Georgetown was founded by an Act of the Maryland Assembly in 1751 and incorporated with an elected government in 1789. It became part of the District of Columbia upon its establishment in 1791, remaining a separate jurisdictional entity within the District until Congress revoked its independent charter in 1871. In 1895, Congress abolished Georgetown as a legal entity.
The Georgetown Historic District is a remarkably intact example of a complete historic town, encompassing the area laid out as a port town in 1751, prior to the establishment of the District of Columbia, and later absorbed into the city of Washington. The architecture of the district is a rich variety of residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial buildings dating from many time periods. Many of the city's oldest buildings are included in this neighborhood, which also features narrow grid streets of intimate scale in contrast to the L'Enfant city plan.
The buildings range from houses of simple frame dwellings to spaciously landscaped mansions, recording all social levels of the community. Just as the building types vary, the architectural styles also vary, including Federal, Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Romanesque, and Classical Revival examples, as well as numerous vernacular structures. The district is made up of approximately 4000 primary buildings, dating from about 1751 to 1950. The protection of these dwellings was first established by the Old Georgetown Act of September 22, 1950, which regulated development of the Georgetown neighborhood.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964; expanded February 27, 2003
National Register and National Historic Landmark: May 28, 1967; expanded July 3, 2003