Descriptions and videos of DC Neighborhoods
Kalorama Heights is a prestigious neighborhood with an historic designation largely due to the Mediterranean and Georgian revival influences in their architecture. They are almost exclusively residential. Some of the tree-lined streets still sport old-fashioned streetlights. Neighbors know each other by name among the large, three and four story single-family homes and elegant condominiums. There is a balance between the number of free standing and attached houses.
Home buyers have been attracted by the fine woodwork, ornate plaster ceilings and other decorative qualities not found in newer houses today, as well as the park-like atmosphere of the hilly setting that provides lovely views over the city. The William Howard Taft Bridge is a grand commemoration with its imposing concrete lions. Woodrow Wilson moved to Kalorama after leaving office and his former home is now a museum.
Kalorama boasts some of the finest mansions in the metropolitan area where homes still have ballrooms, grand staircases and circular driveways. The majority of the embassies in Washington, DC are housed in these mansions. The merchants and dining offered in DuPont Circle and Adams Morgan are a stroll away, is the Woodley Park and DuPont Metro stations.
16th STREET HEIGHTS
In 1854 Maple Grove Farm was established on the land that is now 16th Street Heights. Individual plots were not sold until 1892. The neighborhood was developed in the 1920’s and 1930’s as a streetcar community of row houses, duplexes and American Craftsman and American Foursquare detached houses.
Homes have formal foyers and porches where neighbors can sit and chat. Residents characterize the area as quiet, well kept and clean. There are a handful of corner shops with minimal commercial districts confined to Georgia Avenue and 14th Street so most of the residents drive to do their shopping.
Sixteenth Street Heights is close to Rock Creek Park, in particular the Carter Barron Amphitheater and the William H.G. Fitzgerald Tennis Center, home of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic. The area encompasses Hamilton Recreation Center, Upshur Recreation Center and the Twin Oaks Community Garden. Two historic streetcar facilities are currently used for Metrobus, thus several Metrobus lines serve the neighborhood. The Georgia Avenue – Petworth Metrorail station is located at the far southeast corner of the neighborhood.
Petworth is a beautiful, residential neighborhood that was developed in the 1920’s as a suburb of the Federal City. A housing shortage at that time sent construction into overdrive and Petworth was rapidly built up with long chains of row houses and apartment houses and stores along Georgia Avenue.
The Petworth subdivision was recorded at the city surveyor’s office in 1889 and it is one of the few places outside the Old City where there are large traffic circles, as well as, diagonal streets crossing the standard grid plan drawn by Pierre L’Enfant. Sales and development were slow in the area for the first thirty years, which allowed the more affluent and influential residents to build large houses in Petworth.
Abraham Lincoln built a cottage with thirty-four rooms in this area, where he worked on his emancipation strategies. It opened to the public in 2008 after renovation by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The historic Anderson Cottage was constructed between 1842 and 1843 as a home for George W. Riggs, who established Riggs National Bank in Washington, DC. In 1851 the cottage and farmlands were sold to the government and formed the foundation for the Armed Forces Retirement Home, known today as the US Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home.
The 1911 Firehouse in the area currently houses Engine Company Number 24. With the twentieth century housing boom a plethora of restaurants and retailers moved in, as did a Safeway grocery store. The Petworth Branch Library opened in January 1939 and was the sixth public library built in the District. Five elementary schools and three public charter schools serve this area. Residents can play and stay fit at Emery Recreation Center, Petworth Recreation Center and Raymond Recreation Center. The Georgia Avenue – Petworth Metro station provides access to downtown, as do the buses running regularly on Georgia Avenue.
Brightwood was called “Vinegar Hill” in the 1820’s. The neighborhood is home to Fort Stevens, DC’s only Civil War Battlefield. President Lincoln was viewing the fighting from the fort as Confederate General Early approached Washington in 1864 and became the only sitting president to come under fire in US history. Forty-one Union soldiers who fought and died in this battle are interred in Battleground National Cemetery, one mile north of the fort.
