A federal judge proposed renaming DC’s lettered streets after presidents, judges, and cabinet members in 1897, Ghosts of DC explains. If his proposal had taken hold, we might go to movies at the Landmark Ellsworth Street Cinema downtown today.
According to Tom of Ghosts of DC, Alexander Burton Hagner, a judge of the federal district court in DC, said that naming streets G, H, I, and so on conveyed a “poverty of conception and of taste, a lack of dignity, and a want of appreciation of the importance of the city among the great capitals of earth.”
Instead, he wanted to change the lettered streets both north and south of the Capitol to the names of presidents, if ones had that letter, followed by vice-presidents, Supreme Court chief justices, Speakers of the House, cabinet members, military heroes, and so forth. Here’s the list he came up with:try to rename 16th Street NW for the former President). This plan never came to pass, but when the city expanded beyond its original borders, the streets did get the names of important historical figures. We now have Otis Place and Upshur Street just about 1.7 miles north of where Hagner would have placed them.