History of CAG

The Citizens Association of Georgetown has, in one form or another, been representing the interests of Georgetown residents in local affairs for more than a century.

The Early Days

The organization traces its roots to 1878, when the Georgetown Citizens Association was established as the District of Columbia’s first civic group. By the early 1920s, the group was successfully campaigning for the community’s first zoning rules to block an invasion of apartment buildings in what was then a community comprising mainly single-family homes. Another neighborhood group, The Progressive Citizens Association of Georgetown, admitting women as members and promising a more activist approach, was organized in 1926. Led by Eva Hinton and Harriet Hubbard, the group soon made a name for itself with a successful campaign to extend Georgetown’s new, single-family zoning to most of Georgetown above M Street.

Georgetown Declared A Historic District

Over the years, the two groups worked as allies and won a number of major victories for the community. Chief among these were creation of Georgetown as an “Historic District” with enactment by Congress of the Old Georgetown Act in 1950, P.L. 81-808. Among other things, the Act defines the Historic District’s boundaries and gives the Commission of Fine Arts advisory powers over all exterior construction and building alterations within that area. The same year the Act was passed, the two neighborhood groups also convinced Congress to block the demolition of the Old Stone House on M Street, considered the oldest surviving house in Washington, D.C. In 1967 the federal government designated the entire Georgetown Historic District a National Historic Landmark.

A Merger of Two Associations

In 1963, the Georgetown Citizens Association and the Progressive Citizens Association merged to form the Citizens Association of Georgetown (CAG). In recent years, CAG has devoted itself to protecting the interests of Georgetown’s residential community in a time of great neighborhood change. The association has focused its efforts on everything from reclaiming the Georgetown waterfront for a new park to promoting stricter liquor license laws and enforcement, and working with local police on a variety of successful crime-prevention programs. CAG also works with the Georgetown business community and Georgetown University on behalf of residents on initiatives to help preserve the neighborhood’s livability, beauty and historic character.

The association acts on matters that affect Georgetown and the greater Washington community by providing advice and counsel to Congress, federal agencies and the District of Columbia government. CAG collects and disseminates information relevant to particular legislative and administrative decisions, provides a strong, unified voice for its members, and monitors both official and unofficial developments in the community in an effort to see that it remains safe, comfortable and vibrant.

CAG’s Role Over The Past 30 Years

Our Past President, Cheryl Gray, wrote an insightful article capturing CAG’s role as Georgetown developed through the 70’s and 80’s. The original article can be found in its entirety in the CAG Newsletter October 2011.