If only every day was like this, Washington DC would be a far better place to spend the summer. With temperatures in the eighties and no humidity, it was very pleasant returning to the streets of Petworth and Brightwood Park.
As we have noted in prior postings, the neighborhood is primarily made up of row houses with a sprinkling of single family homes and small apartment buildings. Here are some of our favorites.
Some of the homes had quirky flourishes.
Petworth sports some pretty traffic circles. Grant Circle is named for Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States and the commanding general of the Union Armies in the Civil War. The circle has a tragic history. In 1906, while excavating a sand pit at the circle, sand banks caved in around several workers. James Major, an African-American worker, was buried in the sand and killed.
On the edge of the circle is Petworth United Methodist Church. The octagonal shaped Tudor Gothic style church was completed in 1916 and is said to patterned after the style of the period of John Wesley, founder of Methodism.
Along the way we passed some classic cars.
For the kid whose finances don’t run to a pink cadillac, there is alway a red shopping cart.
This in one of the most attractive lending libraries we have come across, complete with rooftop garden.
On a rare DC summer day when it was actually bearable to be outdoors, we continued our exploration of Petworth and Brightwood Park. There were the usual assortment of row houses, including the now familiar grey ones that signify a recent renovation and the occasional individualist who splashes out with a vibrant color choice.
Some of the residents appeared to have an affinity for big (and not so big) cats.
This somewhat eccentric house with its bright green turret looked as if it would be at home in a children’s book.
There were a number of small, independent and quirky stores, bars and cafes along Upshur Street.
It’s sunflower season here in DC, which brightened up the streets as we passed.
This sunflower was absolutely massive, although you can’t tell from the photo. The flower head itself was over twelve inches across.
The classic car of the day is this two tone VW beetle.
An interesting way to store bikes, were these two locked and hanging half way up a stop sign.
16th and 14th Street Heights / Petworth (June 19, 2022)
There are a number of large stately homes in the 16th and 14th Street Heights neighborhoods.
But primarily the neighborhoods consist of terraced homes.
Running through the neighborhoods is the 14th street corridor, lined with restaurants, shops and a graffiti museum.
There are a number of small parks, including this one with its interesting installation by Jerome Meadows and David Driskell called “Together We Live, Together We Rise”
We were surprised to find a number of large elementary schools in the neighborhood. Yesterday we walked by John Lewis Elementary. Today we walked by Dorothy I. Height Elementary School, named after another Black civil rights activist. Height (1912-2010) is credited as the first leader in the civil rights movement to recognize inequality for women and African Americans as problems that should be considered as a whole.
It’s always good to color coordinate your clothes with your mode of transportation.
Petworth is a residential neighborhood with a mix of terraced houses, single family homes and small apartment blocks. It gets its name from the 205 acre Tayloe family estate that was located in the area. The estate was likely named after the town of Petworth in West Sussex, England.
We walked by Hampshire Gardens which has the distinction of being the first fully developed garden apartment complex in Washington. Occupying an entire block, it was built in 1929.
Today’s classic car was a Rolls Royce.
And the quirkiest was this bright red van.
We also like these two classics from different eras, the Cadillac which looked as if it had seen better days and the brand new Mercedes.
We have seen many renovated schools during our walks but this may be the first newly built school that we have come across. Named for the African American civil rights activist and politician, John Lewis, who died in 2020, it is also one of the most beautiful schools we have seen.
We noticed a number of homes in the neighborhood were being used as churches.
In the backyard of one of the homes was this rather interesting and somewhat scary sculpture.
Today, we explored Southwest DC with our friends Jon and Elissa who live in the neighborhood in the River Park development. Designed by renowned mid-century modern architect, Charles M. Goodman, in the 1960s, River Park was one of the first developments in Washington D.C. to be racially integrated. The units, with their barrel-shaped roofs and aluminum trim, are decidedly futuristic. Walking among them, we also felt they would be right at home in Copenhagen or Berlin or some other northern European city.
Right across the street from River Park are some of the District’s oldest residential buildings. Wheat Row is a row of four late Georgian style townhouses that were built in 1794-1795.
One of the joys of these walks is coming across surprising memorials. The Titanic Memorial, standing next to the Washington Channel, was erected by the Women’s Titanic Memorial Association and was unveiled in 1931. It was designed by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney and sculpted by John Horrigan. It is dedicated to the men who perished on the sinking ship so that the women and children on the ship could survive.
Decidedly more quirky, was this sculpture of a bird made out of discarded plastic bottles. It was sitting outside the Matthew Henson Earth Conservation Center. Henson was an African-American explorer who accompanied Robert Peary on seven voyages to the Arctic. He is best known for his participation in the 1908-1909 exhibition that claimed to have reached the geographic North Pole on April 6, 1909.
We walked down toward Buzzard Point where the Anacostia River meets the Potomac River. Much of the point is occupied by Fort Lesley J. McNair. The fort has been an army post for more than 200 years and is named for a general who was killed in action by friendly fire in Normandy, France, during World War II. Among its historic claims to fame is the fact that four of the conspirators accused of assassination Abraham Lincoln were hanged on the premises, including Mary Surratt, the first woman ever to be executed under federal orders. Today, the fort’s tenants include the National Defense University, the Inter-American Defense College, and the United States Army Center of Military History. The fort is surrounded by the long high brick wall and photos are forbidden.
