What You'll See

Tenleytown, even during its early years as a humble Maryland village centered around John Tennally's tavern, has attracted people and commerce.

The historic neighborhood grew from the intersection of two Native American footpaths, now known as Wisconsin Avenue and River Road. Over time the neighborhood has offered a suburban style residential experience. At the same time Tenleytown has been the stage for important events in three wars and technological innovation.

When Union soldiers at Fort Reno aimed long-range cannons at Confederate troops during the Civil War, they were using the latest in weapons technology. The invention of the electric streetcar in the 1890s triggered a new wave of development that turned Tenleytown's farms into neat brick or frame single-family houses. During World War II, Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) cracked the Japanese code at the campus of Mount Vernon Seminary. Meet the Press first aired from Tenleytown's WRC/NBC studio, where Kermit the Frog first performed in front of a TV camera. Tenleytown's Engine House No. 20 was the second fire station in the city to make the leap from horse power to motorized equipment.

The neighborhood continues to be a key center of defense, media, education, arts, and much more. American University attracts scholars from all over the world. AU's Katzen Arts Center and Greenberg Theater make the community a hub of visual and performing arts, and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration among artists. Fort Reno Park's summer concert series has been a Washington tradition for more than forty years. The recently renovated public Wilson Aquatic Center, next to Wilson High School, is an important community amenity.

The local CBS and NBC television affiliates, as well as DC's NPR radio station, WAMU, now broadcast from the area that hosted one of the historic Kennedy-Nixon debates in 1960. And in the heart of Tenleytown, the Wisconsin Avenue business corridor buzzes with activity, with both unique local and familiar national chain stores, and a wide variety of restaurants. All are within steps of the Tenleytown/AU Metro station on the Red line.

Combine Tenleytown's forward-thinking culture with its small-town charm and the fact that it boasts the city's highest natural elevation, and it's easy to see why it's regarded as the Top of the Town.

Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail

The self-guided walking trail introduces walkers to historic Tenleytown, from modest beginnings at the intersection of two Native American footpaths through periods as a hub of wartime activity during the Civil War and World Wars I and II, through business development, and eventually a center of TV and radio broadcasting.

For more information

Check out our Calendar for up-to-date information on exhibitions, lectures, and other heritage happenings in this neighborhood.

Points of Interest

> Fort Reno Park
> The Rest, Tenleytown's oldest surviving house
> St. Columba's Episcopal Church
> American University and its Katzen Arts Center and Greenberg Theater.
> National Presbyterian Church and School
> Armesleigh Park's post-World War I houses
> Grant Road Historic District
> Methodist Cemetery on Murdock Mill Road
> Art on Call boxes


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