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Learn more about Crestwood

The Neighborhood:

Crestwood is an entirely residential neighborhood located in Northwest Washington, D.C. and bordered on three sides by Rock Creek Park. It forms part of the residential area known as the Gold Coast on upper 16th Street NW, and is known for its affluent and educated population. Heading north from the White House on 16th Street, Crestwood is among the first neighborhoods that features single-family homes and lawns.

Just to the north, residents can take advantage of the Carter Barron Amphitheatre and William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center. The amphitheatre hosts concerts and many free cultural events during the spring and summer, and the Legg Mason Tennis Classic is played at the Tennis Center next door.


Crestwood is centrally located on 16th Street, being about fifteen minutes by car from both the K Street business district and downtown Silver Spring, Maryland.

A Little History:

The first visitors were Native Americans. In 1719, Lord Baltimore granted a prominent Maryland settler named John Bradford some 500 acres. He quickly sold 300 acres of it to Randall Blake. Millwright Isaac Peirce purchased 150 acres along Rock Creek in 1794—then continued to acquire property until he amassed more than 1,200 acres in “Washington County,” the part of D.C. beyond the city limit (today’s Florida Avenue). Later, a purchased land known as “Argyle tract” became a pivotal location in the north for the Civil War. The Battle of Fort Stevens blocked Confederate forces from taking Washington in July 1864. Union troops passed through the Argyle estate and may have camped here. Abraham Lincoln rode through our neighborhood on his way to the fort—where he would become the only sitting U.S. president to come under enemy fire.

Rock Creek Park was established in 1890. By then the mills along the creek had either been abandoned or become outmoded. Although the plan for Rock Creek Park called for the protected forest to extend east to 16th Street nearly everywhere north of the Argyle tract, some areas had already been developed. Operating under names such as Piney Branch Trotting Course and Brightwood Driving Park, it offered popular harness races—plus bicycle races, occasional baseball games and Washington’s first automobile races.

The D.C. Commissioners issued a plan in 1901 for naming the streets that would eventually extend into Crestwood. The plan called for numbered streets traveling north and south—while east-west streets would run in alphabetical order and be named after famous Americans. When 16th Street opened to traffic through the neighborhood in 1910, development began in earnest, centered along the triangle created by 16th Street, Blagden Avenue and Decatur Street (since residents could walk down Decatur to get to the 14th Street trolley). While the neighborhood was developed mostly on a piecemeal basis, there were larger housing developments called Mount Pleasant Heights (1905), Argyle Park (1907) and Blagden Park (1926). The development called Crestwood wasn’t established until 1938 on the south end of the neighborhood, on a site described as “wooded country in the downtown residential district and only 10 minutes from the White House.”

In 1941, after plans were announced to build a six-story apartment house at 16th and Shepherd Streets, Crestwood residents organized to oppose the project by forming the Crestwood Citizens Association. The Association fulfilled other civic and social roles during the 1940s, especially during World War II. Members patrolled the Crestwood Civil Defense District and organized a victory garden on three acres of undeveloped land bounded by Argyle Terrace and 18th, Shepherd and Taylor Streets. They planted a community Christmas tree at 18th and Shepherd, and chose the azalea to be the community flower. In recent decades, the Association and other community organizations have continued to focus on conserving the residential character of a neighborhood that first appeared as a single estate nearly 300 years ago. Crestwood residents can still agree with British Ambassador Lord James Bryce, who in 1913 noted there was “nothing comparable in any capital city in Europe” to our setting by Rock Creek:


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