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This site was created to bring together in one place historical information, genealogical notes, maps, photographs, oral history and reminiscences––primarily of Glover Park, and, to a lesser extent, of Burleith, Cathedral Heights, Wesley Heights, and Massachusetts Avenue Heights, which are contiguous neighborhoods of Washington, DC.

The expanded scope of this project reflects a time before the development of residential neighborhoods, when the only significant local boundary was that of the City of Georgetown––which, as it turns out, included much of what is now Glover Park.

Beyond that line, in Washington County, lay the various rural properties that would give rise to the neighborhoods we know today.

 

Georgetown and parts of Washington County, Topographical Map of the District of Columbia, surveyed in the years 1856-1859 by Albert Boschke, (detail).

Georgetown and parts of Washington County, Topographical Map of the District of Columbia, surveyed in the years 1856-1859 by Albert Boschke (detail).

 

 

The northern boundaries of the city of Georgetown, as confirmed by Congress––”An Act Amending the Charter of Georgetown,” March 3, 1809––are shown in red on a modern street map. (Prepared by Col. Robert B. Curtiss, of the Burleith Citizens Association in 1974.)

The northern boundaries of the city of Georgetown, as confirmed by Congress––”An Act Amending the Charter of Georgetown,” March 3, 1809––are shown in red on a modern street map. (Prepared by Col. Robert B. Curtiss, of the Burleith Citizens Association in 1974.)

 

 

The earliest settlers of what is now Glover Park––Peter Colter, a German immigrant, and Murray Barker, a free black man––appear in Georgetown tax assessments between 1808 and 1810. Colter and Barker raised families along what is now Wisconsin Avenue, and both supported themselves, in part, as truck gardeners, growing produce for the local market.

The earliest known photographs of what is now Glover Park were taken in the first year of the Civil War, when the Signal Corps was founded on the heights overlooking Georgetown.

 

The Signal Camp of Instruction, 1861. (Miller’s Photographic History of the Civil War , 1911)

The Signal Camp of Instruction, 1861. The photographer appears to have set up his camera north and west of the present intersection of Calvert Street and Tunlaw Road. In the distance beyond the encampment the landmarks include Trinity Church Upper Burial Ground, Back Street, and The Cedars––corresponding to the present Holy Rood Cemetery, Tunlaw Road, and Duke Ellington High School. (Miller’s Photographic History of the Civil War , 1911)

 

Looking south from Red Hill; there appear to be two sheep in the foreground. (Carlisle Military Institute)

“The Signal Camp of Instruction, Red Hill, Georgetown, D.C.”   The prominent house in the distance is Richard S. Cox’s “Burleith”, and to its right, farther away, Georgetown College. (Carlisle Military Institute)

 

 

These photographs documenting the military activity on the heights overlooking Georgetown also reveal the look of the land as it appeared in the 19th century, when the neighborhood was dominated by a syndicate of master butchers, suppliers of meat to the markets of Georgetown and of Washington City, who accumulated most of the land that was to become Glover Park.

 

Joseph T. Kengla and family, circa 1881 (detail). (Courtesy of a descendant.)

Joseph T. Kengla and family, circa 1881. Kengla, a dealer in beef, lamb, veal and mutton, lived at about 2320 Wisconsin Avenue, where the Sheffield Condominium is today.  (Courtesy of a descendant.)

 

 

After the Civil War, when local production of food for the city markets began to wane, Joseph Weaver, Jacob H. Kengla, and Benjamin F. Hunt, who were among the most prosperous of these butchers, took steps to enhance the residential potential of their real estate, incorporating a streetcar line between Georgetown and Tenleytown.

 

Conductor Terrance Sellers on the open platform of car No. 1 of the Georgetown & Tenallytown Street Railway. (Photo courtesy of Mike Copperthite)

The Georgetown & Tenallytown Street Railway, on what is now Wisconsin Avenue. (Photo courtesy of Mike Copperthite)

 

 

Much of the present neighborhood was acquired in 1911 by the banker Charles Carroll Glover from the estate of Henry Kengla, and the earliest advertisements to use the name Glover Park were placed in 1926.

 

Charles Carroll Glover (1846-1936),  President of Riggs Bank.

Charles Carroll Glover (1846-1936), President of Riggs Bank.

 

 

The most historic surviving institution in the neighborhood is Holy Rood Cemetery––formerly Trinity Church Upper Grave Yard––which dates to 1832.

The last resting place for seven thousand Catholics of Georgetown, it includes the best-documented slave burial ground in the District of Columbia, and the grave of Joseph Nevitt, a Minuteman of the American Revolution.

 

nevitt

 

 

 

Acknowledgements 

 

This website has been generously supported by District of Columbia Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3B. My thanks to Commissioners Brian Cohen and Mary C. Young, and to Danna McCormick, of DLM Web Development.

I have benefitted from the generosity of historians so often that I concluded that it had to be a defining characteristic of their calling. I am also indebted to the resourcefulness of countless reference librarians, and in particular, to those of the Washingtoniana Division of Martin Luther King Library.

This work is dedicated to the memory of Robert W. Lyle (1922-1996) of the Peabody Room of the Georgetown Branch Library, who first guided me to the records of the part of Georgetown that is now in Glover Park.

 

Carlton Fletcher