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From Yesteryear: Was Dumbarton Street Ever Dumbarton Avenue?

A new biography of DC socialite Susan Mary Alsop is mentioned in last Sunday's New York Times Magazine and with it comes a first paragraph that refers to Dumbarton Avenue in Georgetown. That is the same place that is now known as Dumbarton Street. That led to some back and forth on a Georgetown listserv about when the switch from Avenue to Street happened and whether or not it should go back to being an Avenue. 'Twas a temporary discussion, however, since a Special Collections Librarian at the Peabody Room of the Georgetown Library researched every map going back to 1887 and reported that they all call it Dumbarton Street. However, several on the listserv mentioned living on Dumbarton Avenue so at one point in its history it was an Avenue, at least in the local lingo.

But back to the book...Alsop (and her journalist husband Joseph) hosted hundreds of dinner parties with well-connected politicos—JFK himself went to unwind at their house after the inaugural balls—and the book has details on many of the names that graced their living room. This same house was the subject of a major remodel covered in House Beautiful earlier this year, but the NYT article wonders who will take up the social reigns left void by her death. Saying, "...the saloniste chain has been broken lately; it awaits a new doyenne to reattach the link and keep it growing."

· A Two-Continent Hostess [NYT]
· House Beautiful Profiles The Makeover Of A DC Townhouse [CDC]