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Join Community Meeting to Plan for Eastern Market’s 150th Anniversary

This year marks the 150th Anniversary of Eastern Market (225 Seventh St. SE), which opened Nov. 12, 1873.

Plans are in the already being made to celebrate throughout the year. Do you have ideas or input? Do you want to be involved? Join Councilmember Charles Allen (D), members of the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) and neighbors who have been leading planning efforts to make these ideas a reality!

Designed by noted archtect Adolf Cluss, who also designed the Smithsonian Arts and Industries building, the market fulfilled the call for public markets in the original 1791 L’Enfant Plan for the District. He also designed Western Market, originally located near H and 20th Streets NW.  A third market, Center Market, once stood on Pennsylvania Avenue between Seventh and Ninth Streets NW, now the site of National Archives Museum. Center Market closed in 1931 to make way for the National Archives. Western Market moved in 1873 to a new brick building at 21st and K Streets NW and was demolished in 1967. It is one of the oldest remaining public fresh-food markets in the country. As Capitol Hill’s population grew in the early 20th Century, a new additions to Eastern Market, consisting of the Center and North Halls, were added. During these expansions, Eastern Market was unofficially recognized as the “town center” of Capitol Hill.

Throughout the later half of the last centruy, neighbors fought off repeated attempts to either close the market or to change its character, for instance by converting it into a supermarket, an idea proposed by the District’s own health commissioner in the 1960s. Other ideas to use the building to attract tourism or to install a boutique in a new mezzanine were similarly scutteld by the community. However, the market building itself was in less than ideal condition.

Two firemen observe their coworkers as they put out the embers of the three-alarm fire that gutted Eastern Market on April 30, 2007. Photo: Andrew Lightman
Mayor Adrian Fenty inspects the restored Eastern Market in 2009. Photo: Andrew LIghtman

In 2007, Eastern Market suffered a devastating early morning fire. The following day, the Mayor pledged to rebuild the damaged market and restore its historic architectural features. The Department of General Services (DGS) led the rebuilding efforts, in partnership with a District-formed public-private partnership including the Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee (EMCAC) and the Capitol Hill Community Foundation.

Eastern Market reopened to great fanfare nearly ten years ago, in June 2009. Today, from hard-to-find pastas, local and international cheeses to exquisite jewelry and art, Eastern Market provides an inviting, fun experience for all ages.

Learn more about the market, its vendors and its history by visiting easternmarket-dc.org

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