On Julia Child’s 100th Birthday, We Stop By Her Georgetown House

The culinary legend spent some formative years in Washington.
Julia and Paul Child’s former home in Georgetown. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.
Julia and Paul Child’s former home in Georgetown. Photograph by Carol Ross Joynt.

Were it not for its bright yellow color, it might be easy to miss the frame house
at 2706 Olive Street, where
Julia Child lived not once, but twice, and gave cooking lessons in the kitchen. In the Child
history, the Georgetown home is a notable place, and worth a look and a mention as
foodies worldwide celebrate her 100th birthday. She was born on August 15, 1912, in
Pasadena, California, and died August 4, 2004, just before her 92nd birthday, in Montecito,
California. Washington was a formative stop along the way.

Child and her new husband, Paul, first moved to Olive Street in 1948, after they’d
met in Ceylon, where both were posted for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS),
the precursor to the modern CIA. He introduced her to his love of food, particularly
French cuisine, and later that year, when they left Olive Street to move to France,
she took cooking lessons at Le Cordon Bleu, the first steps along her path to becoming
a culinary legend. Director Nora Ephron depicted this phase of their lives in
Julie and Julia, with Meryl Streep as Julia and Stanley Tucci as Paul.

Over the next eight years the house on Olive Street was rented out to various tenants,
but in 1956 the Childs returned. According to numerous writeups, they expanded the
kitchen to include some new appliances, and Julia began to give cooking lessons
to some of her Georgetown neighbors. She also began research for her landmark tome,
Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Who’s the owner of the house today? According to its property manager,
Dan Walsh of the real estate company Thomas D. Walsh, the owner is
Chelo Echeverria, who lives in Washington state. It is leased to tenants who pay approximately $4,400
a month, according to Walsh. Do the tenants know its history? “I don’t know,” he said,
but did say he felt confident Echeverria was aware. As for the famous kitchen, Walsh
believes it’s no longer, and that the old version got modernized “somewhere along
the way.”

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