West Washington, as it is now called, was incorporated as a town in 1789. It is situated on the western border of Washington, and is separated from it by Rock Creek, a narrow stream spanned by three bridges. It lies as the base and along the sides of steep hills, and contains many old family mansions, as well as many modern residences of people doing business in Washington. It has a number of fine business blocks, and several large churches and school-houses. The most important edifice is the Georgetown College, or College of the Jesuits, which is situated on the crest of a hill in the western part of the town, its grounds covering an area of one hundred and seventy acres, comprising heights and valleys of rare beauty.
The old or original college building was erected in 1792, and work on the new one a palatial structure was begun in 1877. The new building is one of the largest devoted to college purposes in the United States, and is of the type the Rhenish-Romanesque which is usually selected by the Jesuits in Europe for their institutions of learning. The material is gray freestone, finely hewn blue-stone, and blue gneiss. It has a high central tower, and several lesser ones, is many storied, with a bold, deep roof, and stands out upon the bank supporting it with a grand appearance.
This college is the oldest and most prominent of the Jesuit institutions in the United States, and came into existence through the efforts of the Rt. Rev. John Carroll, the first Catholic bishop of Baltimore. It began its work in an humble way, and in 1815 was raised to the dignity of a university. It has a large number of students, mostly from the South, a learned corps of instructors, and bears a high reputation. In its extensive library are many ancient and rare volumes, and sundry relics of great interest and value, one being the dining-table of Lord Baltimore, around which he and the council of the Maryland Colony have often sat discussing questions of state over the walnuts and wine. The table was originally brought from England, is of solid mahogany, and of enormous weight.