Where We Live

City Culture and Charm In Tai Shan's Back Yard

By Amy Reinink
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, January 24, 2009

Barbara Ioanes's alarm clock lives across the street.

For the 33 years Ioanes has lived in her historic rowhouse on Cathedral Avenue NW, she's woken to the hoots, chirps and caws of the animals at the National Zoo, which forms the eastern boundary of Woodley Park. Ioanes said it provides a daily reminder of Woodley Park's cultural amenities and charm.

"All of a sudden, you'll hear, 'Woo woo woo woooo!' " Ioanes said. "It's the animals at the zoo waking up. Having the zoo right here is major."

Ioanes, a retired federal employee in her 60s who is vice president of the Woodley Park Community Association, said her neighbors -- human and animal alike -- and the neighborhood's rich architectural history have kept her there since 1975.

Ioanes and other residents say Woodley Park provides all the convenience and amenities of city living.

International restaurants line Connecticut Avenue, which bisects the neighborhood. Visitors get off at the Woodley Park-National Zoo Metro stop to see not only the zoo, but even attractions like the National Cathedral. It's a short walk to major employment centers and the nightlife of Adams Morgan and Dupont Circle.

But Woodley Park's largely residential base and proximity to Rock Creek Park make it suitable for families and others seeking peace and quiet, too.

"It's almost totally residential here. Even going to Dupont Circle, you start seeing the taller office buildings. Here, you're close to everything, but it's nice and quiet," said Brian Hockin, 28, who has lived in the neighborhood almost two years.

Many of the expansive, two- and three-bedroom rowhouses that characterize Woodley Park were built by District real estate mogul Harry Wardman in the early 1900s in what is now called Old Woodley Park, a large swath in the easternmost part of the neighborhood.

Hockin, who works in information technology for the Senate, and his fiancee, Meghan Rapp, 24, state policy manger at a nonprofit, said they were drawn to that architectural history when looking for a place to live.

Rapp said their landlord told them that the house they rent was built in 1912 and retains its original clawfoot tub.

Woodley Park contains a variety of historical buildings, like the estate known simply as Woodley, which now houses the Maret School. The Federal-style house was built in 1801 by Philip Barton Key, Francis Scott Key's uncle.

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