Head up Wisconsin Avenue from Georgetown and it’s easy to miss the transition to Glover Park, just north of its ritzy, better-known neighbor.
But residents of the neighborhood, which stretches from Whitehaven Parkway to Fulton Street NW along Wisconsin Avenue and to the west, know that Glover Park’s unpretentious character, its proximity to the hiking trails and greenery of Glover-Archbold Park, and its relatively affordable housing prices distinguish it from Georgetown and other neighborhoods nearby.
“It’s a quiet, walkable neighborhood that’s very community-oriented but that’s also very vibrant and fun,” said longtime resident Melissa Lane, a vice president of the Glover Park Citizens Association and a former Advisory Neighborhood Commission representative. “You have the benefit of being close to Georgetown, but there’s lots to do right here, too.”
Glover Park was developed in the early 1900s on a plot of land owned by local banker and philanthropist Charles C. Glover, who later also donated 77 acres to the National Capital Parks Commission for what would become Glover-Archbold Park, according to Carlton Fletcher’s Web site, Glover Park History.
Most of the neighborhood’s characteristic rowhouses were built between 1929 and 1939, according to Chuck Holzwarth, an agent with Washington Fine Properties, who lived in the neighborhood for 11 years and works there frequently. Those rowhouses, along with condominiums, co-ops and apartments, still define the neighborhood’s housing stock, Holzwarth said.
Holzwarth said many home buyers are drawn to Glover Park for the same reason he was when he bought his first home there in 1986.
“I was renting in Georgetown, and for what I could afford back then, if I’d wanted to buy in Georgetown, I could have gotten a postage stamp,” Holzwarth said. “I got a great house in Glover Park and got much more space than I would have had in Georgetown.”
The neighborhood saw a boom in retail development in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with a slew of restaurants and retail stores, including a Whole Foods, being built along Wisconsin Avenue, Holzwarth said.
The fact that it’s so easy to walk to a variety of amenities within Glover Park is one of the neighborhood’s best features, said Lisa Alejandro, who has lived there since 2000.
“We often don’t drive anywhere on weekends, because we have five parks, a bunch of restaurants, a Whole Foods and recreation centers within walking distance,” said Alejandro, 40, an international trade analyst.
Residents also touted the availability of Capital Bikeshare and the ease of using the multiple bus routes that travel through the neighborhood, though some bemoaned the lack of easy Metrorail access — the closest stops are roughly two miles away.
“I think we’d all like better public transportation options,” said Lane, 55, an economist with the National Science Foundation. “Even our bus service has been cut back significantly. Glover Park is car-centric, because it has to be.”
As a result, said Mitch Wander, who maintains the neighborhood’s e-mail discussion group, “the favorite topic to complain about . . . is parking, followed closely by dogs off the leash and dog poop.” Wander, a federal employee and Army reservist who lives in Glover Park with his wife, Emily, and their two children, added: “I think that for most of us, we can step back and smile, and be delighted that those are, in fact, the two biggest issues for people who live here.”
Glover Park has a history of social activism when it comes to solving neighborhood problems, Alejandro said. One example is Stoddert Elementary School, which saw a school-wide overhaul, including facility renovations that were complete in 2010, as a result of residents’ lobbying.
“People who live in the neighborhood really have a vested interest in improving the neighborhood and in enhancing what’s already here,” said Alejandro, who has three kids. “About 10 years ago, Stoddert was a pretty average school. But parents really banded together and had a big influence on hiring the last principal there, who turned Stoddert into the high-performing school it is today.”
Residents are just as passionate about recreational pursuits. On the field next to Stoddert, the Glover Park Co-ed Softball league practices and plays. Wander said it’s the oldest continuously playing coed softball league in the city, having started 30 years ago.
“There are folks who lived in Glover Park 20-some years ago, and who have long since moved away, who still drive in to play each week,” Wander said.
Residents also gather at nearby Guy Mason Recreation Center for events such as Glover Park Day, an annual outdoor community festival with live music and kids’ activities.
Alejandro said informal gatherings are just as frequent.
“People go all out for Halloween,” she said. “Everyone’s out on their porches giving out candy, and everyone decorates like crazy. Last year, someone hung a big sheet from the awning of their front porch, got a projector, and showed ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown’ to a bunch of neighborhood kids in the front yard.”
Emily Wander, who moved to Glover Park in 1997, and persuaded her husband, Mitch, to move there with her when they met a few years later, said the neighborhood is great for people who want to live near urban amenities without sacrificing natural resources.
“I’ve lived in Vermont and in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the hiking trails here are great,” said Wander, a part-time Spanish teacher and jewelry maker who has two kids. “You can walk through the woods to get to Georgetown or Battery Kemble Park. We see fox and owls on a regular basis. We saw an eight-point buck last week. The wildlife is just amazing, and you’re surrounded by beautiful, quiet parkland, but you can also walk to a commercial strip with restaurants and a supermarket just a few blocks away. That’s probably why I moved here, and probably what’s convinced us to stay here to raise our family.”
Amy Reinink is a freelance writer.
ZIP CODE: 20007
BOUNDARIES: Roughly, Fulton Street NW to the north; Wisconsin Avenue and the Naval Observatory to the east; Whitehaven Parkway and Whitehaven Park to the south; and 42nd Street NW to the west.
SCHOOLS: Stoddert Elementary, Hardy Middle and Wilson High.
HOME SALES: Since the beginning of 2012, 30 rowhouses or townhouses sold, at prices ranging from $631,500 to $1.212 million, as did 65 condominiums and co-ops ($160,000 to $499,000), according to Chuck Holzwarth of Washington Fine Properties. One townhouse is on the market, for $950,000; and five condos and co-ops, from $199,000 to $339,900. Two townhouses are under contract, from $795,000 to $899,000; and five condos and co-ops, from $189,000 to $250,000.
WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE: The Naval Observatory, multiple embassies, Glover-Archbold Park, Guy Mason Recreation Center, shops and restaurants on Wisconsin Avenue, Georgetown.
WITHIN 15 MINUTES BY CAR: Downtown Washington, Reagan National Airport.
TRANSIT: Several Metrobus lines, including service to Metrorail stations on the Red Line.