Where We Live
Historical Green Space and a Front-Porch Feel
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Christopher Lively was born and reared in Glover Park, a community of cozy townhouses just north of Georgetown.
After college, he moved to San Francisco for a year, but he returned. "This is such a fabulous place. Everything you need is right here," he said.
Lively works as a property manager in the neighborhood and seems to know just about everyone. He enjoys walking the quiet streets with his spirited Jack Russell terrier, Nigel.
"This neighborhood is actually tucked in the bosom of the park; it's not a cut-through neighborhood, so it's very peaceful," he said. "Aside from the occasional late-night rowdiness, it's a safe and tight-knit community."
A bit of history: Charles Carroll Glover (1846-1936) once owned much of the area now known as Glover Park. A former president of Riggs Bank, he had a hand in the creation of the National Zoo, Rock Creek Park and the Rock Creek Parkway. He was president of the Corcoran Gallery and was instrumental in building the National Cathedral and completing the Washington Monument.
A nature lover inspired by the creation of Yellowstone National Park, Glover desired something similar in Washington. He assembled parcels of land and sold them to the U.S. government, creating more than 3,200 acres of parkland for the District.
In 1924, he gave the National Capital Parks Commission 77 acres in the valley of Foundry Branch. When added to 28 acres from socialite Anne Archbold, it became Glover-Archbold Park.
Today's Glover Park neighborhood, adjacent to that green space, is a vibrant community with a bustling commercial strip running down Wisconsin Avenue NW on the way to Georgetown. Restaurants and shops draw people from all over the District, yet, despite the traffic, the neighborhood's residential side streets are quiet.
"Houses here are very desirable for first-time buyers. Regardless of what is happening nationally, nothing stays on the market if it's priced right," said Sophia Henry, a real estate broker who specializes in the area. She's been in real estate for 41 years; she opened Sophia Henry Real Estate, in Glover Park in 1980 when her husband, a Georgetown University professor, sought to live within walking distance of campus.
There are still a few untouched houses available, but most have been updated, and the prices reflect that. Lively paid $280,000 for his three-story house in 2002 and estimates that it is now worth about $890,000. He did extensive renovations, including a two-zone central air-conditioning system, a huge kitchen in place of the original sleeping porch, radiant floor heating, three bathrooms, a landscaped front yard with a water feature and a professionally designed rear deck.
The historic block named Hall Place, almost a neighborhood unto itself, was built in the early 19th century. The next group of homes, tiny ones without basements, was built in 1926 on 37th Street NW. More construction came in 1927 and 1928, and the neighborhood was largely completed by 1934. Since then, modern infill homes have been added from time to time. The typical home is a faux Tudor or faux Federal rowhouse, about 18 to 20 feet wide, with three bedrooms and one bath.
"Every house is a variation on a theme," said Gail Juppenlatz, a dental hygienist who paid $62,000 for her home in 1975 and estimates its value today at $700,000. She and her husband, Dick, travel frequently, but their base is Glover Park. "It's convenient to everything. We can walk to Safeway, Whole Foods, the health club, the hardware store. While there is no Metro stop, the Connector buses traveling up and down Wisconsin Avenue can get you anywhere you need to go."