A former barracks for soldiers from Fort Stevens became the Military Road School that currently houses the Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School. Other schools that serve the neighborhood include Brightwood Elementary School, MacFarland Middle School, Coolidge Senior High School, the Jewish Primary Day School and Nativity Catholic Academy. Residents have access to Emery Recreation Center, Fort Stevens Recreation Center and Rock Creek Park. A farmer’s market operates every Sunday in neighboring Takoma Park, MD.
To the north of Brightwood, Silver Spring, MD offers a plethora of shops and abundant nightlife. Georgia Avenue is the retail artery in the neighborhood and several grocery stores are in close proximity. The Takoma Park Metro station is within walking distance of the north part of the neighborhood and several metro bus routes serve the area. Green trees dot the residential streets where Tudor style, Colonial, Bungalow and Cape Cod style homes sit back modestly from the road. It is not uncommon to learn that the same family has occupied a home for thirty years and the neighborhood reflects that sense of pride and investment. Some condominiums are also available.
Capitol Hill is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places and is a US Historic District. It is the largest historic residential neighborhood in Washington, DC comprised predominantly of row houses in a variety of styles and periods. There are some early nineteenth century manor houses, Federal townhouses, small frame dwellings, ornate Italian bracketed houses and late nineteenth century press brick row houses combining Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne and Eastlakian motifs. The Capitol Hill Restoration Society holds the Capitol Hill House and Garden Tour every May.
In 1799 the Washington Navy Yard was established on the banks of the Anacostia River and craftsmen who built and repaired ships and also wanted to walk to work became the original residential population of the neighborhood. Another boom in construction occurred after the Civil War. Then, more new houses were built in the 1870’s and 1880’s. The final surge in real estate development occurred between 1890 and 1910 when Capitol Hill became one of the first neighborhoods to offer electricity, piped water and plumbing.
Several residential streets on “the hill”, as it is called, still have brick sidewalks. Pennsylvania Avenue is a lively commercial street with shops, restaurants and bars. Eastern Market was established in 1873 as a public market where vendors sell fresh meat and produce indoors and there is a flea market held outdoors on the weekends. Barracks Row is close to the US Marine Barracks and is one of the city’s oldest commercial corridors, dating back to the late eighteenth century. The Capitol Hill Association of Merchants and Professionals advocates for Capitol Hill businesses and connects them with greater Washington
The US Marine Barracks on Capitol Hill is the oldest continuously manned Marine station. President Thomas Jefferson chose this site for the Barracks in 1806 to provide equal protection for the Capitol, the White House and the Navy Yard. The Barracks Row Heritage Trail is a self-guided walking tour of the neighborhoods historic places.
John Philip Sousa and J. Edgar Hoover were born on Capitol Hill, which is also the site of Frederick Douglass’ former house. Union Station and the Folger Shakespeare Library are located on Capitol Hill, as are Lincoln Park, the National Postal Museum, and the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum (formerly the National Women’s Party Headquarters). .It cannot go without mention that the US Capitol, US Congress and office buildings, the Supreme Court of the US and the Library of Congress are located on Capitol Hill. In fact, in 1791 when Pierre L’Enfant designed the Federal City he wanted the house for Congress to sit on what was then called “Jenkins Hill” facing the city. Between 1799 and 1810 the federal government became a major employer and the community became distinct as members of Congress who did not want to establish permanent residence in the city lived in boarding houses on the hill and walked to work at the Capitol.
Burleith is a residential neighborhood just north of Georgetown comprised of five hundred thirty one small, single family row houses that were built in the 1920’s. Although it has no distinct business district of its own, the residents of Burleith are within easy walking distance of the numerous Wisconsin Avenue shops and restaurants, and can ride frequent buses downtown and access local highways quickly.
The name Burleith is taken from an estate built on the site of the Visitation Convent circa 1716 by Henry Threkeld. The neighborhood was developed on relatively high ground that boasts a cooler climate during the summer. Much of the architecture is American Colonial, Tudor style and an adaptation of Georgian style. Homes were built with brick in different colors and basic materials such as stone, wood and plaster.
