Do You Consider Pleasant Plains Part of Columbia Heights or an Independent Neighborhood?


I know we’ve touched on this issue before and neighborhood identification can be contentious. But the Washington Post had a great article in the “Where We Live” section titled, The District’s Overlooked ‘Bull’s-Eye’. The article starts:

“District residents and community groups are working to get one Northwest neighborhood some recognition — because few people even know it exists.”

It lists the boundaries as:

“Park Road NW to the north, Florida Avenue NW to the south, Warder and Sixth streets NW to the east, and Sherman Avenue NW to the west. (The civic association extends the western boundary to 14th Street.)”

Now, I have friends and acquaintances who live within these boundaries and identify themselves as Columbia Heights residents and quite frankly I’ve gotten into some conversations with folks who are outright offended if you suggest they live in Pleasant Plains rather than Columbia Heights. I know there are tax boundaries, and city designated boundaries, and the like but I’m not interested in those designations. Rather I’m curious what neighborhood folks within those boundaries feel most connected to. I know for real estate purposes it may be tempting to insist that one lives in a more recognizable neighborhood name.

So how do you guys identify this neighborhood? Distinct and independent of Columbia Heights or rather a sub section of Columbia Heights?

45 Comment

  • We share nothing in common with those Target Shopping, Room 11 wine sipping yahoos to our west!

  • If you do a google search for Pleasant Plains Civic Association the first listing is an association for retarded citizens…that about sums it up perfectly!! It’s typical for a not-as-nice neighborhood to want to be associated with a nicer neighborhood. From what I have heard, Logan Circle used to be attached to Dupont Circle when it wasn’t as nice and as it transformed it became hip to say you lived in Logan Circle. Probably the same thing here.

  • I notice you didn’t include a “No opinion, but I’ll scream about it anyway.” Option.

    No opinion here. I’m barely north and west of the line (or just north but within the western boundary, depending on who’s defining it).

    By Anonymous’ logic, though, the PP folks feel they have achieved hipness. Good for them. Sah-lute.

  • My husband and I live within those boundaries and consider ourselves to be Pleasant Plains residents. When we bought our house, the neighborhood was listed as being a part of Columbia Heights. Since then we feel close to CH, but certainly Pleasant Plains has a different feel. I describe this neighborhood as being less busy and more “homey”. It certainly has not reached the level of nice-ness as CH, but we have some great people here and some very interesting neighborhood features. We need more development here, but we are close to everything – downtown, Washington Hospital Center, North Capitol Street (quick ride to Union Station), and I do quite a bit of my shopping in Brookland and some parts of Northeast. Also, we cannot wait for the new Howard Town Center. So, to sum it up, we love dining and shopping in CH, but living in Pleasant Plains has been, well — Pleasant!

  • It’s nice over here but I frankly would like a little MORE Room 11…perhaps more development on Georgia Ave? Georgia could make 14th Street look limp if it was done right. You can keep the ethnic and historical flavor whilst adding the upscale. Perhaps if Howard University would pay some attention it would be an amazing asset.

    Until the economy turns I can’t see that. Therefore, I say we remain part of Columbia Heights and suckle on it’s teet tell we can be weened. Once that happens, we’ll take over. We have to. It’s tougher over here so we are tougher.

  • I used to live here, and I referred to it as “”the neighborhood I can’t wait to move out of.”

  • Anon 9:51 – I think you have summed yourself up quite well.

  • it’s its own neighborhood, but defining it as going anywhere west of sherman ave. just isn’t operable.

  • “Where’d you get your car towed to? Is it still in the neighborhood?”

    “Neh, not really. It’s on Georgia.”

    “Guh.. alright.”

  • This reminds me of those people who live in Rockville and insist on calling it North Bethesda.

  • Does anybody actually CALL it Pleasant Plains who lives there?

    I have been coming to the conclusion that Pleasant Plains was a couple of words on a map rather than an actual neighborhood where people live in 2009.

    i don’t live there so i don’t know….

    But I would have added another poll option, PoP: “Pleasant Plains is not a neighborhood name in current use.”

    I wonder how many people would agree with that.

  • It’s hard to consider the eastern parts of that area part of Columbia Heights – though I just voted to say it was. I guess I have mixed opinions.

  • I live in Park View–actually, immediately across the street from Pleasant Plains–and have the same problem. I’m perfectly happy to say that I live in Park View to anyone to whom that will mean anything to. I like my neighborhood. But all too often, when I tell people who live elsewhere in the District or NoVa that I live in Park View I get a blank stare. I even know people who live in Columbia Heights who have never heard of it, never dared to venture east of 11th St. To people not from around here I say Columbia Heights. They’ve heard of that, know vaguely where it is, and have a mostly correct sense of where I live. I’m not trying to jump on the bandwagon. If I wanted to do that, I never would have moved here in the first place. I would have gotten a bland ‘luxury’ condo in Columbia Heights. I just get sick of having to get out a map and point to make people understand where my house is.

