabbitt, T. H. Smith and James Wallace. Washington has always been a good city for markets, and a century ago, and even more recently, the East had its Eastern Market and the North its North ern Market, and in the more populous part of the city there was the Center or Marsh Market, the latter's official name for years being the Washington Market. The Eastern Market still stands at Seventh and C streets S.E.. where it was opened in 1873, the year it was completed. It is a large brick structure and still maintains a considerable patronage, and as Its neighborhood Is a residential one, the people residing In that part of the city would hardly know how to get along without It. When the market was first erected the farmers and truckers who had their stands outside the building were subjected to falling weather until the late William T. Bright, after consid erable effort, had the city government erect protecting sheds around the struc ture. Mr. Bright died a few years ago at the age of 93. after having resided on Capitol Hill for 70 yean. His two da ugh Tames Cardinal Gibbons Praised American Civil Liberties -THERE WERE GIANTS IN THOSE DA YSr ■&£& and died that America aalsht live; men see women who made Amariea treat br eootrlb utlnt their own ereatneea to a eountp which wa* founded eno hai endured on the ei»S»» of life, liberty end thjcurtuitof h« m«a at the rttht of ever* man. xn* rnntn axtlcla In tha aeries will appear next Sunday. _ By William Agar. When James Gibbons was born in Baltimore in 1834 his parents had re cently come over from Ireland. They were honest, industrious, but obscure. Before he reached his 80th year he was James Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore,* loved by fellow citizens of every creed, adviser of Presidents, n man to whom the Nation turned Instinctively for guidance. After he died the New York Herald explained his importance very simply: "Nearly always what he said was what the mind of America was thinking." Gibbons always attributed his rise to fame and power solely to American in stitutions. and if he gloried over any accomplishment of his it was only this —that he lived as he was born, simply, a man of the people. Like many another Catholic boy. Gib bons was drawn to the church from his youth. He entered the Baltimore Semi nary at 31. At 34 he was a bishop, the youngest In the church, and was sent out immediately as a missionary to North Carolina. Always frail, he could eat few things, so the prospect of unending Journeys was not too pleasant, but, undaunted, he at once undertook a tour of his diocese. It was, perhaps, a lucky chance that there were few churches and that Cath olic homes to shelter him were rare Since that put him in constant touch with people of different faiths. Preached in Protestant Church In Greenville he was welcomed and taken into the home of a Protestant physician. He was offered the town hall in which to preach. But, since the trustee* of the Methodist Church were kind enough to put their church *t his disposal, he chose to hold his service there and read to them from their own Bible. It was in thi* spirit that he went from place to place throughout the State, rounding up his own sparse flock, yet, under the circumstances, preaching mostly to Protestants, dispell fng prejudice, making friends, until his biographer could write of him: “There developed a pride in the youthful prelate, their own bishop, pre-eminently a man gf the 'people, mingling with all and gaining friends everywhere by his rare graces of manner.” It is characteristic that once in a little church in Tidewater, Md., at the height of the summer heat after the priest whom he had designated to preach had completed a discussion of Catholic doc trine, he, a cardinal by then, arose and preached another sermon on Christian unity. Later, in answer to the priest's question, he said, "Did you not see that most of the congregation were Protest ants?” His fame grew. After attending the Vatican Council, and his return to America, he was made Bishop of Rich mond. At 43 he became Archbishop of Baltimore, the senior See in America. At 53 he was a cardinal, an honor ac claimed throughout the land since he was now identified in the public mind with the welfare of his country. An honor conferred on him was already an honor conferred on America. In 1887 he was in Rome again, this time to receive the cardinal’s red hat. He used the opportunity to emphasise what was nearest to his heart; namely, the importance to America and to the church in America of the separation of church and state. Throughout Europe at this time Cath olic and Protestants alike believed that some form of union between church and state was necessary. Separation meant antagonism to them, and many looked askance at the American system as a sign of the irreligion of our Government. “Liberty Without License” It was not customary for a young cardinal to make more than a formal acceptance speech at such a time, but Gibbons did. He ascribed great prog ress to the church in America and praised the civil liberties enjoyed "in our enlightened States." In his words, “The civil government holds over us the aegis of its protections, without interfering with us in the legitimate exercise of our sublime mission as ministers of the gos pel of Christ. Our country has liberty without license, and authority without despotism. Separation, he claimed, did not mean hostility, but protection. The Knights of Labor, the first power ful American workingmen's union, grew in importance during the difficult years that followed the Civil War. Already the Canadian Hierarchy had condemned the organisation as a secret society seek ing to aboMah religion and the Congre gation of the Holy Office in Rome had sustained the condemnation. Many American bishops concurred, since they feared the revolutionary tendencies of the knights. But the young cardinal did not fear them. He feared rather that the church should appear as the oppressor of the poor. After conferring with President Cleve land and assuring hlrfiself that the Knights were In no way unpatriotic, he succeeded in winning many bishops to his point of view and determined to take the matter to Home. But no one believed he could affect the decision of of the holy office. It was impossible; It had never been done before. The details of his campaign are un important now. He persevered. His letter to Cardinal Simeonl is one of the great charters of the labor movement. His advice finally prevailed and the con demnation was withdrawn. Thus was a mistake corrected, a mistake that could have set back the labor movement throughout the world; and the seed