Notes on land purchases and subdivisions, construction and sales, 1870-1925. (Note that house numbers are those reported in contemporary sources, and may not correspond to the present numbering.)
“The elegant villa erected by B.F. Hunt on Bohrer’s Hill is nearly complete.”
“Benjamin F. Hunt has erected a fine residence on Pole Hill where he can doubtless keep cool this warm weather, as it is perhaps the highest ground of the District, and commands a fine panoramic view of the surrounding cities.”
(Georgetown Courier, July 30, 1870; May 6, 1871; November 23, 1872; plat of “Mount Alto”, surveyed June 17, 1867, for buyers B.F.Hunt and Joseph Weaver: DC Liber ECE17 (1867) f.46-8)
Joseph T. Kengla (1840-1927) built his house about 1870, on what is now Wisconsin Avenue, opposite and a little north of Observatory Lane.
2133 Wisconsin Avenue, Joseph Weaver’s half-brother built his house in 1871. “Theo. Barnes is building a fine frame dwelling opposite the residence of Henry Weaver, on Pole Hill.” Georgetown Courier, May 6, 1871)
Building permit No.1315, April 1884:
J.C. Schneider & Bro., for a house onWisconsin Avenue.
2029 Wisconsin Avenue: “Catherine Weaver and others have sold to Henry E. Weaver a residence on the east side of High street, West Washington, for $8,800.” (“Real Estate Sales”, Washington Post, November 4, 1885, p.8)
2117 Wisconsin Avenue (William M. Weaver), and 2019 Wisconsin Avenue (Joseph R. Freeman, Joseph Weaver’s son-in-law) may have been built at the same time.
F. W. 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, Hillandale and 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.
Burleith subdivided by Frederic W. Huidekoper.
Tunlaw Heights, an 1890 subdivision, was between Tunlaw Road and Garfield Street, from Wisconsin Avenue to 38th Street; but in the first two decades of the 20th century the name may have been more loosely used.
(Star, August 15, 1891; “A Catalog of Suburban Subdivisions of the District of Columbia, 1854-1902”, Washington History, Fall/Winter 2002)
In 1890, when 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, only its potential for residential development was worth mentioning. “Important Sale of Very Desirable and Rapidly Improving Property In Northwest Washington, Containing 128,000 Square Feet. We Will sell Wednesday, 29th instant, at 5 o’clock P.M., on the premises, Lot 287, Square 131, Beatty & Hawkins’s addition to Georgetown, embracing about 128,000 square feet, improved by a two-story frame building. This lot, which is one square west of the powerhouse of the Tennallytown Electric Road, and is admirably adapted for subdivision, has a frontage of 287 feet on Tunlaw road, which, in consequence of the occupation of Tenallytown road by the electric cars, is fast becoming the driving thoroughfare to the northwestern suburbs. This property is in the vicinity of the new Naval Observatory, and a short distance south of that attractive subdivision, Tunlaw Heights, where ground already commands high figures. A large syndicate tract [F.W. Huidekoper’s 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)
Approximate chain of title:
Conrad Schoerger (Sherier), 1840
Schoerger to Heider, 1865
Heider to William Voigt, 1865
William Voigt, 1893
Archer-Custard-Schneider Subdivision (1891)
Out ofBeatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown, lot 266
(Homiller property since 1829)
2429 Tunlaw Road, 1891 (or 1895), Square 1300, lot 552, Archer-Custard-Schneider Subdivision (1891), out ofBeatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown, lot 266; Homiller property since 1829.
Henry Weaver’s widow, Mary Ann Weaver, and daughter Mary E. Hall, with her son-in-law Philip T. Hall acting as attorney, subdivide Henry Weaver’s estate along west side of Wisconsin Avenue as Mary Ann Weaver’s Subdivision.
Henry Weaver’s Subdivision, out of Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown, lots 250-1, along east side of Wisconsin Avenue.
Philip Young’s Subdivision, on Wisconsin Avenue, out of Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown, lots 256-7.
