Myth: Georgetown Residents Fought to Keep Metro Out

by Will Smith

Newcomers to DC often wonder why Georgetown — with all its retail, restaurants, bars, residences, the university and other attractions — doesn’t have a Metro station. The common explanation is that when Metro was being planned, well-to-do Georgetowners resisted a station in the neighborhood believing it would bring in “the riffraff.” They wanted their elite neighborhood to remain relatively inaccessible and pristine, goes the myth.

M and 31st, NW. Photo courtesy Kmf164.

Well a post today from We Love DC reveals that this widely-propagated explanation is just that, a myth. Metro planners never seriously considered installing a station in Georgetown at all, according to The Great Society Subway, a book about the creation of the Metro from which We Love DC draws its history. First, the Metro was envisioned as a system to enable easy access to downtown from the suburbs. Since Georgetown is near downtown, planners didn’t see much of a need for its residents to have a station. Second, Georgetown’s proximity to the river made the logistics and cost of a station unappealing.

We Love DC notes that it is quite possible Georgetown residents would have opposed a station if one had been actually planned. Evidently many neighborhoods opposed Metro for a variety of reasons. But as it happened, a Georgetown station never was planned, and so the idea that residents actively campaigned against it is not true.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/myth_georgetown_residents_fought_to_keep_metro_out/1423


  1. Mike said at 10:44 am on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    Awesome book - a book everyone who rides the metro should read.  It is amazing how a myth takes hold and becomes fact.  Believe it was the depth of the tunnel and the angle needed to get back close to ground level in Georgetown was the main reason.

  1. Ziona said at 11:00 am on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    Wonder why the “Georgetowners” waited so long to refute the “Myth”

  1. Gtown said at 11:33 am on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    Curious to know what people think a Metro in Georgetown would’ve done to property prices. While the impulse answer is that it would’ve bumped up prices, the lack of a station means that there is an air of exclusivity and that translates to higher prices and home valuation.

  1. Bloomingdale res said at 2:02 pm on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    it seems wrong that gtown has been stuck with a snobby image. i find it more appalling that gtown with its strict building design codes restricts the influx of liquor stores.

  1. Dale said at 5:40 pm on Tuesday October 20, 2009:

    This reading of the history cries for a more facts and analysis.

    What if Georgetown residents asserted their interests during the pre-planning phase and thereby kept the issue off the table? What if they had disproportionate presence or influence on the planning board that set out potential station locations?

    That’s called agenda-setting, friends, and it is one of the most powerful yet invisible tools of the so-called democratic process.

  1. Mike said at 12:52 pm on Thursday October 22, 2009:

    Dale, go read the book, this article was not made up, it is been out there since the 1960/70s. 

    Geography dictated why there is no metro in G-town not resident’s interest/non-interest.

    Someone made up a story and then it became fact.

  1. Ralph J Chittams Sr said at 7:46 pm on Thursday March 11, 2010:

    If it’s in a book it MUST be true!  Yeah, right.

Comments are closed.

DC Real Estate Guides

Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market

We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!

Northern Virginia

Profiles of 14 neighborhoods across Northern Virginia

Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
Columbia Pike
Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
Old Town
Mayberry By The Potomac
132 Commerical-Free Acres
Downtown Falls Church
Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
Tysons Corner
Radical Change Could Be On The Way

See more Northern Virginia »


Profiles of 14 neighborhoods in suburban Maryland

Small-Town Living in the State Capital
Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

See more Maryland »

Northwest DC

30+ neighborhood profiles for the city's biggest quadrant

16th Street Heights
DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
AU Park
One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
A Posh View From Embassy Row
LeDroit Park
A Quiet Enclave in the Middle of the City
Logan Circle
Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
Mount Pleasant
Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
Mount Vernon Triangle
From Seedy to Sought-After
The Long, Skinny Neighborhood at the City’s Northwest Edge
Park View
It’s Not Petworth
Penn Quarter/Chinatown
DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

See more Northwest DC »

Southwest DC

The little quadrant that could

Southwest Waterfront
A Neighborhood Where A Change Is Gonna Come

See more Southwest DC »

Northeast DC

Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

See more Northeast DC »

Southeast DC

6 neighborhoods from Capitol Hill to East of the River

Capitol Riverfront
Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

See more Southeast DC »

Upcoming Seminars ▾