Mt. Vernon Square was clearly meant to host D.C.'s conventions. Even the first convention center in Washington is a mere three blocks away from the current one that sits atop the Green Line. That said, hosting thousands of traveling convention-goers was not the original purpose of the massive Victorian building. Initially, the enormous arched brick walls enclosed a market, called Northern Liberty Market in 1875. The convention space didn't come until 1891 when a second floor was added above the market. To give an idea of size, it held 6,000 people seated and 10,000 if the event was better suited for standing room. However, a fire destroyed the gorgeous arched roof and when the market reopened, it did so with a flat one. The building also spent some time as the National Historical Wax Museum before its then-pink walls met the wrecking ball in 1985. Today, if you head to 5th Street between K and L, you'll find City Vista, a luxury apartment complex that houses, amongst other things, a Safeway and a Busboys & Poets.
· Washington's First Convention Center [Streets of Washington]
· All Looking Back Posts [CDC]