Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

Talk-October 8, 2014-Foggy Bottom Illustrated: for Newcomers and Oldtimers Alike


Due to the success of the book ‘Foggy Bottom and the West End’, author Matthew Gilmore is preparing a fascinating collection of photographs and documents for a talk that will recreate the rich tapestry of industrial/residential areas that are now home to the Federal office buildings, the Kennedy Center and George Washington University. It’s a rare and vital opportunity for West End residents to learn about the community they live in, and also pick up a copy of the book that fills a huge gap in the DC local history market.


Washington, DC – Author Matthew Gilmore couldn’t say it better when describing Foggy Bottom; “It is D.C. in a microcosm. It was a cradle to grave community,” he says. Having authored an acclaimed book on the history and evolution of the area, Gilmore is now inviting local residents to a unique talk that brings the Foggy Bottom of yesteryear to life like never before.

‘Foggy Bottom Illustrated: for Newcomers and Oldtimers Alike’ will take place at the West End Library on October 8th from 19:00 HRS. Attendees will be treated to a rare collection of historic images and texts that illuminate the factories, breweries, gasworks and residential neighborhoods that once stood on the land now graced by Federal office buildings, the Kennedy Center and George Washington University.

“The past two hundred years have seen the area evolve rapidly, with a huge number of academic, federal, residential, and business forces at play,” explains Gilmore. “Attendees will get to see the area as it was and learn about its dramatic and sometimes tumultuous transformation.”

Continuing, “There’s few places in the country with so many ‘stories’ to tell. You have historic homes like the Octagon, briefly used by the President after the burning of the White House–indeed Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent there. You have the Old Naval Observatory, the State Department, Organization of American States; Watergate; George Washington University. Some of the earliest federal offices were housed in the early 1800s on Pennsylvania Avenue at the northern boundary of the neighborhood–halfway between the White House and Georgetown. You have churches, schools, hospital; and a home for unwed mothers. You had Civil War barracks lining 23rd Street. At the head of that street, in the center of Washington Circle (or The Circle as it is more commonly known) was one of Washington’s earliest public statues–and one of the first of George Washington.”

Gilmore’s talk will span the area’s documented past, starting hundreds of years ago when the area got its name from those who travelled up the Potomac River and reached Braddock Rock. As Gilmore explains, the rest is literal history.

“The mists of time have obscured much of Foggy Bottom’s definitive early history. Whether you have lived in the area for five or fifty years – you won’t want to miss this opportunity to learn about Foggy Bottom’s rich history,” he adds.

‘Foggy Bottom Illustrated: for Newcomers and Oldtimers Alike’ will take place at the West End Library (2522 Virginia Ave. NW ) on October 8th from 19:00HRS. For more information, visit: http://bit.ly/Y44hFf.

Purchase ‘Foggy Bottom and the West End’ on Amazon today: http://amzn.to/1ra9fxj.



Book Synopsis:

Beginning as a small town on the banks of the Potomac, the neighborhoods of Foggy Bottom and the West End grew into the capital’s industrial center at the head of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, with factories, gasworks and breweries. The amalgam of working-class row homes, stately mansions and mills largely disappeared with the coming of the twentieth century, and in their place came the federal government, George Washington University, the Kennedy Center and the Watergate. With a collection of rare vintage images, local authors Matthew Gilmore and Joshua Olsen have compiled a stunning visual narrative of the evolution of these historic Washington, D.C. communities.


About the Author:

Matthew Gilmore has authored a number of books: Historic Photos of Washington, D.C. (with Andrew Brodie Smith), Historic Photos of Arlington County and Historic Photos of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He is the founding editor of H-DC, the Washington, D.C. history discussion list and website and has published in, guest co-edited for and serves on the editorial board of Washington History, the journal of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles.

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This entry was posted on September 29, 2014 by in DC History.
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