Lace Up Your Gloves – Name my Neighborhood


“Dear PoPville,

I was wondering what neighborhood I live in… It may sound like a simple question, but given the fluid and disputed neighborhood borders of Washington, DC, I honestly don’t know. Real estate records, list our neighborhood as Columbia Heights. Most people agree with this. However, a fair amount of people refer to our area as Petworth too. Still others say we live in 16th St Heights. Old-timers have even said our area used to be Padsworth. I’m asking for input from PoPville readers as well as suggestions on how to find a definitive answer and research the name/history of our neighborhood. Any help would be much appreciated!

The area is question is bordered by Spring Rd NW on the south, 14th St NW on the west, Georgia Ave NW on the east and Upshur St NW on the north.”

Remember the Tivoli North fiasco? I always thought 14th Street Heights was a good solution but not many agree. Something we’ve been debating coming on 5 years now.


56 Comment

  • The Phantom Zone.

  • Xenia-ville

  • 16th st heights?

  • It’s generally considered 14th-16th St Heights. Columbia Heights stops at Spring, Petworth stops at Georgia. However, you generally won’t get faulted for calling it northern Columbia Heights.

  • I live here too! Sometimes I call it Columbia Heights Heights (like the heights of Co Heights). Also the Petshop.

  • A few years ago, the City Paper jokingly suggested: ‘Wetworth’ – for West Petworth….. Not sure if that’s going to stick.

  • You live in Petworth. Columbia Heights stops at Spring Rd heading down 14th St.

    • No question. I don’t understand the confusion about that area being something else, since it even includes the metro station within it.

      Going east of Georgia and West of 14th, those areas are not as precise, but that is definitely petworth.

    • My deed says Columbia Heights and I am in this hood, above Spring.

    • +1 I also live on Quincy and consider myself a Petworth resident. The row houses in this area are very much akin to those in the original Petworth development, and they have less in common architecturally with Columbia Heights proper. Also, I live very close to the Petworth metro. This is an after-the-fact rationale, though. It’s one reason I consider my block to be Petworth, but really I didn’t even think it was a question.

      And: I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 6 years and have never once heard anyone use the term “14th street heights.” I had no idea that that was A Thing.

      • Petworth. The houses are identically to all of the other Petworth rowhouses. If you ask any of the elder folks who’ve lived in the area for 50+ years, they’ll tell you it’s Petworth (without hesitation).

  • I live on Quincy and consider it still Columbia Heights. There is absolutely nothing in terms of the look and feel of the businesses, architecture, or demographics to suggest that the area around the Red Derby is not still Columbia Heights unless of course you are just looking at a map and see Spring Road and as easy border. No one on our block has ever said they live in 16th Street Heights much less Petworth. To me, the real question is what do you call the area north of Upsher between 16th and Georgia?

    • I grew up on this block. People only started calling it Columbia Heights post-gentrification. It’s always been Petworth

  • I’d call that 16th St Heights. Petworth should be east of Georgia Ave.

  • Depends on what you live in. If it’s a detached house, it’s 16th Street Heights. A rowhouse, it’s Petworth. An apartment building or condo that is newish, perhaps Columbia Heights. If it’s an old post-war brick building, you just live “Off Ga. Avenue”.

  • jim_ed

    Either 14th St Heights or 16th St Heights, depending on whether you think the former exists. You sure as hell don’t live in Petworth like the person who keeps editing Wikipedia says you do.

  • If you type Petworth into Google it includes the area in question, but I think 14th Street Heights works better. I’d call it whatever gets you a higher price on resale 🙂

  • binpetworth

    I live on the northern edge of this neighborhood and usually tell people Petworth, as my moniker suggests. Given that I am a block from Petworth library, north of Petworth metro, and close to the Upshur St corridor, I find it’s an easier point of orientation than 16th St heights or Columbia Heights, which suggest other areas.

  • Funny you say Padsworth. I’ve heard that before too, but don’t remember where.

  • Some historical perspective: “North Columbia Heights” was the name of a 1901 subdivision between Georgia Ave, 14th, Randolph, and Taylor, so there is a good historical basis for that name used there. Practically, I find the name “14th Street Heights” awkward because “16th Street Heights” is pretty well established, is it not? As recently as the 1990s I think that whole area was commonly known as Petworth. The 1889 Petworth subdivision, however, was east of Georgia Ave, north of Rock Creek Church Road, up to Hamilton Street. You have to go back to around the Civil War for the “Padworth” estate which evolved into “Petworth.” So let’s not go there.

  • According to Google and wherever they get their info from, that’s mostly Petworth:

  • djdc

    I didn’t know about the Padworth/Padsworth thing. That’s interesting.

  • To me that’s Petworth. I think it’s funny how some people like to break neighborhoods into smaller neighborhoods. If you need to be so specific, just tell people your address.

    • HaileUnlikely

      The boundaries of neighborhoods perceived as “hip” seem to grow as people living a block or two outside of the traditional boundaries start using it, and then people a block or two from them start using it, and so on. 15 years ago, when neither Columbia Heights nor Petworth was perceived as hip, and 14th Street Heights did not exist, this was unambiguously 16th Street Heights. Whatever hip name you want to latch onto, Columbia Heights tells people you live south of there, and Petworth tells people you live east of there. You live in 16th Street Heights. Just embrace it. (Note, I’m not an “I live in Petworth and you don’t” snob. I don’t live anywhere near there. I live in Takoma, but because I am extremely old, not a hippie, and 2 blocks from Shepherd Park, I am constantly tempted to say I live in Shepherd Park.)