Theo. Barnes’ Subdivision, on Wisconsin Avenue, north of Homiller’s Lane.
Martha Hunt’s Subdivision, on Wisconsin Avenue, the front of Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown lot 262, into lots 300-305.
Henry Weaver’s Heirs Subdivision of Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown lots 279-283, square 1299, on the south side of Madison Street (now Whitehaven Parkway), September 6, 1899, DC Archive, ED File 23910.
Building permit, to Mary Schneider, March 1899, #1160, on Wisconsin Avenue, on Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown lots 264-5.
Building permit, to Julia L. Barber and J. Homiller, on Wisconsin Avenue, in Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown, lot 265.
2560 Wisconsin Avenue, building permit to D.M. Hess, July 1902, #18, in Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown lot 266.
Philip T. Hall subdivides part of Mary Ann Weaver’s Subdivision, which became Philip and Mary Ann Hall’s Subdivision.
Construction permits for new houses on Wisconsin Avenue, above W Place, were issued to Philip T. Hall, for lots 311 to 314, on Philip and Mary Ann Hall’s Subdivision.
Philip T. Hall built his house on lot 307.
Building Permits to Julia L. Barber and J. Homiller, on Wisconsin Avenue, in Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown lot 265.
Building Permits on Wisconsin Avenue, in Beatty and Hawkins” Addition to Georgetown lot 266.
“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)
Building Permits to J.T. Kengla, June 1906, #3464, on Wisconsin Avenue, in Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown, part of lot 268.
The estate of Henry Kengla, who died in 1903, was 104 acres between Tunlaw and Foxhall Roads. “The acreage property in the extreme northwestern section of Georgetown belonging to the estate of the late Henry Kengla was sold at public auction on Thursday, the purchaser being Charles C. Glover, and the consideration nearly $60,000.” Approximately 84 acres were purchased by Glover, who was not in any hurry: “Mr. Glover, it is understood, made the purchase on speculation.”
(“Georgetown Land, $701.50 An Acre”, Washington Times, May 26, 1907, Sports-Real Estate, p.7)
Building permit to Louis Schneider, September 1907, #798, on Wisconsin Avenue, in Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown, lots 264-5.
Permit to Elie Fabre for frame dwelling on 37th Street extended, on part of Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown lot 266, adjoining Mr. Homiller’s home on the north.
Elie Fabre was a Canadian-born contractor who came to Washington in 1906. “Earthquake Sufferer to Build in Georgetown.––Elie Fabre of San Francisco, contractor and builder, suffered considerable damage during the earthquake at San Francisco, and has come to Washington to settle permanently.” (Washington Times, November 25, 1906)
In 1909 part of the Hall tract became Lewis Breuninger’s Subdivision. “An important deal, whereby Lewis E. Breuninger purchased from Philip T. Hall 300 feet frontage, extending from Tunlaw road, opposite Observatory Heights, to Wisconsin avenue, was consummated, the consideration being $40,000. Mr. Breuninger has had the property surveyed, with a view to building several houses in the fall.” (Washington Post, September 26, 1909, p.RC3)
Max Marowitz’s Subdivision––Seven and a half acres on the west side of Tunlaw Road––lots 293, 294, 295, and parts of 292 and 296, of Beatty & Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown––were purchased in 1909 by a Max Marowitz et ux, straw buyers for Ephraim Macht, the would-be developer of Observatory Heights.
“Marowitz Purchases Georgetown Lots: Buys Tract in Extreme Northwestern Section from Trustee.” Marowitz held the land for little more than two weeks: “Realty Transfers.––Thirty-Seventh Street extended: Max Marowitz to International Realty and Development Company.” (Washington Times, June 26, 1909, p.12; July 12, 1909, p.9)
Elie Fabre of 1416 35th street is erecting two handsome houses on the west side of Wisconsin avenue near 37th street. (Washington Times, March 7, 1909 p.8)
“Georgetown Deals.––Albert I. Potter has purchased of Elie Fabre one of the new frame dwellings on the west side of Wisconsin avenue adjoining the Homiller estate on the north. Mr. Potter will occupy the house. It contains eight rooms and a bath, the exterior being pebble-dashed. The price was $4,500.” (Washington Post, May 9, 1909, p.16)
2400 Tunlaw Road, built in 1909, but site and structural elements are considerably older, perhaps 1870. Max Marowitz’s Subdivision (Observatory Heights), square 1301, D/378, out of Henry Kengla’s Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown lot 295. Survey, Building Permit, issued to James S. English for frame house with brick footings; underneath the pebbledash is clapboard.
