Tenleytown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
A Country Road
Top of the Town
—Tenleytown Heritage Trail —
By the late 1800s, huge linden trees shaded modest, one-room-wide houses here. Cows, mules, horses, and chickens roamed the surrounding fields. Most families were working class, but two generations of Tenleytown physicians, John and Sidney Chappell, lived among the storekeepers, stonemasons, and policemen. General Sidney Chappell, who served as the head of psychiatry for the U.S. Army, was a friendly man whose large, elegant house was run by a white-coated butler.
As one of the few roads through the farmlands, Grant Road attracted outsiders. Burrows family members still recount the regular visits to their part of Grant Road (behind you) by President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909). Roosevelt had a hunting lodge nearby and enjoyed riding through the woods. The president even treated little Edna Burrows of number 4426 to horseback rides.
In earlier days, Grant Road was the southern edge of the Civil War-era Fort Reno, and became part of the “military road” linking the city’s ring of forts. (Today’s Military Road takes a different route.) Perhaps
(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 Reno. See where a mostly African American community grew up on—and eventually was erased from—the grounds of the old fort. Discover traces of Tenleytown’s rural past. Witness the neighborhood’s important role in both world wars. And discover where legendary TV and radio personalities got their starts.
Top of the
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 Society, and the Tenleytown Heritage Trail Working Group. Special thanks to Working Group Chair Carolyn Long and Historian Carole Abrams Kolker, and Working Group Members Pat Morders Armbruster, Ed Ashe, Lynn Bergfalk, Cheryl Browning, L.S. "Bill" Chamberlain, Jr., Rev. Dr. Ronald Conner, Gerald Cooke, B.F. Cooling, Jennifer Harry Cullen,
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, Bill Reeves, Priscilla D. Ricker, Nelson Rimensnyder, Donna Burrows Rose, Kathryn S. Smith, Barbara D. Tate, Barry Tillman, Rebecca Trachtman, Emma Byrum Weaver, Hayden Wetzel, Jerry Wheat, and Bruce Yarnall.
Photo of Fort Reno Park water towers (1928) on each sign appears courtesy, The Washington Post.
Erected by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 2.)
Location. 38° 56.877′ N, 77° 4.626′ W. Marker is in Tenleytown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Nebraska Avenue, N.W. and Albemarle and 39th Streets, and Grant Road, on the right when traveling north on Nebraska Avenue, N.W.. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20016, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. On the Circle (approx. 0.2 miles away); Suburban Style (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fort Reno (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Civil War Defenses of Washington (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Reno (approx. 0.2 miles away); To the Rescue (approx. ¼ mile away); In Touch with the World (approx. ¼ mile away); a different marker also named Fort Reno (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tenleytown.
More about this marker. There are a number of photographs on the marker.
♦ Caption of large photograph above the text, “Dr. John W. Chappell, his family, and a neighbor pose in front of the house he built
♦ Upper left, portrait of Edna Burrows who “grew up on Grant Rd. and, as a child, rode with President Theodore Roosevelt.”
♦ There is photograph of the president on a horse to the right of the previous caption.
♦ Next photograph shows “Benjamin Pyles, gardner at Evalyn Walsh McLean’s ‘Friendship’ estate, posed in front of his home at 4561 Grant Road around 1925.”
♦ On the lower left is “Florence Burrows, seen in this 1918 portrait, worked for women’s suffrage.”
♦ To the right is a portrait of “poet Walt Whitman, who may have walked Grant Road during the Civil War.”
♦ On the lower right is a photograph captioned, “this 1938 view of the rear of 4561 Grant Rd. (house with porch) reveals a glimpse of the new Wilson High School. The household still relied on an outhouse, at the right of the porch.”
The large illustration on the reverse is “Lilly Spandorf’s watercolor of this block of Grant Road includes, near the lower right corner, the red gate to number 3525, whre Spandorf often stayed.”
Categories. • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 20, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 721 times since then and 48 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 20, 2011, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. submitted on May 5, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.