Eastern Market. Photo: Historic American Buildings Survey. Library of Congress

The Improbable History of Eastern Market

September 19, 2006
On September 19, 2006, Capitol Hill author Stephen J. Ackerman presented an illustrated history of Eastern Market.

The lecture was based on Ackerman's forthcoming book on the subject and coincided with the 200th anniversary of the market's founding at its original site near 6th and L Streets S.E. Publication of Making Eastern Market: Heart of the Capitol Since 1805 (Folger Park Press, 2009) was supported in part by the Overbeck Project.

Ackerman disclosed a wealth of detail from the market's improbable history, including the period when the building's north hall served as a stable for the firehouse next door and another when the basement served as a rifle range.

A Capitol Hill native and sixth-generation Washingtonian, Ackerman has pursued a varied career, moving from college English teacher to congressional aide to federal civil servant, and has worked for the past twenty years as a free lance writer. His articles have appeared in American Heritage, Smithsonian, Preservation, American History, Washington Post Magazine and many other publications.

Past Lectures