Fillmore Elementary School, Gordon Junior High School, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and the Guy Mason Recreation Center serve the area. Burleith is home to the French Embassy and the Fillmore Arts Center. It lies next to Glover-Archibald Park with walking trails linking to the C&O Canal towpath and Rock Creek Park. The Glover Park/Burleith Farmer’s Market operates on Saturdays in the summer from 9AM – 1PM and offers fruits, vegetable and baked goods. The Burleith Citizen’s Association sponsors a winter gala and two neighborhood clean-ups. The western third of Burleith is a gated community called Hillandale.
Chevy Chase is a neighborhood of peaceful streets and charming homes in Tudor, Foursquare, Bungalow, Dutch Colonial and Colonial Revival styles. There are also many “Sears Catalog Homes” dating from the early twentieth century when it became popular to order materials and instructions from a catalog to build your own home. Chevy Chase, DC is adjacent to the affluent Chevy Chase, MD close in suburb. Several Metrobus lines serve the area, which is also close to the Van Ness – UDC, Tenleytown – AU and Friendship Heights Metrorail stations.
Connecticut Avenue is a major commercial road where small, generally locally owned businesses thrive alongside apartment buildings, a community center and a regional branch of the DC Public Library system. Chevy Chase is within the catchment areas for Lafayette Elementary, Ben W. Murch Elementary, Alice Deal Middle and Woodrow Wilson Senior High Schools. Residents can bike to Rock Creek Park and Lafayette Park and Livingston Park are within their boundary. The name Chevy Chase comes from a hunting area in Northern England’s Cheviot Hills. In 1725 Lord Baltimore granted Colonel Joseph Belt one thousand acres in Chevy Chase, DC/MD. Belt named his farm Chevy Chase. The area remained rural until 1886 when Senator Francis G. Newlands of Nevada and his partners acquired the farmland and founded the Chevy Chase Land Company in 1890. Development did not begin until a streetcar line, the Chevy Chase Line, linked the area to downtown in the early 1900’s. The neighborhood was officially established in 1907 and the first home was built in 1908. Although the bid to have Chevy Chase designated as historic was defeated, the Chevy Chase Historical Society still exists and offers an autumn house tour.
Cleveland Park is a historic district where many of the homes were built in the late nineteenth century. The bungalow/craftsman, Italianate and Queen Anne architectural styles predominate. The neighborhood acquired its name after President Grover Cleveland purchased a stone farmhouse in the area and remodeled it into a summer estate. Word got out that a person could escape the summer heat in this area’s breezy, upland topography and other houses were built for summer use with wide porches, large windows and over-hanging eaves. Property continued to be developed into the late twentieth century. As such, these single-family homes are all different sizes and styles with a smattering of Georgian Revival, Mission Revival, Prairie style and Tudor architecture thrown in. Turrets, towers, oriel and bay windows exist in harmony. The homes are set well back from the street and have generous natural surroundings. Cleveland Park is also known for its commercial offerings. It is home to the nationally recognized, historic, art deco Uptown Theater. As well as, one of the earliest strip malls, the Park and Shop, built in the 1930’s that still offers fine dining and shopping. The Cleveland Park metro stop is located along this corridor, as are a number of significant apartment houses. The Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library was constructed with funds raised by the Cleveland Park Citizen’s Association. Residents also enjoy the Cleveland Park Club that sponsors plays, songfests, dances, potluck suppers, and educational events, and provides a day camp and swimming pool.
The Foggy Bottom historic district is the site of one of the earliest settlements in Washington, DC. In 1763 Jacob Funk envisioned a port to meet vessels from Europe, subdivided 130 acres where the Potomac River met Rock Creek and called the area Hamburgh. Settlers were not attracted to the area until the 1850’s when industry such as breweries, glass plants and the city gas works moved in. It is believed that the concentration of industrial smoke mixed with the natural fog in this low elevation to create the atmosphere that lent the neighborhood its current name. Private residences are primarily flat fronted, two or three story row houses dating from the late 1870’s to the first decade of the twentieth century. There are also numerous mid-rise apartment buildings. The George Washington University is currently the largest property owner in the neighborhood. The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Watergate hotel are located here, as is the headquarters for the US Department of State. Foggy Bottom is within walking distance to the memorials on the National Mall. The Foggy Bottom – GWU Metrorail station serves the area. The Foggy Bottom Market is a fresh farm market offering vegetables, fruit, eggs, meat, cheese and bread, that operates on Wednesdays from 2:30 – 7PM, April – November, at the metro stop.
