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August 25, 2007

East Hall at Eastern Market Opens Today

  Originally uploaded by cherbert.

Mayor Fenty was at Eastern Market right after the tragic Eastern Market fire in April, pledging that it would be re-built as quickly as possible, and today it happened.

I woke up early this morning to clean my house and through half-awake grogginess heard the WAMU DJ mention that Eastern Market’s new East Hall was opening today. It was around 8am but people who live in Capital Hill know that Eastern Market gets crowded by around 10am so if you’re going for groceries rather than for the attraction that is Eastern Market, you need to get there early. I rolled out of bed and rushed down.

There was lots of activity on 7th St. this morning with the community coming out to support the grand opening of the new East Hall, which I’ve been watching over the last few months whenever I walk to the metro. By 9:30, with the crowd getting slightly restless, Mayor Fenty gave a short speech thanking everyone for coming out to support the new East Hall at Eastern Market.

  Originally uploaded by cherbert.

With the vendors behind him, the Mayor gave the podium over to the head of the foundation/organization associated with maintaining Eastern Market a gave a few historical facts:

  • Public fresh-food markets had been part of L’Enfant’s original plans for the city of Washington
  • President Thomas Jefferson approved the first Eastern Market at Seventh and L streets SE in 1805
  • Adolf Cluss's 1873 designed the building currently located at in Capital Hill
  • Eastern Market is one of the longest running public markets in D.C.

He also gave a plaque, made out of an original shingle from the building, to Mayor Fenty.

Just like the gool-old days, I could buy my sandwich fixins from Jose at Canales Quality Meats. Jose is an very friendly guy who recognizes his customers no matter how long it's been since they last visited so I was really excited to see him so happy about being back in business in the new building. Then there’s Calomiris Fruits & Vegetables (see Maria Calomiris in the ribbon-cutting photo) and the Fine Sweet Shop with the delicious scones and breads.

  Originally uploaded by cherbert.

The excitement of everyone seeing the new building and realizing that the public square and community meeting place of Capital Hill is back was powerful and reaffirming that good can stem from disaster.

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