41. Boston/Potomac Street

South of Market Place, West of Thomas Jefferson

The area had its own nomenclature, Hungry Hill, Paradise Flats, and Frog Island together making up the overall area in southwest Georgetown known as “Boston.”  Here unfolded, night after night, a scene reminiscent of “West Side Story,” with colored hoodlums loitering in the alleys to fight gangs swaggering over from Rosalyn.  Red Bill hung out here with his gang in the old shell of the old Henry Foxhall mansion at the foot of 34th Street just below the canal, then called “Buzzard Roost.” It was a lively nefarious region. Police out of uniform and in roughhouse clothes would haul off wagon load of prostitutes and gamblers every Saturday night.  As reported in Black Georgetown Remembered, during the Civil War, Georgetown, like Washington City, became a haven for contraband refugees.  Between 1860 and 1870 the Georgetown Black population increased form 1,935 to over 3,271, while the city as a whole reached a population of 11,384.  Footsore, ragged men, women, and children escaped slavery in Virginia or Maryland and settle in nearly every part of Georgetown. Straggling across the long Bridge from the Old Dominion, they settled in the southern and eastern sections of Georgetown in places like Boston, south of M Street; Potomac Street. There was one area where blacks never deserted or were forced out. This was the marketplace intersection with M Street a rowdy atmosphere spiked with blarney and southern lingo flourished.  There were three saloons run by the convivial men of Erin, two livery stables one owned by R. H. Darne from Virginia, who also had a highbred stallion to show off and a barbershop.  Horse talk, deals in the marketplace or saloon when a stallion was at stud, fast talk in the barbershop, a mingling smell from the stables and barbershop, rendering this place a colorful place all week. Roughly, one hundred African Americans lived in unnumbered dwellings along Potomac Street south of M Street, part of a steady population providing a steady workforce for the market activities.