Map of the Week Vol. 14 – Palisades of the Potomac, scenery unsurpassed (1890)

click map to enlarge. Source: Library of Congress

Map of the Week is written by David A., a systems librarian and map geek living in Mt. Pleasant. David previously wrote about a James E. Clements’ map of Washington City from 1891.

This eye-catching 1890 poster advertised a brand new neighborhood just north of the Georgetown Reservoir in the Palisades, a section of the district that extends from west of Georgetown to the Maryland border. The Palisades grew along the the Washington and Great Falls Electric Railway, a streetcar line that ran from Georgetown to Cabin John.

The accompanying images are probably more interesting than the map in the center. MacArthur Boulevard runs over the Cabin John Bridge, which still stands today.


Continues after the jump.

Today’s MacArthur Boulevard was known as Conduit Road. Here’s a view of it unpaved.


Eggbeater magnates Edwin and Edward Balzsey began developing Glen Echo in 1889.


The Palisades developers boasted proximity to the Methodist National University.


Apparently it was a selling point that Stilson Hutchins, the founder of the Washington Post, had a summer residence in the Palisades.



7 Comment

  • Did that “Methodist National University” building ever actually exist? I had the impression that the Methodists led by Bishop John Fletcher Hurst started raising money for the university around 1890, but in 1891 they changed the name of the proposed university to American University, and they didn’t actually manage to open it until 1914. (Probably a lot of people don’t realize AU is officially a Methodist institution.)

  • andy

    But who was Cabin John?

  • AU was founded by the Methodists and in the early days was very affiliated with the Methodist church with several bishops on the BOT. My RA in college went to AU for free because her father was a Methodist minister. If you read the earlier issues of the university newspaper, it was actually a very religious school. Not sure when they moved away from that though.

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