American University Park in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Winning the War
Top of the Town
—Tenleytown Heritage Trail —
Most WAVES at this site operated cryptoanalytic equipment designed to break German and Japanese communications codes. Discussing the top-secret work with outsiders was considered an act of treason, so WAVE Elizabeth Butler could only write her family that her work was “very secret, one of the most in the Navy.” Jennifer Wilcox later said that “Breaking the Japanese code was our finest hour.”
Meanwhile the displaced Mount Vernon Seminary held classes nearby at Garfinckel’s department store on Massachusetts Avenue, and students boarded with local families. After the war ended, the Navy retained the facility, so Mount Vernon Seminary moved to Foxhall Road. In 1999 it became a campus of George Washington
Before the seminary arrived, this was Grassland, Nathan Loughborough’s 250-acre estate. In 1820 Loughborough, then comptroller of the U.S. Treasury, brought a lawsuit arguing “no taxation without representation.” Like most of his neighbors of means, Loughborough owned slaves. Thus it is ironic that in 1946, Georgetown Day School, the first consciously integrated private school in Washington, rented Grassland for its second location. The Grassland house was razed for NBC’s studios in 1956.”
(Marker reverse, same on all markers in this series)
Tenelytown’s story begins with Native American footpaths that crossed at the highest natural elevation in what became Washington, DC. European settlers broadened the paths into roads, and in the late 1700s the enterprising John Tennally opened a tavern at the intersection of today’s Wisconsin Avenue and River Road. Soon a community known as Tennallytown surrounded the tavern. Until the early 1880s 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
Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail. The self-guided tour of 19 signs, just under three miles, offers about two hours of gentle exercise.
Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail, a free booklet capturing the trail’s 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 www.CulturalTourismDC.org.
Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail is produced by Linda Donavan Harper, Alisha Bell, Laura Brower, Mara Cherkasky, Sarah Fairbrother, Helen Gineris, Elizabeth Goldberg, Carmen Harris, Pamela Jafari, Jane Freundel Levey, Akilah Luke, Yillah Rosenfeld, Leon Seemann, Frank Stewart, and Pat Wheeler of Cultural Tourism DC in collaboration with the District Department of Transportation, the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Tenleytown Neighbors Association, the Tenleytown Historical
Thank you also to ANCs 3E and 3F, Jim Anderson, Jean Bathurst, Brian Bowers, Yvonne Carignan, Jane Charter, Dustin Davis, John and Linda Derrick, James Embrey, Kathleen Franz, Pamela Gardner, Matt Glassman, Nicole Goldman, Mark Greek, Ashley Hair, Jeannette Harper, Ron Harvey, Faye Haskins, Mary Herbert, Judith Helm, Bill Jarrett, Joel Kemelhor, Maryanne Ball Kendall, Brian Kraft, Susan and Greg Lewis, Camille Martone, Lisa McCarty, Susan McElrath, Alison McWilliams, Eda Offutt, Elvi Moore, Anne Manoukian Page, Eddy Palanzo, Lewis Parker, Khalim Piankhi, Brian Porto,
Photo of Fort Reno Park water towers (1928) on each sign appears courtesy, The Washington Post.
(Marker shows a copyright dated 2010.) Design by Karol A. Keane Design, Map by Bowring Cartographic.
Erected 2010 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 16.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tenleytown Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 56.452′ N, 77° 5.01′ W. Marker is in American University Park, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is on Nebraska Avenue Northwest south of Van Ness Street Northwest, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3900 Nebraska Ave Northwest, Washington DC 20016, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Live on Our Stage! (within shouting distance of this marker); Church of the Covenant World War I Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); The National Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Society of Colonial Wars World War I Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); The National Presbyterian Church World War II Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); For the Children (approx. 0.2 miles away); American University (approx. 0.2 miles away); General Artemas Ward Monument (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in American University Park.
More about this marker. There are a number of photographs on the marker. Counterclockwise starting top left, captions read:
♦ WAVES wait to cross Nebraska Avenue in front of their temporary barracks on Mount Vernon Seminary’s campus, 1945. ♦ At left is the small projector on whose screen they studied messages and broke the Japanese code.
♦ Mount Vernon Seminary on the day the Navy announced it would move in, 1942. ♦ Some years earlier, left, students performed lab experiments.
♦ One of Georgetown Day School’s first teachers, Tony Inglis, posed with wife Claire in front of the school shortly ater it opened here.
♦ The emancipation certificate, left, applied to those enslaved at Grassland when President Lincoln ended slavery in the District in 1862.
♦ The elegant Grassland, top, home of ♦ Nathan Loughborough, right.
♦ The caption on the large photograph on the reverse (common) face of the marker reads, “Mount Vernon Seminary students enjoy a piano recital in the late 1930s.”
Categories. • Antebellum South, US • Education • War, World II •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 17, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 2, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 993 times since then and 21 times this year. Last updated on March 8, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 2, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. 4. submitted on October 4, 2011, by Tom Fuchs of Greenbelt, Maryland. 5. submitted on December 2, 2013, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.