“James S. English has purchased the Kengla homestead on this tract, with two lots fronting 75 feet on Tunlaw road, and expects to commence this week to remodel the building. After extensive improvements are completed Mr. English will make this his home.” (Washington Post, September 26, 1909, p.RC3)
2400 Tunlaw Road: Edith Eyre Mulford, 1909-1939 (Lusk’s Assessment Directory). The house was owned by Mulford until 1939. The Eyre sisters had a shop on Wisconsin Avenue, and lived at 2204 Tunlaw until 1988.
Murrell’s Television (2140 Wisconsin Avenue) in 1989. The original houses in this row (2508-2516, corresponding to today’s 2130-2140?) came on the market in 1910. (“Remarkably Attractive Homes Opposite Naval Observatory Grounds”, Star, September 17, 1910; photo by Robert Stoesen)
Building Permit for 2438 (old number) Wisconsin Avenue.
Elie Fabre’s Subdivision of Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown lot 267, square 130.
Construction began on three houses (that were later re-numbered): “Elie Fabrie has begun the construction of three two-story brick dwellings, costing $2,500 each, in the new subdivision of the Naval Observatory Heights. The dwellings will be known as 2544 and 2548 Wisconsin avenue, and 2547 Thirty-seventh street.” (Washington Times, March 9, 1910, p.16)
Sale by Louisa S. Randall (Jacob H. Kengla’s daughter) to Elie Fabre, of part of lot 267 in Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown, between 37th Street and Tunlaw Road. (Washington Times, April 2, 1910)
Permits for 2405, 2407, 2409 37th Street in 1910.
Permits December, 1910, for five houses––3515-3517––on W Place, and Hall Place, east side,in Philip and Mary Ann Hall’s Subdivision
“Suburban Tract Sold to Glover––Banker Increases Holdings of Country Realty.––A further increase in the already immense holdings of President C.C. Glover, of the Riggs National Bank, is recorded in the transfer of a tract of more than twenty acres, bounded by Tunlaw road and Arizona avenue, directly south of Massachusetts avenue extended and west of Wisconsin avenue (Tennallytown road). The price paid by Mr. Glover for this extensive tract of valuable suburban land has not been expressed in the deed transferring it to him. The sale was made by J. Eakin Gadsby, for the estate of Henry Kengla.” (Washington Herald, May 4, 1911, p.12)
[2322 37th Street]
“Only One Left––This Beautiful Home––Price Only $5,500––This is the home you ought to buy to enjoy life and keep healthy. Detached 7-room house, No. 2538 Thirty-seventh street. Tiled bath, concrete cellar, attic, oak finish and flooring, gas and electric lights, stationary wash trays, slate roof. Substantially built. An ideal home in every respect. Lot 46×120 feet deep, running from street to street. One block from Naval Observatory entrance and cars. ––Small Cash Payment and Balance on Easy Terms––Open For Inspection––Get off cars at intersection of 37th St. and Wisconsin Ave. and walk one block south––Apply to Owner, E. Fabre, 2554 Wisconsin Ave. N.W.” (Washington Post, May 28, 1911, p.C3; Washington Times, June 24, 1911, p.14)
2326 37th Street, lot 339 Square 1301 (originally lot 267, square 130) of Elie Fabre’s Subdivision of Beatty and Hawkins’ Addition to Georgetown. The contractor was Ennis. (Later owned by Robert H. and Virginia Lee Mead)
(Washington Herald, October 28, 1911, p.3)
Houses at Wisconsin and W (2222-4 Wisconsin?) (Star, November 4, 1911)
E.L. Breuninger building on Observatory Place on both sides of street at corner in Hall Place (2209, 2248, 2523 to 2531 Hall Place?). “Building Active in Section of City Near Georgetown––Large Number of Houses Being Constructed in the Hall Tract”, Washington Times, September 23, 1911, p.8)
3507-3513, 3617-3623 Observatory Place (now Hall Place) (Star, September 16 and 23, 1911)
Herbert Morgan buys 3507 Observatory Place. (Star, November 23, 1911)
“Reports Sale of 147 Lots.––Many Homes Planned in Massachusetts Avenue Heights.––Thomas J. Fisher & Co., Inc., reports that a total of 147 lots have been sold in Massachusetts Avenue Heights since April 3, last. There are but 533 building sites in the entire subdivision. Among the recent purchasers were:
