DC Neighborhood Names From Back in the Day (From A Reader)

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After last week’s discussion and nearly unanimous opposition to the name Tivoli North for parts of 14th Street north of Monroe in Columbia Heights, a reader did some interesting research and found the cool map above.

The reader writes:

“I don’t advocate one way or another for what names people apply to the neighborhoods (though NoMa, Atlas District, and Hill East make me slightly queasy) but I thought it was interesting to see the historical names and dates of the subdivisions. The map is based on data in a study in the journal of the Historical Society of Washington in 2002.

Obviously there are some gaps, such as the neighborhood Red Derby is in. I assume that the areas not highlighted were subdivided after 1902, the end of the study’s time period.

There is no mention of several names we use today — Park View, 16th St. Heights, Crestwood, etc. Someone had questioned if Lanier Heights was real, and it is/was (see #97).

Petworth was one of the first subdivisions laid out in accordance with the street grid of the original city, in anticipation of regulations that would soon require such patterns. At that time it did not extend towards the corner of NH and Missouri Aves.

Brookland was laid out in several stages and surrounded other subdivisions such as Metropolis View (110) and Cuckold’s Delight (11).

The names Mt. Pleasant and Pleasant Plains were already in use before these subdivisions were laid out. They referred to quite a large area, from Rock Creek Park and Adams Mill in the west, Florida Ave. in the south, Spring Rd. and Rock Creek Church Road in the north, and Park Place and North Capitol Street in the east. I don’t know if there was a clearly defined border between them, but Mt. Pleasant seems to be to the west and south and Pleasant Plains to the north and east. So to say that Pleasant Plains is a part of Columbia Heights is actually reversed; Columbia Heights was created out of part of Pleasant Plains.”

Key to the map:

11. Cuckold’s Delight, 1/21/1890 (Jackson, Irving, Hamlin, Brentwood, 15th, 16th NE)

14. Beale’s Subdivision, 10/30/1901

17. Bellevue, 5/16/1888; part of Pleasant Plains

18. Bloomingdale, 6/17/1889

20. Brightwood Park, 8/27/1890 Continues after the jump.

21. Brookland, 9/5/1887

22. Addition to Brookland, 10/15/1895

23. Addition to Brookland, 9/5/1889

24. Sherwood’s Addition to Brookland, 4/27/1901

25. South Brookland, 5/16/1889

26. West Brookland, 8/24/1894

27. West Brookland Park, 7/6/1892

36. Mt. Pleasant (Chapin Brown’s), 9/20/1883

37. Chillum Castle Manor, 5/20/1891

39. Clermont, 3/2/1895; part of Pleasant Hills & Turkey Thicket

47. Columbia Heights 11/1/1881; “Part of Mt. Pleasant and Pleasant Plains, being north part of Stone Farm; hereafter to be known as Columbia Heights.”

48. Columbia Heights 3/27/1883; “Part of Mt. Pleasant and Pleasant Plains, being south part of Stone Farm; hereafter to be known as Columbia Heights.”

49. Columbian College Lands North, 3/11/1882

50. Columbian College Lands South, 12/1867

57. Denison & Leighton’s Subdivision, 4/1844, 6/30/1884; part of Mt. Pleasant and Pleasant Plains into Lots 44-117

58. C.W. Dobbins’s Addition, 7/7/1887; part of Prospect and Mt. Pleasant

62. Eckington, 5/28/1887

63. Center Eckington, 12/15/1891

64. West Eckington, 4/6/1891

66. Edgewood, 7/19/1890

73. S.J. Goss’s Subdivision of Part of Pleasant Plains, 7/20/1874

85. Holmead Manor, 10/8/1891; part of Pleasant Plains, Lamar’s Outlet, and Slippery Hill

86. Holmead’s Subdivision of Part of Pleasant Plains, 7/3/1883

87. Howard University, 4/10/1867; part of Mt. Pleasant

88. Ingleside, 8/20/1891; part of Mt. Pleasant and Pleasant Plains

89. Walbridge’s Subdivision of Ingleside, 8/30/1893

97. Lanier Heights, 11/21/1883; parts of Jackson Hill and Mt. Pleasant

99. Le Droit Park, 6/1/1873

100. Addition to Le Droit Park, 11/14/1891; parts of Mt. Pleasant and Port Royal

101. Addition to Le Droit Park, 10/20/1892

109. Hall & Evans’ Subdivision of Meridian Hill, 9/1867

110. Metropolis View, 4/1891

113. Moore & Barber’s Addition 3/18/1901; part of Bloomingdale

114. Moore & Barber’s Second Addition 12/17/1901; part of Bloomingdale

116. Mt. Pleasant, 10/1866; part of Pleasant Plains and Lamar’s Outlet

117. Part of Mt. Pleasant, 1868

118. Breed’s Place, 7/17/1888 (within #116)

119. Wright & Dole’s Division of the Widow’s Dower, 1/7/1867; part of Mt. Pleasant

122. North Brightwood, 7/2/1901

123. North Columbia Heights, 12/4/1901

130. Petworth, 1/16/1889

133. Estate of Jno. A. Purner, 12/1881; part of Pleasant Plains

138. Rosemount Park, 4/12/1884

139. Scheutzen Park, 4/29/1892; part of Pleasant Plains

149. Todd & Brown’s Subdivision of Part of Pleasant Plains and Mt. Pleasant, 1868

155. University Heights, 4/30/1890

156. University Park, 4/23/1884; part of Mt. Pleasant

160. Washington Heights, 12/5/1882

161. Washington Heights, 2/1/1888; part of Mt. Pleasant

164. White Croft, 8/12/1901

167. Whitney Close, 12/9/1886

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28 Comment

  • Cuckold’s Delight makes me laugh. And cry.

