Northwest Highlands

 

F.W.Huidekoper, Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1914

 

 

Frederic Wolters Huidekoper, a railroad baron from Pennsylvania, took up residence in Washington in 1883. Although his specialty was reorganizing bankrupt Southern railroads, Huidekoper also speculated in land; at one time his United Land Company of Florida owned a million and a half acres of that state.

“For many years Mr. Huidekoper had also been identified with the opening up and improvement of West Washington, and his efforts have been largely instrumental in securing assistance from Congress for the development of that section of the city.” (Evening Star, April 29, 1908)

Huidekoper owned a little under a hundred acres in the District of Columbia. Between 1886 and 1908 he subdivided these parcels, laying the groundwork for the eventual development of Burleith, and for the southern portion of Glover Park. The strip of land south of Glover Park, including the part of Huidekoper Place south of W Street, was Huidekoper’s subdivision called Northwest Highlands.

Northwest Highlands can be seen in the 1894 Hopkins map, marked “V.C. Huidekoper” (i.e. Virginia Christie Huidekoper). Some of the streets of the subdivision bear the names of family relatives: Christie Place, near 40th and V; and Shippen Place, from U to V, two blocks west of 40th. Vale Place was just south of V Street at 40th. And because Huidekoper’s son was a military historian, tiny Ulm Place, just north of U Street at 39th, honored Napoleon’s capture of that city.

 

In 1890 William Voigt––a German market gardener whose house stood opposite the cemetery on Tunlaw Road––put his farm on the market and moved to Tenleytown. “A large syndicate tract [i.e. Northwest Highlands], which is directly back of this lot, and to which it commands the means of access, must soon be developed.––Duncanson Bros., Auctioneers.” (Sunday Herald, October 26, 1890, p.2)

 

As it turns out, it was not to be developed all that soon, and in 1906 Huidekoper sold Northwest Highlands to another investor. “A.E. Randle has not purchased, as reported, the subdivided tract of Burleith from F.W. Huidekoper, which is sewered, watered, and largely graded, but Mr. Huidekoper has sold to Mr. Randle the thirty-two acre tract at the upper end of Thirty-seventh street, which Mr. Huidekoper purchased of the late Henry Kengla. It is understood that Mr. Randle plans extensive improvements.” (“Georgetown Realty Notes”, Washington Post, December 9, 1906, p.R8)

In 1906, Arthur Emmett Randle, the developer of Congress Heights and Randle Highlands, was given until November, 1909 to subdivide and sell lots in Northwest Highlands. Nothing appears to have come of it, and Huidekoper died in 1908. (DC Liber 3036 ff.300-304, recorded December 6, 1906; County Book 21, p.42, DC Surveyors Office; Evening Star, April 29, 1908)

“A great tidal wave of prosperity is now arriving––1907 was a year of panic; 1908 was the presidential year, which is always a season of depression; 1909 marked the discussion of tariff legislation, which held trade in restraint. But now the coast is clear and within the next twelve months the high water mark of national prosperity will be reached from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Canada to Mexico. And as the nation grows in 1910, so will its capital.” (“Washington’s Great Future.––Col. Arthur E. Randle Predicts Wonderful Growth.” Evening Star, September 2, 1909)

 

The subdivided lots that constituted Northwest Highlands––and the future Whitehaven Park––can be seen south of W Street. (Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Washington, 1916)

 

(Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Washington, 1919)

 

As Col. Randle had foreseen, there was a surge of development and construction in this area in 1910, but development of Northwest Highlands was not a part of it. In 1925 the bulk of this tract was bought by the government to accommodate the westward extension of a parkway that would end in Palisades, in the 1696 land patent named Whitehaven. Twelve acres, running from Tunlaw Road to 42nd Street, between U and W, were purchased from banker and real estate developer Clarence Forbes Norment (a man who rejoiced in the reputation of have shaken the hand of every president beginning with Abraham Lincoln!).

The land for the new parkway became the United States Reservation known as Whitehaven Park. The parkway project, shelved during the Depression, was dusted off in 1950, and incorporated into the master plan for the Washington Freeway. Sustained public opposition led to a 1970 injunction (upheld in 1972) that killed the Three Sisters Bridge across the Potomac (whose northern approach would in all likelihood have been Glover-Archbold Park and Whitehaven Parkway).

As a result, a long-forgotten subdivision is now a park, and Whitehaven Parkway is not a parkway.

 

(See also Origins of BurleithHillandale, and Street Names of Glover Park.)

 

 

___________________________________________________________

Carlton Fletcher

 The citation and acknowledgement of my research is greatly appreciated.

All rights reserved.

 

 Questions and corrections may be directed to

carlton@gloverparkhistory.com

 

The support of the Advisory Neighborhood Council (3B) is gratefully acknowledged.