Brightwood in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Automobiling on The Avenue
Battleground to Community
— Brightwood Heritage Trail —
This busy section once was a "Country Road" to Washingtonians looking for peace and recreation. If you drove by here a century ago, you would have passed woods and large estates, and might even have seen fox hunters. Across Georgia was the private Villa Flora Club, with live music and fine dining amid "spacious lawn, rich with the perfume of roses." Among its attractive modern conveniences: telephone service and electric lighting. By 1907 the club's 1,000 members frequently made the society columns. The Villa Flora closed around 1915.
The Villa Flora rented meeting space to other organizations, and in 1906 leased property to the Automobile Club of Washington to build its club house. This Social club appealed to the city's earliest car owners, men of wealth and leisure who could afford the expensive "sport" of "automobiling." From here it was a short ride to the Brightwood Trotting Park, which briefly offered commercial auto races. In one 1903 event, the fastest cars traveled at 15miles per hour. When the Washington club affiliated with the American Automobile Association, members gained access to other AAA clubhouses for
Long after housing replaced the open fields, Beck’s Polar Bear frozen custard stand across Georgia, roughly where the Safeway parking lot is today, attracted folks from all over. The large plaster polar bears became a neighborhood landmark.
Erected by Cultural Heritage DC. (Marker Number 12.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles • Sports. In addition, it is included in the Brightwood Heritage Trail series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1907.
Location. 38° 58.142′ N, 77° 1.653′ W. Marker is in Brightwood in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of Georgia Avenue Northwest (U.S. 29) and Underwood Street Northwest, on the right when traveling south on Georgia Avenue Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1200 Underwood Street Southwest, Washington DC 20012, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Seventh Street Turnpike (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Battleground National CemeteryBattleground National Cemetery (about 600 feet away); Roll Call (about 600 feet away); The 25th New York Cavalry (about 700 feet away); 98th Pennsylvania Infantry (about 700 feet away); The 122nd New York Volunteer Infantry (about 700 feet away); Company K, 150th Ohio National Guard Infantry (about 700 feet away).
Also see . . .
1. The Automobile. The Washington Times, Oct. 4, 1908. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. (Submitted on April 6, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
2. Early Motoring in the District of Columbia. Photographs by Howard S. Fisk, Automotive Editor of The Washington Star, DCplates.net (Submitted on April 6, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
3. Brightwood Heritage Trail. (Submitted on April 6, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 6, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 880 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on April 6, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 2, 3. submitted on April 24, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 4, 5. submitted on April 6, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.