Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail

Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail celebrates a DC community that started as a tiny Maryland village centered around John Tennally's tavern, years before George Washington chose the site of the Nation's Capital. Take a leisurely walk through a neighborhood rooted in deep family ties that also boasts unique contributions to DC and national history.

Top of the Town, Cultural Tourism DC's 11th Neighborhood Heritage Trail, consists of 19 poster-sized, illustrated signs. As you walk, neighborhood stories and historic images combine to help you visualize the neighborhood as it was, bringing history to life at each stop. The trail is self-guided and designed to be taken at your own pace. For most walkers, the complete tour will provide about two hours of gentle exercise. The first sign is located at Wisconsin Avenue and Albemarle Street, just south of the West exit of the Tenleytown-AU station on Metro's Red line.

Walkers are encouraged to extend their experience of the community, sampling neighborhood character, businesses, and restaurants along the way.

Read about the Tenleytown Neighborhood Heritage Trail launch.

For more information, email us at or call 202-355-4280.



From rural beginnings to the bustling neighborhood it has become, Tenleytown has combined the transience of Washington's workforce with a surprising number of multi-generational native Washingtonians. The quiet, tree-lined streets just off the major thoroughfares are reminiscent of the area's "suburban" past and show few signs of the urban bustle only a few blocks away. But don't be fooled by the sleepy pulse of its residential areas; Tenleytown is also a major player in local and national events. Home to American University, numerous schools and churches, two television stations, and one radio studio, Tenleytown plays host to the nation without ever losing its small-town charm.

In Tenleytown, you'll find a neighborhood that strikes a delightful balance between modern amenities and time-honored sensibility.

Enjoy these neighborhood highlights as you walk:

  • Grant Road, a rural enclave in the heart of this bustling neighborhood that was frequently visited by President Theodore Roosevelt on horseback
  • Point Reno, the highest natural point in DC, where Union soldiers spied a Confederate advance from the north in time to defend against the coming attack during the Civil War
  • The site of Reno City, the thriving, post-Civil War community of working-class African American and white families that was razed in the early 20th century
  • The former site of "Harry's Field," a community garden and playground owned by one of Tenleytown's best-known businessmen, John B. "Bernard" Harry
  • The broadcasting studios that hosted one of the Nixon-Kennedy presidential debates, aired the "Joy Boys" radio show, and introduced Kermit the Frog to the world.
  • The former college where women of the U.S. Navy broke the Japanese code during World War II.


Download the trail map pdf
Download the English trail booklet pdf.
Download the Spanish trail booklet pdf.


Cultural Tourism DC initiated the District of Columbia Neighborhood Heritage Trails program with two goals in mind: helping visitors find their way around Washington's historic neighborhoods and promoting community pride.

Each trail is conceived with the active involvement of neighborhood organizations and residents.

Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail is a project of Cultural Tourism DC in collaboration with the Tenleytown Heritage Trail Working Group, Carolyn Long, chair, the Tenleytown Historical Society, and the Tenleytown Neighbors Association. Carole Abrams Kolker served as community historian. Design by Karol A. Keane Design, with map by Bowring Cartographic.

Visit Civil War 150The Washington Post's ongoing special coverage of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War.

Located in upper NW DC, Tenleytown is home to American University, numerous schools and churches, two television stations, and a radio studio. Tenleytown plays host to the nation without ever losing its small-town charm.

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