Washington | DC
In 1790, Washington locals began calling the neighborhood “Tennally’s Town” after area tavern owner John Tennally. Over time, the spelling has evolved and by the 19th century the area was commonly known by its current name, although the spelling Tennallytown continued to be used for some time in certain capacities, including streetcars through the 1920s. The area is the site of Fort Reno, one of the forts that formed a ring around Washington, D.C. during the American Civil War to protect the capital against invasions. It proved to be the crucial lookout point for preventing a siege of Washington, because it is the highest natural elevation point in the District of Columbia.
Due to its elevation it is also the site of the oldest home in Washington, D.C. Charles Jones’s home called “The Rest” was believed to be originally built around 1700 and majorly expanded around 1800. This home stayed in the Jones family until 1920 when the Magruders (local grocers) bought the home. In 1974 the current family owning the home bought the house and still own it today.
Tenleytown was transformed on October 2, 1941 when Sears Roebuck opened its department store on Wisconsin Avenue at Albemarle Street. At the time the store was notable for its size and for its 300 car rooftop parking lot. In the 1990s, Sears abandoned its retail operation at the location and the building was used by Hechinger hardware until its demise in the late 1990s. In the 2000s, the building was converted to a mixed-use development complex called Cityline at Tenley, with luxury condos (The Cityline) on the top levels, a Best Buy and a Container Store at street level, and an Ace Hardware underground, located within the parking garage that serves the aforementioned stores. The west entrance to the Metro station is at the front of the building across from Whole Foods Market. In 2010, the Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail opened. The path starts from the metro station and passes by neighborhood landmarks such as American University, the Civil War’s Fort Reno, and the studios of WRC-TV, Washington’s NBC station.
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