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Colonial Village:
Neighbors Enjoy
Rock Creek Park

By Patrice Gaines
Washington Post Staff Writer
January 29, 1994

What is the difference between Colonial Village and Rock Creek Park?

There are houses in Colonial Village.

Of course, there are some other differences. But the community of winding hills and old oak trees, which lies at the District's northernmost tip, seamlessly slopes into the thickets of Rock Creek Park. For residents, this means a perfect place to walk a dog, to jog or bike or to sit and stare at the magnificence of the season.

"We're waiting for spring; I'm told it's great," said Steven Bullock, a newcomer whose family moved to the neighborhood in November.

A park trail is just around the corner from Bullock's house on Sudbury Lane in Northwest Washington, and Bullock, a lawyer in private practice in Alexandria, loves to jog on the path as well as through the neighborhood.

The Bullocks moved from nearby 16th Street Heights and scoured neighborhoods in the District, Maryland and Virginia for two years before deciding on Colonial Village.

"We were concerned about schoolsóand our neighbors. We wanted a safer, quieter neighborhood," said Bullock, who has a 2-year-old daughter.

"The neighbors are very friendly. Can you believe they gave us a welcoming party?" said his wife, Seneica Sykes-Bullock, a sales manager at Xerox Corp. "It gave us a chance to meet some neighbors and to learn some of the history of the area."

The original Colonial Village was a part of colonial Virginia until 1629 when King Charles I of England presented the area to the first Lord of Baltimore and it became a part of Maryland, according to a brief history compiled by the neighborhood historian, F. Merle Bollard. The history says the land became a part of the District in 1800.

The community boundaries today are 16th Street on the east, Holly Street on the south, Beach Drive on the west and the Maryland-D.C. border on the north, although some nearby residents say the community stretches outward a bit.

Stately brick and stone homes, some replicas of historic colonial houses, compose the oldest sections of the community of 612 homes. The first house was completed in 1931, but in the last decade more modern ranch style homes have been built on the northern edge of Colonial Village.

The average price of a home in the community is $408,000, though some homes can cost twice more than the average. The highest-priced house on the market now is $775,000 and the least expensive is $209,900, a foreclosure, said Dale Mattison, a real estate broker with Long&Foster Real Estate Inc.

Once a covenant forbade residents "of Negro blood or of the Semitic race," according to Bollard's history, but today the neighborhood is well integrated, populated by government executives, lobbyists, political consultants, lawyers, doctors and several city judges.

"There's good value there. Houses cost half of what similar style housesó5,000 to 6,000 square feetócost in Wesley Heights or Spring Valley," Mattison said. "Many of the residents make up the 'who's who list' of Washington."

Judy Millon and her husband, Henry, moved to Colonial Village from Boston in 1980, after he accepted a job at the National Gallery of Art as dean of the Center For Advanced Study in the Visual Art.

"We were horrified by the prices of houses in D.C., then friends told us about Colonial Village," said Judy Millon, a freelance editor.

In addition to finding agreeable price tags, Millon said, "It's a very well-planned urban community. They were careful in replicating old colonial houses. They paid attention to details."

Now that her two children are grown, Millon doesn't go into the park as often as she once did, but instead enjoys the terrain of the neighborhood streets.

"It's a wonderful place to coast and I've seen people cross-country ski," she said. "It's a great dog-walking neighborhood. And having the park is an incredible psychological benefit, even if you don't use it."

Harold Cushenberry and his wife, Betty, moved to Colonial Village in 1980, after they had their first child and needed a bigger house.

"We lived five blocks away in Brightwood and had friends here, so we were familiar with the neighborhood," said Harold Cushenberry, a D.C. Superior Court judge whose family has grown to include two children.

The Cushenberrys' house on Holly Street faces Rock Creek Park, so they are close to acres of natural space..

"You can walk out our front door and get on a trail and jog or walk," the judge said. "I enjoy looking out our bedroom window and watching the seasons change. It's lovely."

Cushenberry cited the convenience to mass transportation as another plus.

John Hodgdon and his wife were in search of an integrated neighborhood when they found Colonial Village. "I'm white and my wife is black," Hodgdon offered as an explanation.

But the Hodgdons, residents for 10 years, also "liked the quiet neighborhood, the privacy and the pleasant-looking homes," said Hodgdon, who is a special projects officer at the Justice Department.

Among the traditions in Colonial Village is the annual Christmas Eve caroling, which begins at the smallest of two circles in neighborhood, both built to serve as a gathering place just as commons did in old-time villages.

Neighbors gathered last Christmas Eve, as they have for years, with one neighbor showing up dressed as Santa. Then hot cider was passed out along with sheets of Christmas music and the carolers traversed the neighborhood spreading yuletide cheer.

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