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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Book chronicles Foggy Bottom’s history

Two young authors shared little-known tidbits of Foggy Bottom and West End history with residents at the Foggy Bottom Association meeting Tuesday night.

The book, by Matthew Gilmore and Josh Olsen, chronicles the beginnings of the Foggy Bottom-West End neighborhood through vintage photographs donated by area residents.

“There are a number of historical photo books on the market, but none about Foggy Bottom,” Gilmore said. “It was a niche [looking] to be filled.”

The authors said GW is a premier example of a national institution that changed the landscape of the Foggy Bottom neighborhood during its 100-year history.

They said the University’s original location was supposed to be at the site of an old mansion where the Organization of American States currently sits. The first GW building, however, was part of St. Rose’s Industrial School at 2023 G St.

The authors defined Foggy Bottom and West End as the area extending from 17th Street to Rock Creek Parkway, the area north of the National Mall to Pennsylvania Avenue, and N Street and New Hampshire Avenue to Rock Creek Parkway.

“Foggy Bottom is D.C. in a microcosm,” Gilmore said.

Gilmore and Olsen also looked into and speculated about the origins of the neighborhood’s name, Foggy Bottom.

It is thought the name originated from a time when people traveled up the Potomac River and reached a place called Braddock Rock. The area around it was swampy, with mud flats below the rock, Gilmore explained.

“It was not clear where the name came from,” Olsen said.

The authors signed copies of the book before and after the event. The book sold at the event for $20.

Gilmore said he’s working on making a copy of the book available to GW’s libraries so students can gain access to Foggy Bottom’s history.

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