Eric Langenbacher moved to the Northwest Washington neighborhood of Burleith 24 years ago with no plan to be a lifelong resident.

“We thought that it would be a starter home, but I think now it’s going to be an ender home,” he said.

Langenbacher has been president of the Burleith Citizens Association since 2015.

Burleith’s close-knit community is attractive to residents. Of the many memories Langenbacher has made during his time in Burleith, his favorite is his wife’s 40th birthday party.

On a temperate day in June, Langenbacher’s neighbors hosted the event in their spacious and leafy backyard. Over the course of the party, more than 70 friends and neighbors showed up.

The area is more than just a tree-shrouded residential haven.

“Burleith is so adjacent to the hustle and bustle of the city I can walk five minutes and I’m at the ‘Social Safeway,’ as it’s called, on Wisconsin Avenue,” Langenbacher said. “I walk 10 minutes and I’m in Georgetown.”

Burleith draws people with its proximity to Georgetown and Wisconsin Avenue but keeps them with its sense of community and access to green spaces. It is a “village in the city,” according to residents, with its 535 houses, a mix of Colonials, Tudors, rowhouses and townhouses.

“We don’t have any signs for our neighborhood, at all, and nobody knows it exists. So, the funny thing for me is, do we really need to tell everybody?” quips Brian Garback.

Garback began renting in Burleith with his wife in 2013 and loved the neighborhood so much he purchased a home there two years later.

One happy surprise Garback has found as a Burleith resident has been a love of trail running. With Glover Archbold Park to the west and north and the Whitehaven Trail to the northeast, opportunities for outdoor activities are abundant, Garback said. “You fall out of the city into this fantastic park.”

“Burleith is close to several sought-after primary and secondary schools in upper Northwest D.C.,” said real estate agent Kira Epstein Begal of Washington Fine Properties. “I always tell buyers, you get to be close to the city, but you also get trees!”

Burleith’s schools have historically been a draw for the neighborhood. But in the 1950s, enrollment declined. After the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling, Burleith was one of the many neighborhoods to experience “White flight.”

Enrollment rapidly shifted after the 1967 Hobson v. Hansen decision, which sought to end de facto racial segregation in D.C. public schools. The boundaries of Burleith’s high school at the time, Western, were expanded, and the school’s doors were opened to more students.

In 1974, the city repurposed the land to create the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, resulting in the closure of Western High School. Western, which had been there since 1898, had its final graduating class in 1976.

The Duke Ellington School of the Arts is an educational and cultural hub in Burleith. The public high school for high-achieving arts students is on land that once housed the 19th-century estate of the Cox family.

According to Savannah Williams, director of external affairs for Duke Ellington School, it is the only combined preprofessional training arts program and college preparatory program in the District.

The Duke Ellington School’s location in Burleith is key to its mission of holistic learning.

“The Burleith community is just so great,” Williams said. “We do our marching band practices down 35th and R Street and they just love it. . . . It provides the students a safe environment.”

Other longtime residents discovered the neighborhood by chance. Gwen Verhoff moved to Burleith in 1975.

Verhoff was teaching at Georgetown when a colleague recommended a rental in Burleith.

“It was not intentional,” Verhoff said. “It was just sort of accidental, and I feel so lucky.”

The neighborhood is a vibrant mix of professionals, students and children who keep the streets lively. The residents engage in yearly events such as visits from Santa, summer picnics and glogg (a traditional Scandinavian drink) parties.

“When I moved in, I was part of the younger crowd and the older crowd always had good stories to tell us,” Verhoff said. “Now I’m part of the older crowd and I tell stories to the younger people coming in.”

Living there: Burleith’s northern border encompasses a portion of Whitehaven Parkway. On the west, it’s flanked by 39th Street NW. Its southern border backs up to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital on Reservoir Road, and its eastern flank is a zigzag that cuts along 35th Street NW, Whitehaven Parkway NW and 37th Street NW.

Since the start of 2021, 26 properties have been sold. The average price was just under $1.5 million.

According to Begal, the highest-priced sale of the year was a five-bedroom, six-bathroom house on R Street NW that went for just over $2.9 million. The lowest-priced house sold was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom townhouse on 35th Street for $810,000. There are nine homes for sale in Burleith.

Burleith is in “close proximity to Georgetown and all it has to offer,” said Begal, “without the Georgetown prices.”

Schools: Hyde-Addison Elementary, Hardy Middle and Woodrow Wilson High. Duke Ellington School of the Arts requires an application.

Transit: The closest Metro stops to Burleith are the Tenleytown and Dupont Circle stations on the Red Line and Foggy Bottom on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines, all of which can be reached by Metrobus. Several Metrobus routes serve the neighborhood. Capital Bikeshare bikes can be obtained at a bike-docking station at 38th Street and Reservoir Road NW. The Georgetown-Union Station Circulator Bus runs along Wisconsin Avenue and takes riders west through downtown to Union Station.

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