Columbia Heights is a historic district that was once a farmland estate called “Pleasant Plains” and considered part of Washington County, District of Columbia, a sort of suburb of the Federal City though still deemed part of the District. In 1822 the first building for Columbian College (today’s relocated George Washington University) was built in the neighborhood. In 1871 Congress extended the boundaries of Washington City and eliminated Washington County. In 1881 Senator John Sherman purchased the land and named it Columbia Heights after the college. In the early 1900’s the federal government built Meridian Hill Park with statues of Joan of Arc, Dante and James Buchanan. A notable resident in that day was Sinclair Lewis. Belmont mansion was also built at this time and symbolized the residents’ desire to maintain the neighborhood’s suburban feel. As Columbia Heights became more popular several large apartment buildings were built and in 1924 the Tivoli Theater was completed and remained a movie theater until 1976. Duke Ellington moved into the neighborhood in the 1930’s. During the 1968 riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., many homes and shops were ravaged in Columbia Heights and remained vacant for decades. In 1999 the Columbia Heights Metro station opened in the neighborhood and the city launched a revitalization effort around it, bringing back residents and economic development. Today, as one of DC’s most diverse neighborhoods, Columbia Heights is populated by some of the city’s most elegant early twentieth century row houses, condominiums, town houses, small local restaurants, community service agencies, a GIANT food store, the Tivoli Square commercial center, and the new DC USA commercial center that just opened in 2008. Target, Best Buy and Bed, Bath and Beyond are three big name retailers that moved into DC USA. The Tivoli Theater reopened in 2005 when the GALA Hispanic Theater moved in. The Dance Institute of Washington, the Greater Washington Urban League and the Ecuadoran embassy are neighbors here as well. The Columbia Heights Day Festival was begun in 2007 to create and celebrate the harmony between the various residents, businesses and social service groups in the neighborhood. Live bands play all day, dancers perform, children play games and go on rides and artists exhibit their wares. Another current initiative is the Columbia Heights Streetscape Plan that includes roadway reconstruction, waterline and drainage upgrades, new sidewalks, landscaping, street lighting, intersection and signal improvements, enhancements to traffic operations, pedestrian amenities and safety improvements.
Glover Park is a cozy, quiet neighborhood that contains apartment buildings and porch front row houses that were built in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The typical home was built in Tudor style or Federal style architecture with three bedrooms and one bathroom. One historic block named Hall Place was built in the early nineteenth century. Glover Park was named for Washingtonian Charles Carroll Glover, an influential late nineteenth and early twentieth century banker and philanthropist who is credited with creating the Rock Creek Park system and influencing Embassy Row and the National Zoo through generous land donations. Several embassies, including the Embassy of Russia, are located in Glover Park. Residents are able to access the Glover Park Market, a local convenience store, and the Glover Park Hardware store. Numerous restaurants and businesses along Wisconsin Avenue are also near. Guy Mason Park offers a softball diamond, playground and enclosed dog park and is the site of the Glover Park Day Festival held in early June. Victory Gardens is a community garden in the neighborhood. Benjamin Stoddert Elementary School is located in Glover Park.
Forest Hills is a quiet, residential neighborhood filled with quaint Tudors and Colonials, modest Cape Cods and some Art Deco homes and modern apartment buildings and the occasional embassy. Howard University Law School is located here, as is the nationally recognized Levine School of Music. Residents can walk to the well known Politics and Prose bookstore and café. A lesser-known neighborhood gem is the Hillwood Museum and Gardens, the former residence of Marjorie Post Merriweather, cereal heiress. Visitors enjoy twelve acres of gardens surrounding the mansion, as well as, perusing the ornate collections of international jewels, knickknacks and trinkets that have been preserved inside. Three public schools, Murch Elementary, Deal Junior High, and Woodrow Wilson Senior High serve the neighborhood. Two private schools, St. Paul’s Nursery School and Auguste Montessori School, are also located here. The Van Ness – UDC Metro station, serves Forest Hills
Kent is a neighborhood with a suburban feel and charming homes on secluded lots in the Classic Colonial and Georgian Colonial Revival styles of architecture. Residents can travel along Canal Road for easy access to downtown DC, Maryland and Virginia. Kent borders the shady, natural beauty of Battery Kemble Park, which offers fifty-seven acres of trails for bikers and runners. During the Civil War, this site was a two-gun battery used to defend the city.
