American University Park in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Set in Stone
Top of the Town
—Tenleytown Heritage Heritage Trail —
You are standing on the west side of Mt. Airy, a subdivision spanning Wisconsin Avenue laid out in the late 1890s. Mt. Airy evolved into a dense, working-class neighborhood, where policemen and dairymen lived in modest houses.
Among them were the Perna and Porto families which eventually gave Tenleytown five generations of building tradesmen. Stone mason Frank Perna arrived from Italy during the late 1880s to work on federal construction projects. Twenty years later brother Louis joined him. They formed Perna Brothers in Tenleytown, near both raw materials and the demand for new housing. Their sister Anna Maria married Benjamin Porto, also a stone mason. The Pernas and Portos, and their descendants, worked in stone and construction, building entire houses, as well as fireplaces, walls, and foundations.
You can see the families' handiwork straight ahead at 4619 and 4621 42nd Street and nearby on Chesapeake Street (4112-4118). They worked on the Washington Monument, St. Columba's Episcopal Church, and buildings at Glen Echo. The Portos constructed 4319 Ellicott Street, among other houses.
Although Washington's small Italian community centered downtown when Frank Perna arrived — close to building projects on Capitol Hill — shoemakers Giovanni Errigo and Tony Bredice and barber Frank
Around 1912 builder, former Marine Bandsman and second-generation Tenleytowner Frederick W. Parks built a double house for his family at 4115 Chesapeake Street, one block to your right. Three more generations enjoyed the sturdy frame structure until it was razed in 1962.
Erected 2010 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 10 of 19.)
Location. 38° 57.005′ N, 77° 4.926′ W. Marker is in American University Park, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 42nd Street Northwest and River Road NW on 42nd Street Northwest. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 4614 42nd Street NW, Washington DC 20016, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. In Touch with the World (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Spirit of Community (about 800 feet away); Early Inhabitants (approx. 0.2 miles away); Reno City (approx. 0.2 miles away); Early Commerce (approx. ¼ mile away); Reservoir/Reno City (approx. ¼ mile away); The Civil War Defenses of Washington (approx. ¼ mile away); Fort Reno (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in American University Park.
Categories. • Architecture • Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 5, 2018. This page originally submitted on January 1, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 54 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on January 1, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide view photo of the marker and the surrounding area in context. • • Can you help?