    I recently saw a real estate listing for a place close by describing it as ‘Columbia Heights East’. I laughed, but I guess if I was trying to sell my house I would probably do the same thing. To the degree that Pleasant Plains is Columbia Heights, I think it’s real estate agents who make it so.

  • Shepprofessor: Your last sentence sums it up accurately.

  • When i moved into my neighborhood 6 yrs ago, one of my friend’s (who grew up in DC 1960-80) father immediately said she lives in Pleasant Plains. I had never heard that until he said it. So Like the Prof said, it all depends on who is selling your house.

  • Pleasant Plains is to Columbia Heights as Ree-Cooke is to Adams-Morgan.

  • OK, I live in this area and we thought we were in Petworth, though our deed says we’re in Columbia Heights. I’ve never at all considered us to be part of Columbia Heights, which is blocks and blocks and blocks away. But like an earlier poster, I do wish we could get more development on Georgia Ave. south of the Metro.

  • I live in Monroe Park, but it’s definitely still part of Columbia Heights.

  • I just moved to this area. I thought it was Park View, at least according to this map:

    It most certainly is not Columbia Heights.

  • andy: yes, people who live there do call it pleasant plains.

    at a friend’s party on saturday evening, i met someone who just bought a house in the neighborhood, on gresham. he’s a lifelong washingtonian (except for college, from what i understand), and when he said he had bought a house, i asked what neighborhood, and he said “pleasant plains.” so yeah, people who know the city know it’s there, and that it’s not a figment of the imagination.

  • Awesome. Thanks.

    I know I’m an annoying gentrifier in many ways. I just don’t want to annoy people by using neighborhood names I’ve not heard others use. Once upon a time I lived in Glover Park and hated people who tried to call it “North Georgetown.”

    I now live in 16th Street Heights but thought it was Petworth before I started looking at houses there.

  • That’s my neighborhood, and I couldn’t give a hoot in Helsinki what y’all call it. Seems like the kind of quasi-intellectual circlejerk argument for broadband shut-ins with nothing else to think about until Tyra/Ophra/Boobah is on the tube.

    Seems like when I lived in DC before my little jaunt around the country (20+ years ago), we never used neighborhood terms (apart from the big ones, Adams Morgan etc). We oriented ourselves by street names. I was 14th & Monroe back then, not friggin’ “Columbia Heights.”

    Now I’m in a place that’s being called Park View, Columbia Heights, and Pleasant Plains interchangeably. Screw it. I’m calling it TOOTHPASTE MELVIN from now on. We’ll see what the next cab-driver thinks o’ THAT.

  • I live in the heart of the neighborhood (near Columbia Rd & East of Sherman). The problem is that the nieghborhood is too small to be viable!!!!

    It is generally recognized as East of Sherman Ave. And West of Georgia Ave. And from Euclind up to Park Rd.

    Anyone want to argue? Well, South of Harvard/Greshem you have Howard U to the east (just an Univeristy), and Parkview has a strangle hold on East of Georgia Ave. north of Columbia Road.

    I’ve never heard any of my neighbors talk about Pleasant Plains and it’s probably because it’s such a small sliver that it doesn’t make sense. Everyone I know (old and new residents) seem to identify with the good and bad of Columbia Heights. Being a 7 miute walk from the CH metro, I don’t really know what the problem is?

    So, anyone out there want to argue that it doesn’t make sense to just include this one block stretch in Columbia Heights?

  • Sorry for the overlly confrontational tone of my last post!

    It just seems to me that the natural boundaries of CH are 16th to Georgia Ave, and maybe Florida to about Spring. Me thinks that those in the more “gentrified” parts of CH just don’t want to identify with the more emerging eastern section of the neighborhood.

    The reason I think it’s important, is that the decsions made by governemnt, developers, and others regarding Columbia Heights effects me as much or more than folks that live other parts of the Columbia Heights neighborhood, but if we are not included we have little or no inputt.

  • As a resident of Park View, I do believe that Pleasant Plains is its own neighborhood. That said, in my opinion, the boundaries of the Pleasant Plains Civic Association includes portions of Park View and a lot of what I would consider Columbia Heights.

    Warder Street and Park Place are both ENTIRELY in Park View (there’s a reason they both start and stop at the same streets on the south and north … and its not an accident that the are both north and south streets that actually have names instead of numbers … think about it).

    Park View includes both sides of Georgia Ave between Columbia Road and New Hampshire Ave.

  • Yes and no. Pleasant Plains is distinct but possibly in the sense of being a subdivision of Columbia Heights – it’s where Howard and Columbia Heights overlap.

    On the other hand, living in Pleasant Plains, I find Sherman Avenue to be such a void that it serves as a border that vividly separates east from west.