Foxhall is a gorgeous, mostly residential neighborhood that is surrounded by trees and constructed primarily of brick Tudor style homes built in the mid 1920’s. An owner of the development company, Boss and Phelps, became fascinated with the Tudor style house on a trip to England and attempted to replicate a small European town in Washington, DC. There are large, single family homes and estates on generous lots with mature trees and shrubs. Halcyon House is a historic mansion built in 1787 by James Stoddert, the first US Secretary of the Navy, and was once owned by Mark Twain. Adjoining two and three story townhomes with lush gardens are also common along the manicured streets. Most houses have screened in back porches, fluted molding, leaded style windows, curved chimney pots, medallions, or stone globes on the pediments and stone crests affixed to brick facades. Some condominiums are available. There are few through streets so Foxhall is quieter than most subdivisions. Residents can walk to Georgetown for shopping and nightlife and Foxhall is three miles from Washington’s other business districts. The tranquil Potomac River is also nearby and the neighborhood is close to Glover-Archbold Park. The name Foxhall is derived from Henry Foxall, an early resident and friend of Thomas Jefferson who built a cannon factory in 1799 on what is now Glover-Archbold Park and had an estate called Spring Hill Farm.
LeDroit Park is a historic district that was originally planned as a subdivision of detached and semi-detached houses designed by architect James McGill and constructed mainly between 1873 and 1877. Fifty of the original sixty-four McGill houses still exist and are in the style of Italian villas and Gothic cottages. Amzi Barber, a member of the Board of Trustees for Howard University, led this 1870’s development and the area was named after his father-in-law, LeDroit Langdon. The remaining brick and frame row houses were constructed in the late 1880’s and 1890’s and are low-rise brick buildings with fine terra cotta and decorative brickwork. Rooflines are accented with turrets, towers, gables and iron cresting. The streets are landscaped with ornamental trees and hedges. The area was marketed as “romantic” and the streets were given the same names as the trees that shaded them. Current residents characterize their neighborhood as peaceful and serene with ambience and a friendly nature. They like to note the LeDroit Park Mural on Elm Street that is colorful and beautiful. Most of the neighborhood is not more than a ten minute walk to the Shaw – Howard University Metro station and a bus line also serves the area. Howard University is home here, as is the McMillan Reservoir. The Mary Church Terrell House is a National Historic Landmark. Duke Ellington lived in LeDroit Park during his childhood. Ralph Bunche, the first African-American to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, also lived here.
Historic Logan Circle is named in honor of John A. Logan, a Civil War general and US Senator whose equestrian monument was dedicated in 1901 in the federal park in the middle of the neighborhood traffic circle. The Logan Circle Community Association organizes summer jazz concerts in the Circle. The neighborhood appeared in Pierre L’Enfant’s original 1791 plans for the District as 13th Street Circle. It was called Iowa Circle until 1930. One of the historic homes belonged to the son of Ulysses S. Grant. Logan Circle is also the former home of Mary McLeod Bethune, the founder of the National Council of Negro Women. Her house is now a historic site managed by the National Park Service. The three and four story brick and stone row houses were built between 1874 and 1884 in an eclectic mix of architectural styles including Second Empire, Italianate, Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne, High Victorian, Gothic and New Orleans. There are some noteworthy porches and ironwork. A commercial corridor along 14th Street offers art galleries, live theater, trendy restaurants, a Whole Foods Market and bubbling nightlife. Some car repair shops and small dealerships are echoes from the late 1800 and early 1900’s when 14th Street was called “Automobile Row.” The area suffered after the 1960’s race riots but was revitalized in the 1990’s when construction began on loft apartment buildings and condominiums.