the cardinal had sown blossomed shortly In Pius XI's Immortal encyclical, "The Reconstruction of the Social Order.” At this time, also, the ever-increasing number of immigrants from Catholic Europe who remained in the Eastern seaboard cities favored the development of national groups. These groups tended to establish their own churches and to bring over their own priests with closer ties to Europe than to America—a fact that was obviously dangerous to the church and which prepared the way for the growth of powerful political units. Gibbons believed one of the duties of the church was to Americanize and absorb these people; insofar as this has been accomplished, it was due largely to his efforts. When Archbishops Ireland and Spaulding sought to colonize the Midwest with Irish from the Eastern slums. Cardinal Gibbons was one of the few Eastern prelates who helped them. Yet men were being lost to the Jarrux Cardinal Gibbon». church, indeed to civilisation, because of the conditions under which they lived, conditions which Archbishop Spaulding of New York condemned in lurid terms. "The description," he wrote, "given by sanitary Inspectors of these habita tions would soil a page intended for all eyes. People who live in this atmos phere and among these surroundings must drink. The perfectly sober would die from mere loathing of life." But America was making money. Cheap labor was useful. So the attempt failed. But Gibbons and his few fellow churchmen were right. The cancer spread. America woke up one day to discover herself infested with the gang sters bred in the slums she had been too short-sighted to clean up. President Theodore Roosevelt said there was only one publie man with the courage to speak the truth on all oc casions and that man was Cardinal Gib bons. For the Cardinal decried the voices of America as fervently as he praised the American way. No man has ever been so outspoken without making enemies. Because of his eminence in the church and his friendship with the President, Gibbons was accused of seeking to control America. His declarations of Catholic loyalty were sneered at as Catholic wiles, as a screen to hide his true in tentions. But President Cleveland de fended him and the mutterings of his detractors were of no importance com pared to the acclaim that came to him. He had proved by his life that in order to be a good Catholic in America one must also be a good American. He was not called upon to lay down his life for his country. He left behind no words to stir the pulse of patriots. But he loved America and believed in her. His religion was a practical thing. His life was a life of action. In his presence prejudice grew dim and man learned to understand his fellow man. Because of him America drew closer to her Ideal. He died in the city of his birth. The bell in the City Hall toiled once for each year of his life. City courts were suspended. The Legislatures of New York and Delaware adjourned. Ex Presldent Taft declared that he be longed not to the church alone, but to the world at large. It was the Governor of Maryland who told us why the Cardinal was Important to the American Idea; what we can learn from him today. The Governor said; "He has broken down many bar riers between men." Northeast corner of the old Center Market, removed in 1931, site of the National Archives Building. angle from the front of the tower. The lower atory was used as a market, and the supper story as a hall, which was reached by a flight of outside stairs ex tending from the sidewalk. On these stairs, regardless of the weather, the candidates were obliged to wait, until wanted inside.” But as to the first Western Market, this building was destroyed by Are on February 1, 1852, and Hiram Lodge lost heavily in its records, furnishings and paraphernalia. William Serrin was at this time clerk of the market. In 1855, we And that what remained standing of “the old unsightly mar ket house” was pulled down to make room for an angular Inclosure of Iron railing. K Street Market Soon afterward the debris was re moved. a market house was located on K street between Nineteenth and Twen tieth streets N.W., where William Walker was clerk, the commissioners of the mar ket for 1860 being William Brown and Andrew Carroll. The clerk received for his service an annual salary of $500 and the stalls rented for $40 for the same period. Early Market People In looking over a city directory for 1867. the writer found the following butchers with stalls at the Western Market: Theodore Barnes, George L. Botsch Si Co., William Chase, Thomas Cissell, John E. Cole, George Davidson, Peter Dill, G. W. Dutton, George W. Emerson, Bernard Geier, John Fister, Michael Gore, J. H. Hazel. Robert Hen sey. Charles Homlller, Thomas Johnson, Joseph Kuhns, Bernard Lauer, William tars. Miss Emma A. Bright and Miss Louise Bright, sttli reside in tha old homestead at 235 Eighth street S.E. The Eastern Market was probably tha outgrowth of the Navy Yard or Eastern Branch Market, said to have been located on R street between Fifteenth and Six teenth streets S.E.. which is evidently an error, since there is no such location thia side of the Eastern Branch. However, before moving to the present site, it was located at Fifth and K streets S.E. The Northern Marketr-or the Northern Liberty Market, by which name it was generally known—was erected in 1848 in Mount Vernon Square, where is now the main building of the Public Library. Permission to erect the market house here was granted by James K Polk, and, with its subsequent additions, it re mained in this spot until by order of “Boss" Shepherd, it was torn down in 1872. Naturally, this resulted in quit* a hardship to many of the market people, who erected temporary sheds, stalls and stands in Corcoran Square, on O street between Sixth and Seventh streets N.W., which tided over the situation until market buildings were erected at Seventh and O streets and Fifth and K streets. The Center Market, which stood until a decade ago south of Pennsylvania ave nue between Seventh and Ninth streets, was the first market house erected in Washington. Its first site was near the White House, in the President’s Square, and what there was of it—and that was very little—was removed to the sit* where now stands the National Archives Build ing, in 1802. Here many important people, Including Senators, Representa tives, cabinet officers, foreign diplomats, did there own marketing, and although President William Henry Harrison lived but a month after taking the oath of office, yet during this time he was fre quently seen making purchases of meats and vegetables for the White "House table.