53. 3210 M Street

Photo by Andrena Crockett

Columbia Bank of Georgetown

The history of banking in Georgetown presents features of interest to financier and illustrates the folly of having too many banks in one locality. Of the five institutions founded in Georgetown in the early days only one has survived to tell the tale.  The first to establish itself as bank in the District of Columbia was the Bank of Columbia situated in Georgetown.  It was chartered by the Assembly of Maryland in December 1793. George Washington held stock in the bank with $1 million in deposits. A first, it was situated in the Lang Hotel on Bridge Street (M Street) and High Street (32nd Street).  Later, in 1804, a building was started on the north side of Bridge (M Street) near Frederick (34th) Street. It was situated on a hill and completed in 1807 at a cost of $20 million in gold. The first steps were made of Maryland firestone.  The iron trade over the front portico was designed with the words” Bank of Columbia” could be distinctly read.  When the building had gone into other hands and no longer used for banking purposes, the owner had the sign reversed and no longer discernible for the street.  The suspension of the bank ruined many Georgetown people.  Yarrow Mamout owned stock in the bank. The building was sold in 1827 and became the residence of a Mr. Poe. When repairing the roof, it was discovered that pure cooper was used, which he sold at a significant price to pay of the entire mortgage.