The Mount Pleasant neighborhood is a US Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1727, Charles Calvert, the fifth Lord Baltimore and then governor of Maryland Colony, awarded a land grant for the present day Mount Pleasant to James Holmead. In 1750, Anthony Holmead inherited the estate and named it Pleasant Plains. In 1791, when Congress created the District of Columbia, the Holmeads began selling their parcels. After the Civil War, Samuel P. Brown sold his portion under the name Mount Pleasant Village because his was the highest elevated land on the original Pleasant Plains estate. Holmead Place is a short street in the neighborhood that commemorates the early family. Early settlers laid streets in the neighborhood to accommodate local needs so many appear haphazard. In 1900 a streetcar line opened and many houses and apartment buildings were constructed from the turn of the century until 1925. Today, a few of the large, single family, nineteenth century wood frame houses still remain among a preponderance of Queen Anne style row houses that were developed at the end of the streetcar line. Other, larger apartment buildings were built in the 1930’s. A business district also developed at the end of the streetcar line and Mount Pleasant Street is still a commercial corridor in the neighborhood. Mount Pleasant Main Street is a community based nonprofit organization committed to promoting and enhancing the economic health of the Mount Pleasant commercial corridor. The Mount Pleasant Farmer’s Market operates on Saturdays from May to December. The Mount Pleasant Library was constructed in 1925 with funds from Andrew Carnegie. Actress Helen Hayes, Washington Senators’ pitcher Walter Johnson and US Senator Robert LaFollette lived in Mount Pleasant.
NORTH CLEVELAND PARK
This primarily residential neighborhood is part of the original tract of land purchased by President Grover Cleveland in the 1880’s to build his summer estate. Most of the single-family homes are built in Colonial style architecture. Some Tudor style and Spanish Revival style homes date from the 1920’s and 1930’s. The neighborhood row houses sport an eclectic mix of porch fronts. There are also a few condominiums and cooperatives available. Along the outer boundary of the neighborhood residents will find retail shops and services, corporate offices and restaurants, the more popular of which are Sushi Sushi and Cactus Cantina. North Cleveland Park is home to the Van Ness Campus of the University of the District of Columbia and is served by the Van Ness – UDC Metro station. The neighborhood is close to the National Zoo and the National Cathedral.
The Palisades neighborhood is comprised of a mixture of detached homes, townhouses and apartments. Some homes offer a view of the Potomac River and the Virginia riverfront. Francis Scott Key Elementary School is located within the Palisades, as is the Palisades Library. The area is adjacent Battery Kemble Park where the battery once held two, one hundred pound Parrott rifles used to defend the city during the Civil War. Since the 1850’s Fletcher’s Boat House has been known for superb fishing and recreation along the Potomac River and C&O Canal. The Fletcher family operated the concessions in the C&O Canal National Historical Park for one hundred forty five years until the National Park Service took over in 2004. The oldest building on the canal is the Abner Cloud House dating back to 1802. Some other notable landmarks in the Palisades include the old Conduit Road Schoolhouse, Palisades playground, The Lab School of Washington, the German Embassy, Sibley Hospital, and the Washington Aqueduct. The Arizona Avenue Railway Bridge, part of the Capitol Crescent Trail, crosses the C&O Canal in the Palisades. Throughout the neighborhood are remnants of the Capitol Transit Trolley #20 that rode through the Palisades to Glen Echo Amusement Park from 1898 to 1968. The MacArthur Theater was in use from 1946 to 1997 and is now occupied by CVS Pharmacy. Several great restaurants are located in the area including Listrani’s and the Kemble Park Tavern. Palisades’ residents enjoy a neighborhood parade on the Fourth of July that features local bands, fire engines and children riding decorated bicycles and tricycles.
