We had a fascinating talk on February 9th by Kim Williams of the DC Historic Preservation Office on her research on houses and outbuildings that remain from before the “suburban” development of Washington’s outer neighborhoods. If you missed the talk, or if you’d like to read more, you can download the 46-page study that resulted from Kim’s research at this link. We’ll post additional, updated information from the study soon.
Kit house expert Catarina Bannier gave a great talk to a very engaged audience who braved the storm to hear her on Tuesday night, June 23rd. Below are some links and the flyer Catarina provided, plus a few of the slides from her talk. Catarina is working on a book on kit houses in the DC area. If you have a kit house, or think you might, she’d love to hear from you! Click here to email Catarina.
We’ll have more information on kit houses and how to identify them in the fall issue of Voices. Meanwhile, check out the links below for extensive, reliable information on the history and identification of kit houses.
In the Cleveland Park Historic District, buildings built between 1880 and 1941 have the full protection of the District of Columbia’s historic preservation ordinance, the Historic Landmark and Historic District Protection Act (1978). Those built in 1942 or after do not. Thus a house built in 1941 “contributes” to the historic character of the neighborhood; a house built in 1942 or later does not and is “noncontributing.” How did this situation come about, and what does it mean for Cleveland Park’s architectural legacy and sense of history?
Here at CPHS, we’ve received quite a flurry of queries from neighbors recently about where Grover Cleveland’s house was. We’re not sure what prompted the sudden interest,* but it seemed like a good topic for a blog post.
When Cleveland Park was first developed around the turn of the 20th century, it was known as “Connecticut Avenue Highlands”. You can just make out a billboard advertising the new development in this photo. The billboard is near the current site of the Uptown Theater and the houses in the background are on Newark Street. It’s instructive to remember as you drive through Washington’s exurbs that a century ago Cleveland Park was one of those areas where rural land was being cleared for new subdivisions.
Note the multimodal transportation: a trolley car and a horse-drawn carriage, and cars, too, for the buyers the developers were really courting! Development of the area was made possible by the completion of the Connecticut Avenue bridge over Rock Creek Park, which allowed the extension of a trolley line from downtown to Chevy Chase.
Some background on the development of Connecticut Avenue Highlands is available in this 2005 Intowner article by Paul K. Williams (pdf). Thanks to CPHS member Laine Shakerdge for the copies of these wonderful pics. Do you have old pictures or stories to tell of Cleveland Park in days of yore? Drop us a line. We’d love to feature your stories here.