Ray's Warehouse (1855-1974)
Part of Georgetown's former industrial waterfront, Ray’s Warehouse played an important role in storing and shipping the product produced by Ray’s mill.
A Georgetown flour mill built in 1847 by Alexander Ray (1799-1878) and his two sons, Andrew Ross Ray (1826-1886) and Albert Ross Ray (1829-1882) made use of the hydroelectric power from the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. The location was ideal not only for the power afforded by the canal, but also by the shipping channels provided by both the canal itself as well the Potomac River. As Ray’s mill expanded, the family purchased a vacant lot on K Street in 1853; they constructed a brick warehouse on the site in 1855. The waterfront location of the warehouse (and its associated dock) allowed for streamlined storage and shipping operations for the mill.
When Alexander Ray passed away in 1878, he wanted the flour mill to continue operation, stating in his will, "I wish and direct that the business of the 'Mill' and also that of the 'dock' be conducted and carried out jointly by my sons Andrew Ross and Albert Ross, that both properties be kept always in the best repair and the most effective working condition, that they keep the properties properly insured..." However, this did not happen as both of his sons passed by the 1880s.
In 1885, the warehouse property was deeded to George W. Cissel, who owned several other Georgetown flour mills, including Bomford’s Mill. By 1913, The G.W. Cissel Company Inc. filed for bankruptcy and the building passed into various hands thereafter. Throughout the twentieth century, the warehouse served several purposes, including a workspace for an asphalt producer and a chemist. The last tenant of the warehouse was a contractor, Corson & Grumman Co. in 1952.
In 1974, the warehouse was demolished despite local protest from Georgetown residents. Eventually a parking lot replaced the warehouse; today, the site is part of Georgetown's waterfront park.
DC Inventory: January 23, 1973
Within Georgetown Historic District