For much of the twentieth century and into the twenty first, Buzzard Point was a light industrial area with construction, demolition and fuel companies dominating the waterfront. However, like much of Southwest, it is now undergoing a transformation. Audi Field, the home of DC United, the District’s professional soccer team, opened in 2018. We were actually at the first-ever match held at the field, which ended in a 3-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps before a sellout crowd of just over 20,000 spectators. Starring for DC United was Wayne Rooney, the iconic English player.
At the tip of Buzzard Point, overlooking the confluence of the two rivers, is a new development, which includes a great restaurant called where we enjoyed a very pleasant lunch. Aptly, its name is The Point D.C.
Not much more than a baseball’s throw or a soccer ball’s kick from Audi Field is Nationals Park, the home of the Washington Nationals, Washington D.C.s major league baseball team. The stadium, with a capacity of 41,339 opened for play in 2008.
The stadium has attracted a lot of development, with new buildings and restaurants and bars, springing up around it on an almost daily basis.
Also recently opened, is the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge with its elegant arches. It is a fitting memorial for Douglass, the African-American social reformer and abolitionist, whose home was just across the bridge in Anacostia.
Near Nationals Park we passed by this church offering a Nats Mass. The team could certainly use some help. They are currently one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball.
Washington is a city of back alleyways. This is one of the most attractive that we have come across, lined as it was with trees.
We started out our continued exploration of Brightwood Park by walking down the length of Kennedy Street, the main shopping street in the neighborhood. The street is undergoing massive renovations, with numerous old building being pulled down and replaced with tall narrow buildings.
Unfortunately, many seemed built with cheap materials, with the siding already warping. We doubted they would last as well as this beautiful old brick building
The neighborhood is clearly gentrifying. There is a trendy new pizza place called Anxo.
And a cool cafe called la coop. We can recommend the espressos and iced lattes.
However, there are still plenty of the older restaurants and fast food joints, including this colorful taqueria.
Strangely, there were four funeral homes, all within a couple of blocks from each other.
And a number of storefront churches with great names like United Holiness Deliverance Church of God, Inc. and Holy Mountain of God Church.
There were some colorful murals, some with inspirational messages.
The facade of the historic Kennedy Theater still remains. Opened in 1939, its first movie was Juarez starring Bette Davis. It closed as a movie theater in 1974. We are not sure what it is now.
The District has many charter schools, catering to different niches. The diversity of the schools was apparent in the two charter schools that we passed during our walk. The Roots Public Charter School serves students (pre-K to Grade 5) and has a strong African Centered learning environment.
While at Washington Latin the students (grades 5-12) study the language, literature, and history of the ancients. The school motto is the Latin Discite, Servaturi which translates to Learn, those who are about to serve.
There are a wide variety of residences in the neighborhood, everything from large mansion like homes, to shacks that look like they would be at home in rural West Virginia, to apartments, to row houses.
We liked this bright teal row house and imagined how cool it would be if the neighboring homes also painted their homes in vibrant colors.
One home in the neighborhood was of particular significance to us, because it is where Lauren’s mother Deana grew up. We drove her by her old home a couple of weeks ago and she reminisced about growing up in the neighborhood. Here she is, at 89 years old, standing outside her childhood home.
After more than two months of huddling inside, we finally got a warm enough day to resume discovering the streets of Washington D.C. We returned to Manor Park. It is a nice neighborhood consisting mainly of single family homes and row houses. Judging by the number of people walking strollers, it also appears to be a popular neighborhood for young families. Manor Park was also distinguishable by the number of houses that had metal shades over their windows. Here are some examples.
There were also some interesting triplexes.
Speaking of interesting homes, we passed under this paper wasp nest which was larger than of football. Fortunately, none of its inhabitants were out and about.
It has been a month since we last walked in the Manor Park and Takoma neighborhoods. Since that time the leaves have all fallen and the holiday decorations have reemerged from storage.
Apparently, Mickey had too much egg nog at last night’s holiday party.
These decorations weren’t holiday themed but still amused us.
We passed by Calvin Coolidge High School where Lauren’s Uncle Buzzy was a student. Back then it was a new school having been established in 1940. Named after the thirtieth president of the United States, it currently has around 560 students.
The Manor Park neighborhood consists of many semi-detached homes. Something that we had not seen previously were the homes lining one street that were all joined at the hip, so to speak.
Clearly, the neighborhood is undergoing gentrification with more and more homes being renovated and painted in various shades of grey.
The neighborhood also has its very own White House.
Finally, looking up we noticed that X marks the spot.
On an unseasonably warm day, with temperatures rising into the seventies, we started exploring Manor Park. The neighborhood consists mainly of rowhouses, detached and semi-detached homes. Many of the homes were built in the 1920s and a number appeared to have been recently renovated. As per usual, it was easy to spot the renovated homes because they were almost inevitably painted grey.
Of course, as with every rule, there is an exception.
Many of the streets were lined with gingko trees that have beautiful bright gold autumn foliage.
This classic VW fit nicely with the colors of the season. It didn’t look as if it would be going anywhere soon.
Speaking of colors, this house stood out from its neighbors for its daring paintwork.
Here are some other homes we enjoyed during the walk.
We passed by Paul Charter School. The school is named for Edward A. Paul, the first principal of Washington High School from 1877-1888. Tragically, he died in a traffic collision when his bicycle was run down from behind by a horse-drawn carriage. The school opened its doors as a public charter junior high school in 2000. It is the first and only D.C. public school to convert to a charter. Originally founded in 1930, it also happens be the school that Lauren’s mother, Deana, attended.
Manor Park also is home to the District’s closest approximation to the Eiffel Tower.