By Ruben Castaneda
The Best of Two Worlds
Washington Post Staff Writer
September 19, 1992
In many ways, Glover Park seems like a Norman Rockwell portrait come to life.
On balmy evenings, many residents of Glover Park in Northwest Washington sit on their porches and read or visit with one another. On shady, tree-lined streets, mothers take their babies out in strollers as other people walk their dogs.
Some of the restaurants and stores on nearby Wisconsin Avenue have a small-town ambiance, offering Glover Park residents a wide range of services within walking distance.
Next to the Amoco gas station there is Pearson’s Pharmacy, and just down the street are Rockland’s barbecue, the Ice Cream&Sandwich Shoppe and a coin-operated laundry.
That’s in addition to several other popular and well-known eateries, such as the Austin Grill and the Faccia Luna Pizzeria. The Grog and Tankard, which often features live acts, is a popular nightspot for many young people. There also are two banks, a post office, a florist, two video stores and a hair stylist.
It was this combination of residential quiet and proximity to lively city life that attracted legal secretary Lisa Barr to rent a two-story town house on Observatory Place last year.
“I thought it was quaint and charming, and I like brownstones and town houses,” said Barr, 25. Barr said she also likes her neighborhood’s location, just north of Georgetown and within 10 minutes by car from downtown Washington.
“It’s convenient to the city, yet at the same time you’re just far enough out of town that it’s quiet,” Barr said. “It’s convenient to stores, shops, great restaurants if you want to go to dinner, and there are lots of movie theaters up on Wisconsin and down in Georgetown.”
Glover Park is bounded by Wisconsin Avenue on the east, Glover-Archbold Park on the west, Whitehaven Park on the south and Fulton Street on the north. The community of about 8,300 residents is home to a mixture of young professionals, young families, college students and longtime homeowners. The community includes a mixture of detached single-family homes, row houses, town houses, garden apartment complexes and high-rise condominiums along Wisconsin Avenue.
Milton Grossman, president of the Glover Park Citizens Association, and his family have lived in a row house on Hall Place since 1968.
“It’s very communal, we know all the neighbors,” Grossman said.
Within the last year, Glover Park residents were among those who actively opposed the District government’s proposal to place a 50-bed homeless shelter for men at the Guy Mason Recreation Center just east of Wisconsin Avenue. They also organized to oppose a proposed 56,000-watt, $80 million cogenerator at nearby Georgetown University. The shelter has so far been blocked and the issue of building the cogenerator is in court.
In recent months, the citizens association has turned its attention to another issue—parking. When school is in session and students from Georgetown rent out group homes in the neighborhood, parking becomes scarce on some streets, Grossman said.
The association appointed a committee to study how to alleviate the problem. The committee recently submitted to D.C. public works officials suggestions that more spaces could be created if some of the parking signs were moved, Grossman said.
The real estate boom that propelled home prices skyward in the 1970s and again during the early 1980s is now a memory.
Council member Jim Nathanson (D-Ward 3), who represents Glover Park, recalled buying a large, six-bedroom row house on Tunlaw Road for $25,000 in 1962. Thirteen years later, Nathanson sold the house for $70,000 and two years after that, it sold for $120,000, he said. Today, the home would probably be worth about $240,000, said Sofia Henry, a real estate agent who lives in Glover Park.
Most three-bedroom, two-bath houses that sold for more than $300,000 in the late 1980s are now selling for about $265,000, Henry said. The average home price, she said, is in the $230,000 to $240,000 range. Condominium units range from about $80,000 to about $150,000.
The average price for monthly house rentals is $1,400 to $1,700. One-bedroom apartments generally rent for $750, unless they are covered by rent control.
Last November, when Judie Guy made the transition from renter to condominium owner, she decided to stay in Glover Park, where she has lived since 1977.
Guy, who had been a renter on Tunlaw Road for 14 years, bought a condominium on Davis Place. The Internal Revenue Service employee, who is originally from Hagerstown, said Glover Park offers her the best of two worlds.
“I’m a small town person who can’t get enough of the big city,” she said.
Guy also enjoys spending time at the Victory Gardens, on the edge of Glover-Archbold Park.
The gardens originated during World War II, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt initiated such gardens so civilian Americans could take part in the war effort by growing their own vegetables, which among other things would save metal that would otherwise be used for canning lids.
Guy is one of the about 150 people who has a free plot at the gardens.
“As a condominium-dweller, it’s like having a back yard,” she said. “And it’s a nice place to barbecue.”
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