Early plan of part of the city of Washington showing William Prout's property. Credit: Library of Congress

William Prout's Grave: The Beginning of a Grand Adventure

September 22, 2009
On September 22, 2009, local historian Cindy Janke presented an illustrated Overbeck Lecture on William Prout, the 18th century owner of the land that today comprises most of the Capitol Hill Historic District.

Historical accounts of the District’s founding have tended to focus on Daniel Carroll, who provided the land for the U.S. Capitol, but Janke pointed out that the largely forgotten Prout played a bigger role than Carroll in the development of the Capitol Hill neighborhood. He was instrumental, for example, in persuading President Jefferson to authorize the creation of the original Eastern Market. His land extended from the Navy Yard waterfront to present-day Florida Avenue.

This was Janke’s third Overbeck lecture. A former curator of the Kiplinger Washington Collection, she is a longtime explorer of the city’s past and co-author, with Ruth Ann Overbeck, of a groundbreaking study of Prout. She served on the collections committee of the DC Historical Society and the steering committee of the Overbeck Project. She also wrote caption material for a pictorial book Washington Past and Present.

Past Lectures