The Kennedy Homes of Georgetown
You’re going to turn right here onto O Street, but before you do, look over to your left to see Georgetown University. It’s considered one of the world’s leading medical and law schools with nearly 12,000 students. They have a pretty good basketball team, too.
We’re now heading to 1400 34th Street, where John Kennedy and his sister Eunice lived. John, who was called Jack by his friends, lived in Georgetown from 1949 till he became president in 1961.
Maybe the neighborhood’s old English style reminded him of his Boston roots. After all, both were once British colonies with Federal style rowhouses remindful of London’s residential areas. Some of the stone you see even comes from England. Georgetown was a deep-water port when founded in 1751 – 40 years before the city of Washington was created. British traders would fill their ships with stones for ballast, then unload them along the Georgetown waterfront when taking on cargo. Locals then used those stones for building materials. The same occurred in other major colonial cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Charleston, South Carolina.
John liked the walkability of the neighborhood, which also had streetcars that took him to his Capitol Hill office. Indeed, you’ll see some of those old rails in streets we’ll cross later. Little has really changed since Kennedy’s time. You’ll see a new home occasionally, but many in this area were built in the 1810s and 1820s. It was once the poorest part of town, but is now the richest thanks to Kennedy’s legacy of Camelot.
John often rented upscale homes. The only one he bought was the last home he lived in, with his wife, before moving to the White House. Of the seven homes in which John lived before marrying Jackie, all were within walking distance of each other.
John once said, “It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.” That quote was about history, but it certainly could have pertained to Georgetown, too. An old rooted area that still holds promise for tomorrow.
Start looking for 34th Street. We’re heading to the nearby corner, where we’ll find number 1400.