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

Automobiling on The Avenue

Battleground to Community

 

—Brightwood Heritage Trail —

 
Automobiling on The Avenue Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
1. Automobiling on The Avenue Marker
Inscription. 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 dining and sleeping accommodations long before motels and fast food restaurants lined America’s highways. By the 1920s, falling prices for automobiles greatly increased the number of drivers and took most
Automobiling on The Avenue Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
2. Automobiling on The Avenue Marker
of the sport out of automobiling.

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.)
 
Location. 38° 58.143′ N, 77° 1.653′ W. Marker is in Brightwood, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Underwood Street, on the right when traveling south on Georgia Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20012, United States of America.
 
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 Cemetery (about 600 feet away); a different marker also named Battleground 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). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brightwood.
 
Related markers.
Dust image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
3. Dust
An automobilist kicks up dust on the avenue. The fence carries an early form of roadside advertising for D. J. Kaufman's men's store on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Close-up of photo on marker
National Archives
Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Follow The Brightwood Heritage Trail.
 
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.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceRoads & VehiclesSports
 
Villa Flora image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
4. Villa Flora
The Villa Flora Club once beckoned from across Georgia (then Brightwood) Avenue.
Close-up of photo on marker
Washington Post
The Automobile Club of Washington image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
5. The Automobile Club of Washington
The Automobile Club of Washington Clubhouse, 1912.
Close-up of photo on marker
Washington Post
The Automobile image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
6. The Automobile
A 1908 Washington Times touts the new sport of automobiling.
Close-up of photo on marker
Library of Congress
Hunt Club image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
7. Hunt Club
Members of the Brightwood Hunt Club ready the hounds, 1924. (Lewis Bolden, Master of Hounds)
Close-up of photo on marker
Library of Congress
Becks Polar Bear frozen custard stand, <br>a neighborhood landmark from 1938 to 1973. image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
8. Becks Polar Bear frozen custard stand,
a neighborhood landmark from 1938 to 1973.
Close-up of photo on reverse of marker
Villa Flora Club<br>The Most Beautiful Spot Near Washington image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
9. Villa Flora Club
The Most Beautiful Spot Near Washington
This advertisement appeared in the Washington Times, May 29, 1902. The Villa Flora Club was founded by German immigrant Lewis Otte who also founded the Buffalo Hotel Cafe on Patrick Street in Frederick.
Safeway image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 18, 2013
10. Safeway
Across Georgia Avenue from the marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 21, 2016. This page originally submitted on April 6, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 671 times since then and 107 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on April 6, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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