Weaver Hill

 

Much of what is now Glover Park lies within the northern extension of the former city of Georgetown. During the 19th century the neighborhood was dominated by the master butchers who supplied the markets of Georgetown and of Washington City with meat; over time, they also accumulated most of the land that was to become Glover Park.

One of the earliest settlers of what is now Glover Park was a butcher named Michael Weaver (1786-1872), who came to the neighborhood in about 1816, and raised a family in a small frame house on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue, opposite Holy Rood Cemetery. Weaver’s descendants prospered in the family trade, and built handsome houses on adjacent parcels of land along the east side of Wisconsin Avenue.

In 1875 Michael Weaver’s son Joseph bought Mount Hope, at 3308 R Street (later the home of Evalyn Walsh McLean). Joseph Weaver and Catherine Weaver also built a row of houses along the east side of Wisconsin Avenue, to be occupied by his children.

 

 

 

The Robert D. Weaver house, 2101 Wisconsin Avenue, June 25, 1950 (Wymer Collection, Historical Society of Washington)

 

 

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The Robert D. Weaver house, 2101 Wisconsin Avenue, circa 1960, when it was the residence of Mrs. J.H. Holland, Robert Weaver’s great-granddaughter.  (Emil A. Press Collection, Historical Society of Washington)

 

Robert D. Weaver was the oldest and most prominent son of Joseph Weaver. Robert Weaver worked in his father’s wholesale meat business for thirty years. In later years he was president of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank––whose building still graces the northeast corner of Wisconsin and M Street––and of the Metropolitan Railroad Company, a forerunner of Metro.

(Robert Weaver married Mary A. R. Yeabower––literally the girl next door––whose initials were M.A.R.Y. )

“Robert D. Weaver, president of the Georgetown Gas Light Co., and one of the city’s most widely known business and industrial leaders, died suddenly at his home, 2101 Wisconsin avenue northwest, yesterday shortly after noon.” “A member of one of Washington’s oldest families, Mr. Weaver died in the home where he was born. His ancestors have lived on the land since 1816 and have been among the best known residents of Georgetown for scores of years. His parents were both natives of Georgetown.” (“Robt. Weaver, Head of Utility, Dies Suddenly”, Washington Post, September 30, 1934, p.M1

 

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The Henry E. Weaver house, at 2029 Wisconsin Avenue, circa 1960.  (Emil A. Press Collection, Historical Society of Washington)

 

“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)

 

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2029 and 2019 Wisconsin Avenue (with Mount Tabor Methodist Protestant Church at right), as they appeared between 1888 and 1913.

 

 

 

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The Joseph R. Freeman house at 2019 Wisconsin Avenue, circa 1960. The Freeman house was the southernmost house of Weaver Row. The only frame house of Weaver Hill, it was built circa 1880 for Joseph Weaver’s son-in-law, and razed circa 1960.  (Emil A. Press Collection, Historical Society of Washington)

 

Freeman, an Englishman who came to America when he was fourteen, “had charge of the floral decorations of many events in Washington, including functions at the White House.” His widow, Mary E. (Weaver) Freeman, died in 1936.  (“Joseph R. Freeman Is Dead”Washington Post, August 23, 1911, p.14; “Mrs. Freeman Wills $340,000 to 3 Sons”Washington Post, May 23, 1936, p.5)

 

 

 

The Joseph R. Freeman house, 2019 Wisconsin Avenue.

 

 

Front Hall, Joseph R. Freeman house, 2019 Wisconsin Avenue.

 

Parlor, Joseph R. Freeman house, 2019 Wisconsin Avenue.

 

Dining Room, Joseph R. Freeman house, 2019 Wisconsin Avenue.

 

At 2133 Wisconsin Avenue, at the northern end of the row of Weaver houses, was the home of Theodore Barnes, Henry Weaver’s stepson. Together the Barnes and Weaver families were instrumental in the founding Saint Luke’s Methodist Church––which was originally at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and 35th Street––and for many years Theodore Barnes’s house served as the church parsonage.

“Theo. Barnes is building a fine frame dwelling opposite the residence of Henry Weaver, on Pole Hill.” Georgetown Courier, May 6, 1871)

 

In addition to the above, there was 2117 Wisconsin, which was home to William Michael Weaver, a bachelor who died in 1936. In 1941, Catherine L. Weaver, and Maurice E. Weaver, heirs of Robert D. Weaver, of 2101 Wisconsin Avenue, sued the unknown heirs of the Reverend Stephen B. Balch, and numerous others, to “obtain a final decree declaring complete in fee simple by adverse possession the title” of the heirs, and to “remove clouds caused by the record to the title of said plaintiffs”. The plaintiff claimed the abandonment of “so-called Wilberforce Street, and so much of Congo Lane as is involved in this suit as streets, alleys, highways or thoroughfares“. (“Legal Notices”, Washington Post, December 11, 1941, p.33)

 

 

The End of Weaver Hill

 

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(Evening Star, November 16, 1956, p.A23)

 

In 1956 an article in the Evening Star recounted that Michael Weaver had come to Georgetown from the Middletown Valley of Frederick County between the years 1814 and 1816; and that, seventy years later, some of Weaver’s grandchildren––specifically, three sons and a daughter of Joseph Weaver––built four houses along Wisconsin Avenue. As the Star article appeared the descendants of Michael Weaver were preparing to leave the area they had settled 140 years earlier, and to join the national migration to the suburbs.

While there are likely to have been other factors involved, the immediate cause for this departure was the projected construction of an east-west highway crossing Wisconsin Avenue at Whitehaven Parkway; the Freeman house, at 2019 Wisconsin Avenue was directly in the path of the planned highway. Indeed, all of the houses of Weaver Hill would have to make way for the imminent “encroachments of the modern day”; they would be demolished, and the residential zoning would become commercial..

The descendants of Michael Weaver did move away, but, as it turned out, the freeway never came; it was killed by a 1970 injunction––upheld in 1972––against construction of the Three Sisters Bridge across the Potomac (whose northern approaches would have been by way of Glover-Archbold Park and Whitehaven Parkway).

(Washington Present And Future: A General Summary Of The Comprehensive Plan For The National Capital And Its Environs, April, 1950: Charles Puffenbarger, “Sheltered Weaver Hill Still Clings to Fleeting Vestige of Victorian Age”, Evening Star, November 16, 1956, p.A23)

 

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(Evening Star, November 16, 1956, p.A23)

 

 

(See also Weaver and Barnes Family Notes)

 

 

________________________________________________________

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.