Center Market Passes Into History

Title

Center Market Passes Into History

Description

Center Market was established in the early 1800s and for most of that century served as a central point of commerce, transportation, and entertainment for the city. Toward the end of the century, city officials, private entrepreneurs, and the federal government argued over jurisdiction of the market and whether to relocate it. Many complained that the market was an unsanitary eyesore as marble federal buildings grew up around it. In the early 1930s, the city decided to close and demolish the market to make way for the National Archives. This nostalgic article from the Washington Post describes the market's history.

Source

The Washington Post

Date

1/4/1931

Coverage

Text

The new year is witnessing the passing of probably the most picturesque and significant physical manifestation of the old slow-going red-brick Washington that is rapidly giving way to the classic white stone national capital that L’Enfant visioned in the early days of the republic.

One day soon - plans call for the razing to begin the first of the year - a workman will plunge his pick into the stout masonry of historic Center Market, brickwork whose toughness bears eloquent tribute to the craftsmanship of the builders of more than half a century ago, and the ensuing weeks will see the demise of a community commercial enterprise established by no less a figure than George Washington himself.

For almost 130 years Center Market, richly flavored of the Old South, and comparable only with the Old French Market in New Orleans, served as the geographic and gastronomic pivot of a Washington that considered the joys of the table among the foremost delights of life. Around it cluster also memories of almost all the innumerable historic events of which broad Pennsylvania avenue, which it adjoins midway between the Capitol and White House, was the stage.

….

In the march of time and the growth of the telephone system of marketing Center Market by no means lost its hold upon housewives in the official, diplomatic and merely social circles of the Capital, and to the very end many there were of high station who did not consider it incongruous to be seen toting a market basket from their car into the fresh-smelling gleaming white stalls of the building. Now, however, with the market officially closed January 1, all must seek another base of supplies, and one of the few remaining links with the old Washington has been broken.

Original Format

newspaper

Description

Center Market was established in the early 1800s and for most of that century served as a central point of commerce, transportation, and entertainment for the city. Toward the end of the century, city officials, private entrepreneurs, and the federal government argued over jurisdiction of the market and whether to relocate it. Many complained that the market was an unsanitary eyesore as marble federal buildings grew up around it. In the early 1930s, the city decided to close and demolish the market to make way for the National Archives. This nostalgic article from the Washington Post describes the market's history.

Date

1/4/1931

Coverage

1920-1949

Source

The Washington Post