Katie Battle said she and her husband, Westray, were slow to get to know people when they first moved to the East Village section in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood. But after their children were born, she said, it was easy to make friends there.
Walking through Rose Park and the streets nearby, Battle met other mothers with young children. “The park is just an extension of everyone’s house,” said Battle, 37, referring to the play area for her children Turner, 5, and Madison, 4. “It’s the go-to place for everything.”
Jointly managed by the National Park Service and the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, the park is a meeting place for the immediate neighborhood and beyond. “The park is somewhere where you can go and there’s always somebody here and you get to know people,” Battle said. “There are a lot of young people here. When it snows we make snowmen. When it rains, we wear rain jackets and play in the puddles.”
“You’ve got a little brick walk out back,” she added, referring to her backyard. “It’s just not as fun as going to the park. You don’t have a lot of space at your house so you have to go to the park.”
Neighbors pitch in: Twenty-six years ago, when Russell Bridges moved from the Dupont Circle area to East Village, “there were just no children here,” he said. At that time, the park needed repair. “A group of neighbors came together,” he said. Ultimately, he added, they formed the Friends of Rose Park “just to try to maintain some semblance of upkeep.”
Pointing to the brick walkway within the park, Bridges, who is treasurer of the Friends of Rose Park, said they sell the bricks for $100 each to raise money. Park donors’ names are inscribed on the bricks.
David Dunning and his wife, Margaret, moved from the Washington National Cathedral area to East Village 23 years ago. Dunning, a lobbyist and law firm partner, joined the Friends of Rose Park board 15 years ago and became its president 10 years ago. “We have to raise our own money,” he said. To this end, Friends of Rose Park has a fundraiser each year. Working with the National Park Service, the Friends of Rose Park anticipates that the path that extends through the park from P Street to M Street will be improved with rubberized asphalt by spring, Dunning said. It’s been a 14-year effort, he said. In addition, Dunning plays tennis two or three times a week.
Rose Park has a long and rich history. The Ancient Order of the Sons and Daughters of Moses established the Rose Park Playground in 1918 to serve African American children, according to Cultural Tourism DC’s website. Throughout the years, it has been known as Patterson’s Park, Jacob’s Park and Winship’s Lot. The city acquired it in 1922, designating it a “colored” facility, according to Cultural Tourism DC. In the late 1930s, the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation remodeled the park. By the early 1940s, it was integrated.
According to the Cultural Tourism DC website, “Rose Park was the main recreation center for Georgetown, and people ignored the segregation rules. Here children and adults (though not necessarily together) played basketball, volleyball, tennis, and dodgeball. They held folk dances, and learned crafts such as sewing and basketry as well as fine arts and music.”
Rose Park has three tennis courts, a basketball court, a baseball diamond, two playgrounds and a recreation center building run by the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation, as well as green space.
The tennis courts moved into the spotlight when African American tennis champions Margaret Peters and Roumania Peters Walker, sisters who lived at 2710 O St. NW, played there from the 1930s through the 1980s.
Annual activities: A focal point in the area is the Rose Park Farmers Market from May through the end of October at 26th and O streets NW, where 10 to 15 vendors sell everything from flowers and vegetables to wood-fired pizza on Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m.
Katie Battle and Katherine Nix, Friends of Rose Park board members, plan activities in the park, including a spring fling at the end of May and a Halloween event. They have arranged for pony rides and face painters to come to the park where families gather and children play in the tot lot. Last year, Santa Claus drove up for the holiday celebration in a red Porsche.
Living there: Georgetown’s East Village is roughly bounded by P Street NW to the north, Rock Creek Parkway to the east, M Street NW to the south and Wisconsin Avenue NW to the west. The name “East Village” comes from its location, east of Wisconsin Avenue.
According to the office of Nancy Taylor Bubes of Washington Fine Properties, in the past 12 months, 51 residential properties have sold in the neighborhood, ranging from a nine-bedroom, 11-bath detached townhouse dating to 1875, for $7.365 million, to a Federal period one-bedroom, one-bath condominium for $492,500.
There are 18 residential properties on the market, ranging from a five-bedroom, seven-bath, four-level semidetached Victorian townhouse dating to 1900, for $7.495 million, to a one-bedroom Victorian condominium for $519,555.
Schools: Hyde-Addison Elementary, Hardy Middle, Wilson High.
Transit: The closest Metro station is Dupont Circle on the Red Line. Two Circulator bus routes stop in the community: Dupont Circle-Georgetown-Rosslyn and Georgetown-Union Station. Various Metro buses, including the 38B along M Street NW, serve the community. Some residents walk to work, while others use electric scooters or drive.
Crime: According to the Metropolitan Police Crime map, in the past year there were 10 assaults, four robberies and seven burglaries in the area.