“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Washington in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

A Spirit of Community

Top of the Town


—Tenleytown Heritage Trail —

A Spirit of Community Marker<p> image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, August 31, 2013
1. A Spirit of Community Marker

Inscription. Text On Main Face of Marker

Episcopalians first gathered here to worship in 1874, when St. Alban's Church, located on Wisconsin Avenue and Massachusetts, started a mission for the area. In good weather, services took place under a majestic oak tree on land donated by William Murdock. The tree eventually shaded a rough mission chapel, and then two successor churches. In 1904. when the mission received the name Saint Columba's, its parish house contained a stage and a circulating library serving more than 200 families.

St. Columba's became independent of St. Alban's in 1924, and two years later the current church was built. It showcases the work of Tenleytown Stone Masons Louis and Frank Pern and their sons.

In 1975, St. Columba's joined forces with nearby St. Ann's and Eldebrook churches to create Iona House, an experiment in comprehensive social services. Iona House operated from St. Columba's old clapboard rectory until 1990. Its successor, Iona Senior Services, then moved into a new building where Police Precinct No. 8 once stood, across 42nd Street.

When Bernard Janney School opened in 1925, it brought Tenleytown's first public library and community playground. Bob Bates, who attended in the 1950's, recalled how civic responsibility was part of Janney's curriculum. In fact, as part of a

A Spirit of Community Marker image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, August 31, 2013
2. A Spirit of Community Marker
Other side of marker.
lesson by "Officer Friendly," he and classmates were marched to Precinct No. 8 and locked up in its jail cell for a dramatic five minutes.

Caption of Top Photo

Janney School students mark George Washington's birthday, February 1955.

Caption of Photo on Lower Right

Principal Nell Hiscvox distributes forms to third graders in the newly desegregated Janney School, September, 1954.

Text on Reverse Side

Tenleytown's story begins with Native American footpaths that crossed at the highest natural elevation in what would become Washington, DC. European settlers broadened the paths into roads, and in the late 1700's the enterprising John Tennally opened a tavern at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and River Road. Soon a community known as Tennallytown surrounded the tavern. Until the early 1880's Tennallytown remained a village amid rural Washington County, where about a dozen tightly-knit and often inter-married families dominated daily life. Then modern transportation made Tenleytown easily accessible to downtown and pushed it into the 20th century.

Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail shows you where, during the Civil War, the Union Army created Fort Reno. See where a mostly African American grew up on - and eventually was erased from - the grounds of the old fort. Discover traces of

Saint Columba's Episcopal Church image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, April 26, 2011
3. Saint Columba's Episcopal Church
Tenleytown's rural past. Witness the neighborhood's important role in both world wars. And discover where legendary TV and radio personalities got their start.

Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail is an official Washington DC Walking Trail. The self-guided tour of 19 signs, just under 3 miles, offers about two hours of gentle exercise.

Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail, a free booklet capturing the trails highlights, is available in both English and Spanish language editions at local businesses and institutions along the way. To learn about other DC neighborhoods, please visit
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 12.)
Location. 38° 56.876′ N, 77° 4.925′ W. Marker is in Washington, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Albemarle Street near 42nd Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4201 Albemarle Street, Washington DC 20016, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. To the Rescue (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); In Touch with the World (approx. 0.2 miles away); On the Circle

Janney School image. Click for full size.
By Tom Fuchs, April 26, 2011
4. Janney School
(approx. 0.2 miles away); A Country Road (approx. ¼ mile away); The Civil War Defenses of Washington (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fort Reno (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Reno (approx. 0.3 miles away); For the Children (approx. 0.3 miles away).
Categories. Churches, Etc.Education
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page has been viewed 327 times since then and 64 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. This page was last revised on September 7, 2016.
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