History: Proto Eastern Market


With the reopening of Eastern Market, it seems only right to look at the pre-history of what is again the center of our neighborhood. Long before Cluss built his masterpiece, there was another market, one which L’Enfant had planned into his earliest drawings of Washington DC: Eastern Branch Market.

In 1791, it made sense to have the market near water, and since the Navy Yard was the largest employer in the area, the squares surrounded by 5th, 7th, I, and K Streets were chosen for the market. In order to improve the farmer’s access to the market, a canal was to be built from the Eastern Branch (now Anacostia River) to the market.
At least, that was L’Enfant’s plan. Follow me over the jump for the reality.