Tenleytown Neighborhoods & Subdivisions  - American University Park

 

Detail from 1897 decorative plat
 

4701 Fessenden Street,  NW

4701 is located on a triangle of land across Fessenden Street from Fort Bayard. It was described in the brochure as the residence of Robert H. Stone, son of David Stone.

”When my parents, William R. and Mabel M. Manning, bought the house where I was born, at 4701 Fessenden Street, in 1908, it was already 11 years old…, but the neighborhood was still almost countryside. The immediate surroundings were devoid of trees. From the front porch, one could look south across two empty blocks and see a few homes on Davenport Street.

“North of the house, on the other side of the future Western Avenue, was a small farm occupied by the Paxsons. They were old-timey farmers…raised chickens and a big garden.

“In those days, the neighborhood was very quiet. At night, we could hear the whistle of the little train than ran on a spur from Georgetown around to Bethesda. Also at night, when the wind was right, we could hear the rushing of the Little Falls of the Potomac, though they were a couple of miles away.

“Another sound of my small childhood, long vanished, was the call of hucksters as they walked their horse-drawn wagons through the neighborhood.

“Other people were still using horse-drawn vehicles in the 1920s. I remember the iceman and the milkman. The horses knew their route so well that they moved to the next house without being told.

“Western Avenue when I was little was nothing but a couple of sandy ruts in the block behind our house and perhaps as far east as River Road.

“East of our house,… was hilly Fort Bayard,…a good place to pick violets and wild strawberries.

Mrs. Pauline Manning Batchelder

Reminiscences (Part 1)

Western Avenue Citizens Association Newsletter

Spring 2001

 



“…the city cut down the streets around our house, digging out the top three or four feet of Fessenden and 47th. …Originally, our yard and the Fort (Bayard) had been on the same level. Now our house was left high and dry like a castle.

“The Fort was a great place to go sledding…If we had a good enough start, we could keep going on Western Avenue for a stretch.

“A favorite walk was the path that started where 49th Street ended, on the southwest side of Massachusetts Avenue. It was, I believe, all that remained of the final stretch of old Murdock Mill Road, and it led downhill along a little rocky brook, past a spot called “The Devil’s Bathtub,” where the stream spread out over a huge boulder with a shallow depression in the center, and on to the bottom of the hill. There lay a few tumbled remains… of the Murdock Mill.”

Mrs. Pauline Manning Batchelder

Reminiscences (Part 2)

Western Avenue Citizens Association Newsletter

Fall 2001