  • I live there too! At some point we heard of a movement to call it NoCHe (for Northern Columbia Heights), which I found very glamorous and awesome, but it obviously never caught on.

  • But what about those of us who are bordered by Spring Rd NW on the south, *16th* St NW on the west, Georgia Ave NW on the east and Upshur St NW on the north? Man, my neighborhood is even more marginal than I thought. 😛
    For what it’s worth, I consider us to be 14th St Heights. I feel like 16th St. Heights doesn’t really start until you’re north of Emerson.
    But if you’re talking to the Washington Post, they don’t think 14th St. Heights starts until you hit Upshur going north. (http: //www . – making those of us north of Spring and south of Upshur between 14th and 16th even more neighborhoodless.

  • hammers

    It feels like Columbia Heights west of 13th and Petworth East on ’till Georgia. I wonder why I think that. What makes Petworth, Petworth? Surely there is more of an identity than just the geographic borders. Either way people from NoVa will ask you where you live then give you blank stares.

  • That area taken as a whole is tough for me to classify. I would say if you are closer to Spring and 14th, I would call it Columbia Heights (or North Columbia Heights if you must), but the opposite corner you mention (Upshur and GA) is clearly Petworth to me. I agree with the comment that the Red Derby is definitely more Columbia Heights than Petworth. I just don’t think Petworth goes to 14th, and certainly not that far south on 14th.

  • Columbia Heights is enormous as it is. There’s really no reason to extend it past the Ward 1 boundary. I’ve always thought Spring was a good place to stop. This area could be many things, but it probably shouldn’t be the same neighborhood that Meridian Hill Park is in. Personally, I think it’s 16th Street Heights since that’s a long-established place. But note that there’s a clock in Red Derby telling us what time it is in Petworth. Maybe that should be dispositive?

  • It’s Petworth. Indeed, Petworth has gathered enough cred in the last decade that i suspect the name will creep into Columbia Heights. The idea of 14th Street Heights is too wannabe-like—16th Street Heights has had its ups and downs, but basically, it’s the big houses on or near 16th Street. Old timers would think of most of it as the Gold Coast.

    There’s always creep–during the 90s, everything N of about Tilden except for the Van Ness complex often was called Chevy Chase. Now Forest Hills and even Wakefield have their identities back. The Washington Heights historic district in Adams Morgan has not caught on as a place name, in part because people prefer Kalorama Triangle (conveniently dropping the Triangle), whereas Lanier Heights seems to have re-emerged as a place name–it’s nicely descriptive: Adams Morgan N of Columbia and E of Adams Mill. Shaw tends to have amorphous boundaries and Logan seems to creep all the way up to T Street.

  • saf

    Welcome to my neighborhood.

    I call it Petworth, although the historic boundary is Georgia on the west. It’s a little far north for Columbia Heights. It’s probably part of 16th Street Heights.

  • If you want more money for your house, you’re in 16th Street Heights. But it looks like Petworth.

  • From the source:
    “The 16th Street Neighborhood Association includes any person residing, owning real estate, or employed in the NW section of the District of Columbia bound by 14th Street on the east to 16th Street on the west, and from Arkansas Avenue on the south to Decatur Street on the north.”

    Petworth’s main drag is Georgia Ave.

    You’re in North Columbia Heights.

  • Maybe the area you are describing gets different results is because it’s two different areas. The part between spring/quincy is in a different zip code than the rest.

    While zipcodes can sometimes be misleading, at least in general Petworth is in 20011 and CoHi is in 20010. They are also separate wards, w4 vs w1. The deed to your house doesn’t lie though, it’ll list the correct legal designation, regardless of what WMATA, locals, or google maps, or anyone else says

  • I live just west of here (on Arkansas as it approaches 16th street). FWIW I consider this part of 16th Street Heights, although I claim Northern Columbia Heights to people less familiar with the city.

    • Yes, but the 16th Street Heights Civic Association disagrees and sets the boundaries as east of 16th Street (except a few blocks west above Colorado), south of Missouri Avenue, west of Georgia Avenue, and north of Webster.

      According to the Washington Post and UrbanTurf, the D.C. government defines 16th Street Heights as between Georgia Avenue and 16th Street NW, south of Missouri Avenue and north of Arkansas Avenue.

      Coincidentally, UrbanTurf puts the pocket north of Spring but south of Arkansas as part of Petworth.

  • andy

    i call most of it “inbounds for Powell”

  • taking this into a diff direction: is it “Capital Hill” or “Capitol Hill”?

    • Capitol with an O, since it’s named for the Capitol building.

      Now figure out why Seattle has a Capitol Hill neighborhood, despite not having a state capitol there and despite Seattle not being the state capital.

  • I would say that this area is 16th street heights. Actually I’d say that the southernmost block, from Red Derby to spring road, was Columbia Heights, since I use Red Derby as my unofficial dividing line.

    It’s not 14th street heights; I’d say that stats at Arkansas Ave and goes up to about Emerson or so. That said almost no one else believes in 14th Street Heights so you can also just call the whole thing 16th street heights if you want.

    It’s not petworth; petworth is all east of Georgia Ave.

  • I Normally call it NOCOHIWEPESOSIHI – North Columbia Heights West Petworth South Sixteenth Street Heights. That seems to be the trend anyways #NOMA #COHI #SOMA or #insert any other acronym here.

    • Maybe North Fourteen or South Sixteenth?
      Or something completely different. Let the neighbors vote on a name.

  • It can be part of Petworth and still have a sub-name. I live on the part that borders the park by Piney Branch so I’ve been wanting it to be called Piney Branch. It needs to be distinguished from other parts of Petworth which is huge!

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