Penn Quarter, or the “Old Downtown,” is a popular, mixed-use neighborhood including upscale apartment and condominium complexes, offices, theaters, museums, retail, hotels and restaurants. It is a historic district and the fronts of old Art Deco buildings have been preserved and restored. The General Post Office, designed in the 1840’s, is now the Hotel Monaco. The US Pension Bureau, established in the 1880’s to serve Union soldiers, houses the National Building Museum today. Daniel Webster lived and practiced law here. Abraham Lincoln died here in a boarding house across the street from Ford’s Theater. Walt Whitman nursed Civil War casualties in the Patent Office, where the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery are currently located. There is a long list of neighborhood attractions that includes the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Newseum, the Shakespeare Theater, and the National Theater, among others. The Verizon Center opened in 1997 and is home to the Washington Wizards NCAA basketball team and Washington Capitals NHL hockey team. Regal Cinemas and Barnes and Noble Booksellers have opened shop in the neighborhood. Pershing Park, Freedom Plaza and the Navy Memorial have been revitalized. The FreshFarm Penn Quarter farmer’s market operates on Thursday afternoons in the spring, summer and fall. Penn Quarter lies close to the National Mall. Several Metrorail stations serve the area including Archives – Navy Memorial, Metro Center, Judiciary Square, and Gallery Place – Chinatown. Metrobus runs through neighborhood, which is also connected to Georgetown, Union Station and the Mall by a specialized Circulator bus service.
Petworth is a beautiful, residential neighborhood that was developed in the 1920’s as a suburb of the Federal City. A housing shortage at that time sent construction into overdrive and Petworth was rapidly built up with long chains of row houses and apartment houses and stores along Georgia Avenue. The Petworth subdivision was recorded at the city surveyor’s office in 1889 and it is one of the few places outside the Old City where there are large traffic circles, as well as, diagonal streets crossing the standard grid plan drawn by Pierre L’Enfant. Sales and development were slow in the area for the first thirty years, which allowed the more affluent and influential residents to build large houses in Petworth. Abraham Lincoln built a cottage with thirty-four rooms in this area, where he worked on his emancipation strategies. It opened to the public in 2008 after renovation by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The historic Anderson Cottage was constructed between 1842 and 1843 as a home for George W. Riggs, who established Riggs National Bank in Washington, DC. In 1851 the cottage and farmlands were sold to the government and formed the foundation for the Armed Forces Retirement Home, known today as the US Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home. The 1911 Firehouse in the area currently houses Engine Company Number 24. With the twentieth century housing boom a plethora of restaurants and retailers moved in, as a did a Safeway grocery store. The Petworth Branch Library opened in January 1939 and was the sixth public library built in the District. Five elementary schools and three public charter schools serve this catchment area. Residents can play and stay fit at Emery Recreation Center, Petworth Recreation Center and Raymond Recreation Center. The Georgia Avenue – Petworth Metro station provides access to downtown.
Spring Valley is an affluent neighborhood comprised of large homes situated on tree-lined streets. The main campus of American University is also located here. Richard Nixon lived in Spring Valley before becoming President. As Vice President under John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson purchased a three-story mansion named Les Ormes in Spring Valley. Currently, the South Korean ambassador’s house is located in the neighborhood. During World War I Spring Valley was an undeveloped area where the army tested chemical weapons. During excavation for new construction workers found unexploded ordnance and scientists found high levels of arsenic in the soil. The Army Corps of Engineers performed testing and continues with clean-up efforts.
TAKOMA PARK, DC
Takoma Park in Washington DC is a diverse, historic district with many houses over one hundred years old. In 1883 Benjamin F. Gilbert developed one hundred acres of neglected farmland around the B&O Railroad and Takoma became the first “railroad suburb” of Washington City.The area’s abundant, healthful springs, good water and fresh air made the suburb a popular destination. One of the first lot purchasers suggested the name “Takoma” derived from a Native American word meaning “high up, near heaven” and “Park” to suggest the gardens in the neighborhood. Today, Takoma Park is better known as the piece of land that fell within the Maryland border and Takoma Park, DC is the proper name designated to the land within the District of Columbia.
In 1887 the Cady Lee Mansion was built and is designated among the District’s Inventory of Historic Sites and on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1911 the Takoma Park Library was built, in part as a gift from Andrew Carnegie, and remains the oldest public library branch in the District of Columbia. In 1924 the Takoma Theater was built and is being refurbished today by the Takoma Theater Conservancy.
