Eastern Market, in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, has been providing fresh produce and handmade arts and crafts for more than 136 years. It has been both a neighborhood market and gathering spot since it opened in 1873. It was designed by architect Adolph Cluss. It’s the only remaining public market in the city still serving its intended purpose of suppling goods to city residents.
Backstory and Context
It was developed as part of a city-wide public market to help attract people to the city. It was built as part of a public works program following the Civil War. As Washington DC grew in the 20th century the need to expand the market became paramount. Architect Snowden Ashford designed a new addition featuring the Center and North Halls. The addition was completed in 1908.
Through the years customer interest waned and competition from grocery store chains took its toll. The city was prepared to close the Market in 1929 but enough support in protest saved it. It struggled following World War II and eventually was taken over by private management. More recently it has been a vibrant part of urban revitalization.
Today Eastern Market features a wide variety of vendors. Merchants offer farm-fresh produce and meats, delis, groceries, flowers, pottery, antiques and a wealth of handmade arts and crafts. The Market offers regular special activities while its popular North Hall also serves as a unique venue for weddings, receptions, fundraisers and other community events.