DC Historical Sites Worth Discovering in Tenleytown

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Tenleytown is a relatively quiet neighborhood that lacks the flocks of tourists in DC’s other neighborhoods.

And if you’re coming here for the day, you probably wouldn’t think to look for anything of great historical relevance in this corner of DC.

In fact, there are plenty of interesting historical sites tucked away on these tree-lined streets! You can follow DC’s 11th Neighborhood Heritage Trail to find them all, or you can wander around to discover a select few interesting spots.

Here are some of the most interesting or beautiful historical sites in Tenleytown that are worth visiting (or revisiting).

Fort Reno Park

(Hill between Donaldson and Fessenden Streets)

If you’ve lived in DC for a while, you’ve no doubt been to Fort Reno, the highest point in DC. It was also used as a Civil War defense from 1861-1865. But there’s one amazing spot—on a hill between Donaldson and Fessendenwhere you can see an incredible view. Go up there for a sunrise or a sunset and you’ll be able to see all the way out to Tyson’s Corner and maybe even the Shenandoah Mountains.

Old Sears, Roebuck & Co. Building

(4500 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, D.C.)

This modern building was the first big department store in Tenleytown, with an unprecedented 300-car parking lot on the top of the building. Now, it’s been converted to a mixed-use development where you’ll find a Best Buy, Container Store, and Ace Hardware. You might be surprised to hear that Tenley residents originally opposed the plans for this new store way back in 1940. Now, it’s lauded as a great piece of Tenleytown’s history.

The Hilleary T. Burrows House

(4520 River Road, Northwest, Washington, D.C.)

Remember when people used to order things out of catalogs? Shoes, toys…even homes? That’s right. This historic home was actually built in 1897 from a design that was picked from a catalog—and might just be the only lasting example of a home built from an architectural pamphlet in DC. Stroll past for a look at a quaint little Queen Anne-style home nestled away in American University Park.

Engine Co. #20

(4300 Wisconsin Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C.)

This engine company was built in 1901 and—believe it or not—mostly served DC farms using horse-drawn water wagons. Needless to say, a few renovations were in order. While the renovations were in progress during the early 2000s, our Tenleytown firefighters had to stay in a trailer. We’re so happy that the renovations are finally complete—and we’re willing to bet the firefighters are, too. Here’s to a safer neighborhood and a super cool historical Tenleytown site to check out.


In love with Tenleytown yet? We are. Get in touch with us today at Tenley View, and find out how you can snag the luxury apartment of your dreams in this safe DC neighborhood.


Image Source: NCinDC via Flickr


Filed under: History