The original subdivision named American University Park was an area of 54.367 acres and was platted in 1896 by developers J(ohn) D. Croissant and David D. Stone, Croissant. A first addition followed in 1897.
The area was part of the 1713 Friendship grant to Addison and Stoddert. The land on which the American University Park subdivision is located was part of the Addison holding and descended through that family to John Murdock, and then to his grandson, W. D. C. Murdock.
At the beginning of the Civil War, W.D.C. Murdock owned a tract of approximately eight hundred acres. Union forces cut much of the wood on this land for the construction of forts, perhaps nearby Forts Bayard and Gaines, and for fuel.
In 1865, land north and west of Murdock Mill Road was owned by Samuel F. Burrows and his brother Levi. The acreage, mostly farmland, to the south of Murdock Mill Road, including the site of American University, was subdivided by W. D. C. Murdock (District Book 1, p. 33) Though the nearby village of Tenleytown began to grow after the Civil War, the area that became American University Park remained rural and sparsely populated.
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