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Who Was Georgetown Named After?

Updated: January 17, 2023

Have you ever heard that Georgetown was named for George Washington (or another famous George)? Find out if that is true or not on this week's Should Have Asked A Tour Guide.

Check us out on YouTube - Top Things To Do DC - for our weekly series, Should Have Asked A Tour Guide, every Tuesday at 230pm.

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Who was Georgetown Named After?

Canden: Hey, guys. Canden here with-

Becca: -Becca, hi.

Canden: We are part of free tours by foot and top things to do DC with another episode of-

Becca and Canden: Should Have Asked A Tour Guide.

Canden: Thank you for getting that. We didn't even practice that.

Becca: Not even rehearsed.

Canden: I am back from New Orleans. Florence did not come with me. We thought we'd do another episode for you guys this week.

We are here in Georgetown which is my favorite part of Washington DC. Shameless plug, I have had two books published on the history of Georgetown.

Becca: She literally wrote the book on Georgetown.

Canden: The only Canden on Amazon. It's really easy to find me. We thought we'd go over some of the common questions that we get about Georgetown.

Now, so we're in Georgetown, which means we are not in Washington DC anymore?

Becca: No, we're definitely still in Washington DC. Sometimes people think Georgetown is a separate part of DC, which is not true today, but has its roots in some truth. If you've watched some of our other videos, you might know this.

In 1790 Congress passes something called the Residence Act, which establishes a federal district to become the new capital city. George Washington is going to plan out and map out our nation's capital.

Georgetown had already existed. By the time 1790 rolls around, Georgetown had been a bustling tobacco port for more than 50 years.

Okay, Canden. So we're in Georgetown. Who is Georgetown named for?

Canden: George in the 1700s was a very popular name. There are many options and there are a few that haven't passed around throughout the years. We know some of them are not true. The town of George is not named after George Clooney, unfortunately-

Becca: [laughs]

Canden: -though I would name a town after him. It is not named after George Washington. George Washington was like 19 years old when the town of George was founded. That's basically middle age in the 18th century.

There are plenty of well-accomplished 19 year olds at that time, but George Washington was not one of them. It's probably named after King of England. Maryland was a colony at the time. So it's King George II, who was grandfather of King George the III who would we would later rebel against. This point we're fine. We are still naming things after British royalty.

It could also be named after the two men who owned this land first- They either willingly or forcibly sold their land to kind of create this port town of George. That was George Gordon and George Bell. It is definitely named after a George. We just don't know which one.


Becca: If you visit Georgetown today, it does feel a part from Washington in some ways and so much of that is rooted in the fact that it was its own established town long before the District of Columbia was established.

Canden: Visiting Georgetown is something we highly recommended. Becca and I are in Georgetown regularly. We offer three tours of the neighborhood.

There's the historic Georgetown tour, the ghost of Georgetown tour and an adults-only wicked Georgetown tour. If you guys have any more questions about Georgetown, let us know in the comments below. Tag us on social media @topthingstodo#shouldhaveaskedatourguide or sign up for a tour and ask us in person.

Becca: Come visit Georgetown yourself.

[00:03:43] [END OF AUDIO]


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About The Author

Canden Arciniega

Follow On Instagram | I'm a historian & tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. I have written for HuffPost Travel and have been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. I've also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. I am the producer of the podcast, Tour Guide Tell All. I am an authority on D.C. history, and have led tours in the city since 2011. I currently resides in DC, but have also lived in London and South Korea, and have traveled to over 28 countries and every US State but Hawaii. I homeschool my 2 children by exploring the plethora of museums in DC. Read More...
Updated: January 17th, 2023
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