Thomas Plater, of Montgomery County, bought this land in 1806 from Walter Story Chandler, of Georgetown, for $1750; 35 acres, part of Pretty Prospects, being the part Chandler bought from Wm. Craik in 1805, along the main road and abutting Rock of Dumbarton, containing a spring. (DC Liber P15 (1806) f.52/31; Priscilla W. McNeil, “Pretty Prospects: The History of a Land Grant”, Washington History, Fall/Winter 2002)

Thomas Plater’s purchase was part of a bigger picture. Plater, who bought Greenwood, was the brother of John Rousby Plater  (who bought Mount Alban). He was also the brother of Uriah Forrest’s wife, Rebecca  (who resided at Rosedale).  And, he was the brother of Phillip Barton Key’s wife, Anne  (who lived at Woodley).

The house Plater built here is described as having stood in a forest of giant oaks, and appears on maps as having stood near the present-day intersection of Edmunds and 36th Streets, NW. Its driveway came out at the bend in Wisconsin Avenue, north of Calvert Street.


For Sale -Greenwood, my residence in DC; spacious dwelling house; 35 acres. -Thomas Plater  (Intelligencer, March 13, 1819)

To rent or sell, my beautiful country seat, Greenwood, my late residence, adjoining Georgetown, DC. -Thomas Plater (Intelligencer, Sept. 27, 1819)


In 1824, Conrad Schwarz, for $4200, mortgages land where Thomas Plater resided, now called Greenwood, part of Pretty Prospects, conveyed to Thomas Plater by W.S. Chandler, 35 acres, then gives Plater $5000. (DC Liber WB13 (1824-5) ff. 82/61, 87/64)

Thomas Plater had a lot in Old Presbyterian burial ground, but Ridgeley’s Historic Graves (pp. 249,251) says there was a family burial ground on Greenwood.


“Died: at his residence in Montgomery County, Col. Thomas Plater, age 66, for a long time until a few years past, a resident of this district. Funeral will take place at Greenwood, his former residence, now Mr. Schwartz’s, just above Georgetown, this afternoon.”  (National Intelligencer, May 3, 1830)


Plater died with large debts. Farmers and Mechanics Bank sued Evelina Plater, his widow, and other heirs, for $7000.  (National Intelligencer, Mar. 25, 1831)


[Suspects] were arrested for robbery committed in the dwelling house of Mr. Conrad Schwartz, in the neighborhood of Georgetown. Georgetown police officers T. B. Baker and A. K. Arnold were involved in the arrest.  (National Intelligencer, August 10, 1837)


Schwartz augmented the property. Not all transactions have been found, but they include: Barber to Conrad Schwartz, 5 dollars, for 4 acres (DC Liber WB96 (1842) 209/142); Conrad Schwartz from Caleb Bentley et ux of Montgomery County, 175 dollars for parts of Beatty and Hawkins Addition to Georgetown 261 and 262, on east side of High and Commerce” street, sold to Bentley in 1841 by John Cox, mayor, and Corporation of Georgetown (Dc Liber JAS12 (1846) f.6/5).

In 1855 assessment Schwarz has 84 acres, 1 horse and 1 cow, and a slave woman with six children.

Collectors sale of lots or parts of lots in Georgetown, D.C. for taxes due for the year 1860. Conrod Swartz,  valuation $400. (National Intelligencer, January 23, 1861)


Private Conrad Schwarz, District of Columbia Militia, War of 1812 (section 9; Photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)

The grave of Conrad Schwarz, Holy Rood Cemetery  (section 9; photograph courtesy of Randy Walsh)



In 1863, Dr. John M. Snyder, executor of Conrad Schwarz’s will, inherited the farm (National Intelligencer, January 24, 1863). He was only in possession for a half year before the farm proved fatal.

Mrs. Sophia C. Snyder gets a fence between her property and Georgetown Poorhouse. (Georgetown Courier, December 17, 1870)

An 1876 assessment shows Dr. Snyder’s heirs with 92 acres. This augmentation from the original 35 is hard to explain.

In 1866 Gen. Barton Stone Alexander, planner of the  defenses that protected Washington, rented at Greenwood. (Evening Star, November 24, 1866, p.3)

“The second tournament at Greenwood, Georgetown Heights, will come off tomorrow.” (Evening Star, October 6, 1879, p.4)

“A Grand Family Festival, for the benefit of the Young Catholics’ Friend Society will be given at Greenwood Park, Georgetown Heights, next Monday evening, and will be a very pleasant affair.” (Evening Star, July 15, 1881 p.4)

Real Estate Transfers.––County of Washington, tract of land known as “Lucky Discovery,” Sophia C. Snyder and others to William C. Hill;  [$42,500].  (National Republican, March 25, 1884, p.7)

In 1887 John Thompson, developer, had possession. It was now 89 acres, but that includes a parcel at the head of Normanstone branch that was once perhaps part of Barber land. Circa 1888-1898, Greenwood Dairy Farm was leased from Thompson, first by David Scheele (son of Andrew Frederick Scheele), then by David’s sister Ada and her husband William Cannon.

The house, apparently still standing in 1898, was demolished to make way for residential development.


Greenwood. (Baist’s Real Estate Atlas, 1903, Plate 18 [detail, with thanks to Ghosts of DC]).

Greenwood’s driveway began at the bend in Wisconsin Avenue at Calvert Street. The long rectangular house was in the intersection of 36th and Davis Street.   (Baist’s Real Estate Atlas, 1903, Plate 18 [detail, with thanks to Ghosts of DC]).


Carlton Fletcher

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