H. Harrison Ham, a lot having a 50-foot frontage on Fulton street, north of Massachusetts avenue.
Dr. James J. Richardson, three lots having a combined frontage on Massachusetts avenue and Thirtieth street of 304 feet. Plans are being drawn for a palatial residence to be erected on the east 100 feet of the avenue frontage.
C.R. Denmark, a lot at southeast corner of Wisconsin avenue and Davis street.
F.R. Wheater, a 50-foot lot on Davis street, between observatory circle and Thirty-sixth street.
Eli Fabre, the Georgetown builder, two lots on Wisconsin avenue, south of Davis street. Mr. Fabre will erect two houses at once.
Ella N. Ray, a 50-foot lot on Davis street, west of Observatory circle.”
(Washington Post, June 18, 1911, p.B2)
“Buys Fulton Street Lot.––Col. Henry C. Fisher, U.S.A., to Build in Massachusetts Avenue Heights.––The sale to Col. Henry C. Fisher, U.S.A., of a 50-foot lot in Fulton street, Massachusetts Avenue Heights, has been reported by William K. Ellis, realty operator. Col. Fisher will erect a residence on the property.“
(Washington Post, June 18, 1911, p.B2)
2310 and 2316 37th Street
“W place northwest, near Tunlaw road––Philip T. Hall et ux. to Lewis E. Breuninger, part of lots 270 and 275, square 1300, $10.” (Washington Times, March 16, 1912, p.4)
3515-3521 W Place
2529 Hall Place (old number), Lewis Breuninger, May 11, 1912
2200-2229 Hall Place
“George Pfrimmer, to erect two-story frame dwelling, 2471 Tunlaw road northwest; $2,000.” (Washington Herald, March 19, 1912, p.7) George Pfrimmer was a clerk at the Naval Observatory (1920 census).
2433, 2437 Tunlaw Road
Observatory Heights: W Street NW, between Thirty-seventh and Thirty-eighth streets – International Realty and Development Company to Lillian T. Conway, lots 312 and 313, square 1301, $10. April 2, 1912
2544 Wisconsin Avenue
2228- 2236, 2240, 2242 Hall Place
2520 Wisconsin Avenue (now 2320?) (Washington Times, October 31, 1914, p.3)
“Benton Street and Tunlaw Road––The International Realty and Development Company to Michael B. Inscoe, lots 342, 343, 344, square 1301.” (“Real Estate Transfers”, Washington Post, September 9, 1915, p.12)
2429 Tunlaw Road changes hands: Maria L. Plank to Teagle T. Trader. Trader died here in 1942. (“Real Estate Transfers”, Washington Herald, October 14, 1915, p.10; ” Teagle T. Trader Dies at Age of 78″, Washington Post, August 29, 1942, p.B9)
“North of Benton Street Northwest and West of Tunlaw Road––Michael B. Inscoe to Rose Inscoe, lot 342, square 1301.” (“Real Estate Transfers”, Washington Post, December 20, 1916, p.10)
Garage on Hall Place, DC Building Permit 3506, February 1916
The Observatory Apartments, at 2300 Wisconsin Avenue, was advertised by Walter James Pilling. The ground floor of this corner building featured space for lease to a drug store that would have “No Competition in This Neighborhood”. (“Well-known Washington Apartment Houses”, Washington Post, September 9, 1917, p.R2; September 16, 1917, pp. R3)
Building permits to C. Albert Johnson, builder, for 2447, 2449, 2456 Tunlaw Road.
