Welcome to another edition of Where We Live! This week we’ll be taking a closer look at Tenleytown/AU Park. Even though this neighborhood surrounds American University, it’s not just college students who live there– the beautiful tree-lined streets and great transit access attract people from all walks of life.
History: This part of town has a pretty cool history. Tenleytown originally got its name back in 1790, when residents took to calling the neighborhood “Tenally’s Town” after tavern owner John Tenally. Fort Reno, as the highest natural point in the District, was part of the Civil War Defenses of Washington. After the Civil War, Fort Reno was a free black community, but you wouldn’t know it today– the remnants of this neighborhood were wiped out when several schools were built in the name of urban renewal. The area became a commercial center in 1941, when Sears opened a huge store there (the site of the Sears was redevelopment and now houses the Best Buy and Container Store). The area developed throughout the twentieth century with the help of the streetcar and its proximity to American University (which admitted its first class in 1914).