The Kengla Estate


After the deaths of the butchers who had accumulated the most eligible land, their descendants began the process of subdivision. A key event was the 1907 auction sale of land accumulated by Henry Kengla. The greater part of Kengla’s estate (which extended from Tunlaw Road to Foxhall Road) was purchased as a speculation by banker Charles Carroll Glover.

Two years later, a small part of the Kengla estate on the west side of Tunlaw Road was purchased by Ephraim Macht, who preferred to see a more immediate return on his investment than Glover. But Macht was only selling undeveloped lots, and the name of his subdivision––Observatory Heights––was soon forgotten. Development of Glover Park awaited a more favorable moment, and the banker’s name was not applied to a residential development until 1926.





The future Glover Park: to the north, the older subdivisions, Wesley Heights and Tunlaw Heights; to the west, Ridge (now Foxhall) Road. Arizona Avenue is the road that was intended to run in the bed of Foundry Branch, in Glover-Archbold Park. The property marked “V.C.Huidekoper” is Northwest Highlands, now Whitehaven Park. The numbered “H.K.” properties along Back Street (Tunlaw Road) became Observatory Heights.



The 104-acre Kengla estate extended from Tunlaw Road to Foxhall Road. The greater part was purchased by banker Charles Carroll Glover, and not immediately developed. “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)

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 straw buyer. “Marowitz Purchases Georgetown Lots: Buys Tract in Extreme Northwestern Section from Trustee.” This buyer 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)

The International Realty and Development Company was Ephraim Macht, Baltimore’s “King of the Homebuilders”, who did not let intend to let the grass grow under his feet. Macht’s first move was to give the Max Marowitz subdivision a name that would capitalize on the prestige of the nearby Naval Observatory. “Old Kengla Estate Opened Tomorrow: “Observatory Heights” Is Name Given to New Subdivision.” “Observatory Heights, on the old Kengla estate, to be developed by Ephraim Macht.” (Washington Times, July 10, 1909, p.12; Washington Herald, July 11, 1909)


New Realty Company: Tract Near Naval Observatory Is Purchased.––Lots At Moderate Cost: International Realty and Development Company, With Offices in Colorado Building, To Place Property on Sale Tomorrow––Ephraim Macht, Baltimore Capitalist, Back of Enterprise.––“Mr. Macht has purchased a valuable and desirably located tract of land, known as the Kengla estate. This property is situated one block west of the United States Naval Observatory, within one block of the car line, and has sewer and water connections. This property is to be known in the future as Observatory Heights.” (Washington Post, July 11, 1909, p.CA8)


Meanwhile, Charles C. Glover continued to buy parts of the Kengla estate as they became available. “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)


(See also Observatory Heights and Glover Park As Advertised.)



Carlton Fletcher

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