“Frank H. Barrow bought the house at 2579 Tunlaw road from C. Albert Johnson for $7,500. C. Albert Johnson also sold the house at 2581 Tunlaw road to Miss Anna M. Charest for the same price. These sales complete the disposal of the row of houses erected on this street by Mr. Johnson.” (Washington Times, June 7, 1919, p.5)
Frank Barrow was a private secretary. Anna Charest was born in Wisconsin, of Canadian descent, a clerk in the Labor Department (1920 census).
2451 Tunlaw Road
2340-2 Wisconsin Avenue (Lusk)
When 3900 Tunlaw Road was put on the market in 1921, its unusual appearance was ascribed to its having been intended by the architect as his own home. “The grounds are consistent with the house––a 240-foot front, with shade trees and a very high quality of landscape gardening.” (Washington Post, November 13, 1921, p.51)
In 1922 “two families had bought and built homes at 3850 and 3900 Tunlaw road and were developing a joint sunken garden that is the delight of all passers-by. They are the families of Benedicta Regenstein and Dr. D.B. Moffett. The latter moved first, into a house that was already erected. Mrs. Regenstein, who already had started work on the garden, moved later, when her rambling home was completed.” (Christine Sadler, “Our Town”, Washington Post, October 31, 1939, p.17)
“M.R. Inscoe will erect two dwellings, 2532-34 Tunlaw Road N.W.; Walter case, contractor; estimated cost, $7,500.”(Manufacturers’ Record, Volume 82, July 13, 1922, p.89)
2411 37th Street? Abraham Shulman, immigrant from Russia, owned the Glover Park Market for twenty years before retiring in 1942 and moving to Florida. (“Abraham Shulman”, Washington Post, November 15, 1957, p.D2)
2401 Tunlaw Road, and 2328 37th Street, back-to-back craftsman bungalows. Probably the same as: “M.R. Inscoe will erect two dwellings, 2532-34 Tunlaw Road N.W.; Walter case, contractor; estimated cost, $7,500.”(Manufacturers’ Record, Volume 82, July 13, 1922, p.89)
2316-18 Tunlaw Road
2325 37th Street (originally 2525 37th Street). The first listing of the apartments––“Near Naval Observatory”––managed by N.L. Sansbury appears in 1923. (Washington Post, September 22, 1923, p.17; ”Apartment Sale By Middleton”, Washington Post, August 9, 1936, p.R6)
Dr. Elmer S. Newton, principal of Western High school, sold his former home at 2578 Thirty-seventh street to Hashime Murayama; house appears to have been built prior to September 1922 aerial photo. (“Boss & Phelps Reports $922,962 Sales of Realty”, Washington Post, September 13, 1925, p.33)
Walter Case was the owner and builder of The Benton, at 3711 Benton Street––originally numbered 3811––which began to be advertised in 1925. (Washington Post, March 1, 1925, p.R2)
3716 to 3728 W Street built by Cooley Brothers.
3715 Manor Place, Michael B. Inscoe, 1925.
A few months before the name Glover Park first appeared in print, and proximity to the park-like campus of the Naval Observatory was a selling-point: “Georgetown Heights, Near Naval Observatory, 3507 W Place, Attractive apartments.” (Evening Star, March 13, 1926, p.30)
An interactive map of every structure in the city, showing square and lot, year built, original owner, and other useful information, was made available by the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office in 2016.
The citation and acknowledgement of my research is greatly appreciated.
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The support of the Advisory Neighborhood Council (3B) is gratefully acknowledged.