Fires yesterday torched two of Washington's precious few local landmarks: Eastern Market and the Georgetown Library. Both were housed in brick buildings dating back to the 19th Century. Both had been studied to death by local community activists, historic preservation committees, and District officials. Squabbling over how to renovate Eastern Market, built in 1873, has gone on for more than two decades; still, not one thing has been done to fix the aging pipes and wiring, which apparently may have sparked the fire that destroyed the building. "It takes a fire to fix a village," a top DC official said this morning after Mayor Adrian Fenty vowed to keep the market's vendors in business, and to quickly rebuild the structure—at a cost of at least $20 million and an estimated time of at least two years. Which begs this question: If it took Boston one year to rebuild Faneuil Hall, why does DC need two years to rebuild Eastern Market?
Ditto the Georgetown branch of the DC library system. Plans to renovate have been batted around for years. Fire Chief Dennis Rubin said the fire was started by faulty wiring.
Fenty promised to fix both buildings. Will he get results where other leaders failed?
Here, below, are pictures of the fire that burned the Georgetown library on Wisconsin Avenue.
Photographs courtesy of Robb Duncan (owner of Dolcezza I argentine gelato cafe).