Skip to main content
Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

This program is sold out.
Email to get on the Wait List.

Don’t miss out on future programs like this.
As a Smithsonian Associates member, you will receive ticket-buying priority.

DC’s Historic Sites: Welcome to Georgetown

Session 3 of 6-Session Lecture Series

Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 12:00 p.m.
Code: 1B0183
Chesapeake & Ohio Canal in Georgetown

This lecture is part of two series:

Our D.C. lunchtime lecture series continues with Georgetown, a unique neighborhood that predates the establishment of the federal district and Washington City by 40 years. Founded in 1751 on 60 acres along the Potomac River in the province of Maryland, Georgetown was the farthest point upstream still navigable for oceangoing boats. After the establishment of the federal capital, Georgetown became an independent municipal government within the District of Columbia.

Georgetown is bounded by the Potomac River on the south, Rock Creek to the east, Burleith and Glover Park to the north, with Georgetown University on its west end. Much of Georgetown is surrounded by parkland and green space that serve as buffers from development in adjacent neighborhoods.

Featured Topic: Dumbarton Oaks Gardens

When Mildred and Robert Woods Bliss bought this 53-acre property in 1920, it was described as “an old-fashioned house standing in rather neglected grounds” at the highest point of Georgetown. Landscape gardener Beatrix Farrand was hired to design the gardens and she worked with Mildred Bliss, planning every garden detail, each terrace, bench, urn, and border.

The Blisses gave the upper 16 acres to Harvard University in 1940 to establish a research institute for Byzantine studies, pre-Columbian studies, and studies in the history of gardens and landscape architecture. They gave 27 acres to the federal government to be made into a public park and the remainder was sold to build the Danish Embassy.

Presenter James Carder is archivist and house collection manager at Dumbarton Oaks.


S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)