LOCAL LORE: Brookland’s “Sundowners"

I haven’t posted much lately, mostly because my wife and I have been spending a lot of time rehabbing our house. It’s an old house, vintage 1908, and there seems to be a good bit of Brookland history tied up in it. I’ve been doing some research and should be able to post about it soon. In the meantime, here’s a cartoon from the same era that appeared in the Washington Times

Click for larger image. Library of Congress

The article that accompanied the cartoon is too long to reprint here, but it does explain what they mean by “sundowners,” quoting Dr. J.H. Brooks: “We are all sundowners out here. Wait around until nightfall and the folks will come in from the Government departments. Our doctors, lawyers, merchants and other leading lights never hang out their shingles until after sundown. Yes, indeed, business picks up a bit out this way at night.” Dr. Brooks was the son of Jehiel Brooks. for whom the neighborhood is named.

Nicholas Crook, in the lower left of the cartoon, was Catholic University’s general manager and groundskeeper. His son Louis was awarded a scholarship at CUA and eventually became the dean of the department of aeronautical engineering. 

And Joseph Gatto, the barber, had “the most formidable mustache in Brookland.” Now there’s something to be proud of.

© Robert Malesky 2016