  • Vonstallin

    No full size or bigger picture?

  • Cuckold’s Delight? Really? Hahahahahaha.

  • Yeah, can you post a link to a larger version of the map?

  • I should have added: Please don’t take this as gospel. The boxes were recreated using only the street names listed in the study, and sometimes it was hard to discern where things started and ended. The boxes may or may not accurately reflect the borders as they were drawn up when the subdivisions were recorded.

  • Park View wouldn’t be on the map. It was organized after 1902, I believe. But, from a history of Park View written in 1921, the borders were well established and match the current bounderies. I think the only exception might be to the south. Currently, I think the official bounder is Harvard. However, a sign at Irving announces the start of Pleaseant Plains. In 1921, Gresham was listed as the souther border.

  • Can’t see a damn thing.

  • If you like looking at the historical stuff, two other items you may be interested in are:
    Photo of Petworth Rowhouses circa 1920s http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/thc.5a38942

    and Bird’s Eye Map of Brightwood from 1895. Make sure you click through image to zoom http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3852b.pm001111

  • Prince Of Petworth

    Just added the bigger image at the bottom of the post.

  • Residents of Holmead Manor unite!

    And I am disturbed to note that there really is a NoCoHi.

  • Cool, according to this I am in North Brightwood. Hadn’t heard that before, I’ll add it to my list which includes Brightwood, Manor Park, and City Zone 9 (or something cyborg sounding like that).

  • [email protected]:47, thanks for posting. I love seeing these old photos. So amazing to see all of the houses brand new…and not a tree in sight. Wow.

  • saf

    No, there is not really a NoCoHi. There is really a North Columbia Heights.

  • @saf, but this is a hundred years ago. In the new hipster era of Columbia Heights, text-message-friendly abbreviations rule. CONFORM OR BE CAST OUT!

  • Still can’t see much. Would love to be able to zoom in. According to this map I think I live in “Empty.”

  • For the history buffs — see more DC resources at http://memory.loc.gov/learn/features/states/dc/index.html

    Guess where I work???

  • According to this map, I’m somewhere southeast of these comments. Shit, I’d even take “Empty” just to make it on the damn NW-centric map.

  • saf

    Thanks Jamie, now I have Rush songs stuck in my head!

    Also, I admit, as I work with local history, 100 years ago seems like current to me – I look at this stuff all day.

  • I would like to propose some naming rules: 1) No neighborhood shall be named after another neighborhood, or after a landmark in another neighborhood. Slapping a North on something else is lame, unless we run out of words, which we haven’t. 2) You can’t have two “Heights”s next to each other. If there is no low, valley . . . or, gap, between them, they are part of the same Height. 3) Two blocks wide doesn’t deserve a separate name. What’s up with #123? Were they in time out? 4) Names shoud not be icky. Cuckold’s Delight is out, unless you sell porn and ice cream.

    The no-man’s land nestled in amongst Columbia Heights, Petworth, Crestwood, and 16th Street Heights, is becoming shaped by the development surrounding the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro . . . Ga. Ave.-Petworth . . . GaP . . . Mind the GaP. We are the GaP, we are the children, we are the one’s who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving . . .

  • awesome bit of journalism there, PoP! as a member of the historical society of washington, i feel like i need to do some digging in the archives and see if i can find something as interesting as this also…

  • I could totally get behind a porn-and-icecream district, if anything because there would be NO DOUBLEPARKING CHURCHIES ON SUNDAE!

    See what I did there? That’s a pun!

  • saf

    Ravi – our block is, according to my plat, in North Columbia Heights.

    I refuse to accept that, and call it Petworth, despite being a block too far west to actually be in Petworth.

  • I second the motion for porn and ice cream, please.

  • Nichole, granted this is kind of centered on Petworth, but not everything could fit on the map! Therefore the subdivisions to the west (AU Park, Burleith, etc) and those to the north and east (Takoma, Deanwood, etc), and those south of the Anacostia (Barry Farms, Congress Hts, etc) wouldn’t fit. What’s the general area of your neighborhood? Maybe I can find some data in the study. Keep in mind it doesn’t deal with any areas in the “Old City,” roughly south of Florida Ave/Benning.

  • @djdc The city taxman says I’m in Old City 1, but every definition of the area doesn’t extend nearly as far south as I am (on Constitution NE, at 10th). Some of my neighbors say we’re “Eastern Market,” (which I don’t really consider a neighborhood, per se) others are active with the “Hill East” folks, then there are the “Lincoln Park” folks and the “Near Northeast”ers. I just tend to avoid any level of specificity and claim my ‘hood as The Hill.

  • Oh, and thank you for this – despite not being on the map, Cuckhold’s Delight made my day!

  • Nichole, I’m pretty sure that area is not a part of the study, but I’ll check. The fact that you have at least 4 names for your area is indicative of how hard it is (and sometimes mainly pointless) to argue over what the “real” names of neighborhoods are. Some names come and go, some shift over time, and there is no one authoritative “keeper of the boundary book.” By the way, I know your area somewhat (have friends south of Lincoln Park who have been there for years) and it’s beautiful. As for the above names, I was drawn to Scheutzen Park, mainly because I had never ever heard that one before.

  • Saf, I know Petworth. The people of Petworth are friends of mine. Saf, you are no Petworthian.

    You could chuck a rock and hit the Ga. avenue-Petworth metro, and break the escalator. Oh wait, it’s already broken. Regardless, you are in the GaP.

    In Spanish it is called “El GaPo,” which roughly translated means nothing as far as I can tell.

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