Where We Live: Manor Park, room to breathe in Northwest Washington

April 11

When Genell Anderson moved to Manor Park from Adams Morgan more than 19 years ago, there was one thing she didn’t like about her bungalow-style house.

“The ‘tin men’ came through in the 1940s and sold [residents] the metal awnings that you see,” the 56-year-old architect said. “When I renovated, that was one of the first things to go.”

Clearly, though, the likes far outweighed the dislikes. The house with its deep lot offered her badly needed space for her growing family. The community south of Takoma has easy access to Metro.

The eclectic mix of semi-detached rowhouses and bungalow-style detached homes lends to what Anderson calls the neighborhood’s “urban texture.”

Moreover, she said, Manor Park feels quiet and safe.


“You get to have an urban existence in an affordable neighborhood where you can also have a garden or a back yard,” Anderson said.


Looking out for one another:
Carroll Green, president of the Manor Park Citizens Association, said the neighborhood is beginning to experience a demographic shift as older residents move away and young families move in.

The association is encouraging younger residents to help older ones so that the elderly can remain in their homes longer rather than move to assisted-living facilities, Green said.

Anderson said younger residents look out for older ones in informal ways, too.

“There’s an elder on one side of us, and my husband will shovel her sidewalk if another neighbor doesn’t do it,” Anderson said. “We really do look out for each other.”


Living there:
Manor Park was subdivided in the early 1900s, when Third Street NW and Rittenhouse Street, both unpaved, were the only roads running through the neighborhood, according to a document prepared by the citizens association.

The association was formed in the 1920s to lobby for better roads and schools and to encourage further development of the neighborhood, according to the document.

Many residents today view Manor Park’s boundaries as Whittier Street NW to the north, Blair Road NW and North Capitol Street to the east, Missouri Avenue NW to the south, and Fourth or Fifth Street NW to the west. Some include a small slice of Northeast, extending the neighborhood a few blocks east to the Metro tracks, with Riggs Road NE forming the southern border.

In the past 12 months, 40 homes have sold, at prices ranging from $310,000 for a three-bedroom house that needed renovation to $674,500 for a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house, according to Albert Elliott of Long & Foster. Five properties are on the market, from a two-bedroom, 11 / 2-bathroom house listed at $354,900 to a four-bedroom, 31 / 2-bathroom house listed at $659,000, and four homes are under contract, from a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house listed at $340,000 to a four-bedroom, 31 / 2-bathroom house listed at $620,000.


Healthy food and shopping:
Green, who moved to the neighborhood in 1976, said most residents travel to nearby Takoma and Silver Spring for basic goods and services.

“My doctor is in Silver Spring,” said Green, a retired Defense Department employee. “We shop at the supermarkets there. Downtown Silver Spring is a 10-minute drive, and the municipal parking facilities there make it easy to park.”

Green said Manor Park has its own downtown business district — a single block of Third Street NW populated by a variety of local shops, including restaurants, a dry cleaner and a barbershop.

Anderson, whose architecture firm is located on Third Street NW, said she and other residents enjoy the newer businesses that have cropped up in recent years.

“I like the fact that we have a health-food restaurant and store right below my office,” Anderson said. “You don’t have to leave the neighborhood to do what you need to do.”


Schools:
Neighborhood kids are zoned to attend LaSalle-Backus Education Campus, Whittier Education Campus and Coolidge High School.

Anderson said most parents in the neighborhood opt to send their kids outside Manor Park for school.

“Parents know to either send their kids to a private school or public school in another area,” Anderson said. “I have a daughter at Wilson, for example. They’re working on Coolidge and Whittier, but for now, the school situation is a downside.”


Transit and recreation:
Manor Park is located between the Takoma and Fort Totten Metro stations and is less than a mile from both.

Takoma Recreation Center is located within Manor Park’s boundaries, and residents said the Olympic-size pool and fitness facilities there are an asset to the neighborhood.

“My kids got training at the pool for swimming, and my daughter did her lifeguard training there,” Anderson said. “And it’s an active recreation area for all ages, not just kids.”

Fort Slocum Park is also an easy walk away for most residents.


Crime:
In the past 12 months, there were 21 robberies, nine assaults and 16 burglaries in Manor Park, according to D.C. police.

Amy Reinink is a freelance writer.

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