Beyond the Books

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Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011 9:03 a.m.

Author speaks at Reiter’s Books about Foggy Bottom history

Matthew Gilmore, co-author of "Foggy Bot­tom and the West End," discusses photos featured in his book and answers questions from the audience at Reiter's Books on Tuesday evening. Cécile Schilis-Gallego | Hatchet Photographer.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Alexandra Nowicki.

Gas tanks that once stood along the Potomac River have since been replaced by the Watergate Complex and the Kennedy Center. Where GW’s International House residence hall stands today was once a church that housed several denominations over its lifetime.

These are just a few facts about Foggy Bottom’s history that Matthew Gilmore mentioned at Reiter’s Books on Tuesday night, where he came to speak about his co-authored book, “Foggy Bottom and the West End.”

In the book published October of last year, Gilmore and co-author Joshua Olsen use vintage photographs to explore the evolution of the two historic neighborhoods.

Reiter’s Books, D.C.’s oldest independently owned bookstore, hosted the event in conjunction with the Foggy Bottom Association.

Gilmore, a former resident of Foggy Bottom, said he wrote the book because there is so much interesting history in the area that he feels should never be forgotten.

“When I pitched it, I said, ‘You know, it’s basically Washington in miniature,’” Gilmore said.

He said there is a little bit of everything in the Foggy Bottom and West End areas of D.C., and that is something he wanted to portray through the photo narrative in the book.

“You have embassies, you have people living, working, recreating. You have everything going on here in this relatively small area. You can cover a whole lot of ground,” Gilmore said.

After having Gilmore and Olsen speak at one of the Foggy Bottom Association’s meetings earlier this year, board member Lucia Pollock said the two authors sparked so much interest, she decided to host an encore event.

“It’s promoting the bookstore, as well as the neighborhood and the association,” Pollock said.

Gilmore’s talk was followed by a book signing and a wine and cheese reception.