Western Market (1872 - circa 1966)

This public market, since demolished, was one of three markets dating back to the early days of Washington.

Early on, three public markets were envisioned for the city: Center (Downtown), Eastern (Capitol Hill), and Western (Foggy Bottom/West End). Of these, only Capitol Hill's Eastern Market is still standing.

Established in 1802-03, Western Market was originally located at approximately H and 20th streets NW, just off Pennsylvania Avenue. It relocated nearby, to the southeast corner of K and 21st streets NW, in 1872-73. The market was composed of brick masonry, like the other public markets, and L-shaped in its footprint. While little is written about the architect, an Evening Star article from December 1872 references "Mr. [Thomas M.] Plowman" as the building's designer. Plowman also designed Cooke's Row, a designated landmark in Georgetown.

Starting in the early 1940s, there had been discussion of demolition at the site. By the 1960s, a Safeway grocery store occupied part of the market building. The city sold the market in 1965, and shortly thereafter it was razed. By the mid-1970s, an office building was being constructed on the site — furthering the evolution of the Foggy Bottom/K Street neighborhood and creating the contemporary, urban landscape. In 1964, prior to its demolition, Western Market was recognized as significant by the Joint Committee on Landmarks.

Recognizing this history, the Western Market Foodhall opened at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in 2021. It is not directly connected to the original public market.

DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)



21st & K streets NW