Takoma Park DC today is rich in cultural diversity, and social and civic activism. Residents can walk along tree-lined streets past small businesses, restaurants, bars and parks. The Takoma Metro station serves the area as do several metro bus lines and the Takoma Park Recreation and Aquatic Center is the home pool for DC’s swim team.
Interested buyers can chose from small and moderately sized bungalows to stately homes, big, foursquare houses and art deco apartments. Some of the earlier homes are picturesque villas with wrap-around porches, towers, earth toned shingles, patterned siding, colored glass and richly carved interior wood work. During the first quarter of the twentieth century Arts and Crafts, Bungalow and Tudor Revival styles prevailed with pebbledash stucco, white painted clapboard and brick. Then the Classical and Colonial Revival styles came in with porches and balconies taking on a classical appearance with columns and balustrades.
U STREET CORRIDOR
The U Street Corridor is a Victorian era neighborhood developed from 1862-1900, the majority of which has been designated as historic. The brick row houses were built in response to the high demand for housing following the Civil War as well as the growth of the federal government in the late 19th century.
The neighborhood did not become commercially significant until a streetcar line began operation there in the early 20th century. In the 1920’s the U Street Corridor was the center of Washington’s music scene. During the heyday of jazz music, artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis played at Crystal Caverns, which operates today as Bohemian Caverns. The Lincoln Theater opened in 1921 and the Howard Theater opened in 1926.
The area became blighted after the 1968 riots following the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Revitalization did not occur until the 1990’s when luxury condominiums and apartments were constructed. Ben’s Chili Bowl has been a stalwart presence in the community since 1958. Meeps and Aunt Neensies is a vintage clothing store that has operated in the U Street Corridor for almost twenty years. Newcomers to the neighborhood include the Nevin Kelly and Project 4 art galleries. Bus Boys and Poets is a hip, relatively new bar/restaurant that offers weekly poetry slams. The Duke Ellington Mural is a proud tribute to the tradition of art and music in the U Street Corridor. The Anthony Bowen YMCA serves the area, as does the U Street – Cardozo/African – American Civil War Memorial Metro station
Van Ness is a predominantly commercial neighborhood with a smattering of condominium and apartment buildings. It is home to the University of the District of Columbia. The Van Ness – UDC Metro station serves this area.
Residents can walk to a variety of Indian, Italian and Chinese restaurants, as well as, Gold’s Gym. Rock Creek Park is only a bicycle ride away and provides reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Embassy of Austria is at home in the neighborhood, as is Van Ness Elementary School.
With buildings begun and completed between 1905 and 1929, Woodley Park, an historic district, is a lovely residential neighborhood of fine, early twentieth century row houses poised along serene, leafy streets. It is bordered by the National Zoo on the north. The neighborhood boasts some of the largest hotels in the city, the Omni Shoreham and the Marriott Wardman Park Hotels. Visitors may also opt to stay at the Woodley Park Guest House Bed and Breakfast Inn, the most popular Bed and Breakfast in the city.
Connecticut Avenue it Connecticut Avenue is the busy thoroughfare through the neighborhood and is lined with tall apartment buildings, friendly boutiques, coffee shops, sidewalk cafes, numerous international restaurants, and some chain establishments, such as, Baskin – Robbins, Chipotle, McDonald’s and CVS. Woodley Park is close to Rock Creek Park and is served by the Woodley Park/Zoo/Adams Morgan Metro stop.
ADAMS MORGAN, FOUR NEIGHBORHOODS IN ONE
Presidents William Taft, Warren G. Hardy, Herbert Hoover, and Franklin D. Roosevelt called Kalorama Triangle “home”during their service.Several of the condominium and cooperative buildings in Adams Morgan have been featured in the compilation, “Best Addresses,” as some of the most distinguished buildings in DC. They include the Ontario, the Stafford, both in Lanier Heights, 1661 Crescent Place in Reed Cook, The Wyoming and the Mendotta, the Netherlands, and the Biltmore in Kalorama Triangle to name just a few. Today, it is common to hear the voices of young children in Kalorama Park. Residents can visit the Textile Museum in Kalorama Heights.