Saturday, December 05, 2009

maybe Bloomingdale could become "Swampoodle North" ...?

See this message passed along by a resident of S Street NW.

I make no claim to historic authenticity or accuracy.

The working-class Irish neighborhood called Swampoodle extended along North Capitol from the area of Union Station up to about L Street and was named from the marshy land around Tiber creek. It evoked strong feelings, as the poetry below witnesses. I'll keep an eye open for poetry about your neighborhood, though I assume that the general character of Swampoodle was also found near 1st and S NW.

National Republican, Nov. 7, 1881
How sweet it is at eventide,
When closed is all our daily strife,
To wander forth and closely view
The ragged edge of city life.

To leave the city’s grateful shade,
Long rows of mansions, grand and fine,
The clean-swept streets, the grassy lawns
And grope amid Swampoodle’s swine.

Near where the tawny Tiber rolled,
Amid the valley once so fair,
Now slimy pools pollute the spot,
And gabbling geese are gathered there.

The lop-eared, lean and lowing kine
Drag lazily their limbs along,
While bare-legged boys and girls loud shout
And swell the sweet Swampoodler’s song.

The slop-man and the spavined horse
Hold revel through the live-long day,
While leaping lovingly about
The fragrant goat is seen at play.

The weird and wanton Thomas-cat
Doth murder sleep with cries most foul;
While playful purps evade the tax
And join the midnight Bacchnal’s howl.

Such scenes as these suggest a change,
Some sense of moral wrong to bring;
Else few, I fear, will ever hear
The fluttering of an angel’s wing.
– Andy Gleason


  1. i have a pdf of an article on swampoodle. what's the email i should send it to?

    mine is karmachild at gmail dot com

  2. seriously, i think you may find this article interesting. it's OLLLLD.... from wapo..