  • I live in the Tivoli North neighborhood, or TivNo, as people are calling it. As far as I know, it’s been known as Tivoli North for decades. It is definitely not Columbia Heights.

  • J.D Hammond – right on with the subdisvion idea.

    I’d say that the differences bewteen 11th & Euclid in the South east and Otis Place & 14th in the northwest are stricking. Yet, they are both respresent diverse parts of the large Columbia Heights neighborhod. What ties them together is that we all use the same metro, can go to Giant or Target. Our ears prick up when the newsman starts to babble on about a shooting in CH.

    Likewise, the eastern section of Columbia Heights (let’s say from 11th street to Georgia Ave.) behaves the same way.

    Park View on the other hand seems to have a strong idenity that shares a lot with CH, but also has Georgia Ave. as it’s center of gravity.

  • Good God, no one gave a rat’s ass about what neighborhoods were called before this gentrifying crap started. It was NW, NE, SW and SE – period. Dupont, Georgetown, etc. were just passing references for dolts who didn’t know where the fountain was or the “old houses near the waterfront” were located. You said, “I live over by Howard” or “I live near U”. Anyone who referenced Shaw was talking about the junior high school. Upper 16th Street was never known as Crestwood, it was just 16th, the street leading to the White House! Jeez…

  • Jay’O I think what you said makes a lot of sense. What other neighborhood is 1 block by ~ 8 blocks? That’s just weird. Perhaps it makes sense to think of it as a sub-neighborhood, like Lanier Heights is Lanier Heights but it’s also part of Adams Morgan?

  • The issue of Georgia Ave. as a border is fascinating:

    What will happen to neighborhood identity if it gets “developed”?

    We have an example in U street. Some people from Shaw see it as theirs, while I normally think of Shaw as points south and East of U street. In the past Logan circle was just that – a traffic circle. Now it seems to be the way a lot of people (mainly new) refer to anything North of M street, West of 11th, and south of S street and east of 15th street.

    People also no refer to living in the “U street corridor” – East of 16th street, South of Florida, North of S Street and East of 7th/ Georgia ave.

    Both U street and Logan Circle identities seem driven not only by realtors, but also the commercial services available to residents. The labels let outsiders know what neighborhood resources are available. Georgetowns heart is U street, Dupont Circle is the circle and 17th street, Adams Morgan 18th street and Columbia Rd.

    Pleasant plains being a block wide and bordered by an underdeveloped commercial strip like Georgia Ave. gives residents nothing to identify with except the developement on 14th & 11th street. Who knows how this will change if Georgia is developed?

  • Truly a pointless debate unless you are trying to sell your home. If you are, call your neighborhood whatever you think will make it easier to sell your home. Otherwise, who cares?

  • MK – I think those that are new to the area are so interested because there friends are also new to the area and don’t know the local landmarks so well. Also, people identify with the biggest purchase of their life and want to impress others if they can…

  • VOR: sorry you find it pointless, I think BS about local geo-identiy is fun (and I’ve got some time on my hands)!

  • Okay, if it’s fun for you I guess it has a point, entertainment.

  • I also find this map from 1910 interesting (Sorry for the long link),Description),cat(Name,Description)&style=simple/view-dhtml.xsl

    It clearly shows Pleasant Plains and Columbia Heights. The neighborhood of Scheutzen Park became part of Park View when the neighborhood organized.

  • OK, that link didn’t seem to work.

    Go to:

    And scroll down to the 1910 map. They are in date order.

  • jay’O, I hear you but to us natives it can be so annoying particularly the entitled ones that want to impress.

  • MK – Yeah, I can understand that

  • mk: don’t you think that lumping all “natives” into one category is just as intellectually lazy as lumping together all of us who aren’t? i know a few friends who have grown up here who always refer to things by neighborhood name, and to the best of my knowledge always have.

    i understand and respect that you don’t see things that way, but i don’t think you can paint everyone with a board brush like that. to each their own, right?

  • Didn’t the article say that Pleasant Plains was the original name of an estate in the area and that the neighborhoods we know now were carved out of that? So wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that Columbia Heights is a part of Pleasant Plains, not the other way around?

  • Forgive me IMGoph, it is Monday and I am extremely cranky. I’ll be better tomorrow. By native, I meant one who was born here but how are you supposed to know that since you don’t know me. Yes, neighborhoods were referred to by name but never to the sometimes pretentious extent that they are now particularly be real estate agents.

  • I meant to say by real estate agents. My typing skills are going the way of my mood.

  • mk: no worries. i agree that the whole “selling” of a neighborhood by real estate agents is a pernicious sidebar to all of this. i remember seeing many references to a nebulous place called “dupont east” when i first moved here. of course, everyone calls the area logan circle now, so these names are in constant flux. if a neighborhood changes over time, that’s fine. it’s just when they get changed for no reason other than to make a few bucks that i get sore about it.

    that, and noma is an abomination. bring back swampoodle!

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