Home > History > Neighborhoods > American University Park > 4941 Butterworth Place, NW

4941 Butterworth Place, NW Washington, D. C.

  • Architect: Walter G. Peter

Designed by architect Walter G. Peter for Horace Warner, this house had a huge boulder in the basement over which the house was constructed.

“The woman for whom the house was originally built refused to live in it because on her first trip to her new home the buggy got stuck in the mud on Murdock Mill road and she became so angry that she said she’d never live so far out in the country.

“My father left Kansas to work for oil companies in Dallas. He then took a job in Washington, DC with the Smithsonian…then worked for the Treasury Department…He rode a bicycle from Butterworth Place (Armes Place) to the Treasury Department.

“…my parents moved to the country in 1910 …The new house…sat in the middle of meadows. We think that the area had been cleared during the Civil War because we found two triangular plow shares in the ground. We also found many arrowheads from Indian days especially along Murdock Mill Creek.

“The house had electricity from the beginning.

“In 1910, our house had an outhouse and a pump. By 1915 city water and sewer lines were laid under the street in a 10’ deep trench in the center of what is now Butterworth Place.

“Although Massachusetts Avenue was not built beyond American University at Ward Circle, about 1911, the street car was extended the length of Massachusetts Avenue ending at a 10’ embankment where Westmoreland Circle is located.

“The street car was also dangerous because it would go so fast. The hill down from Ward Circle was so severe that once a whole small train tipped over.

Eventually, Massachusetts Avenue was built…The steep hill coming from Ward Circle was softened by filling in the area at 46th and Massachusetts so that the Christian Science Church and the American University playing field are on landfill.

“The meadows in the area existed for their owners’ dairy cows. Although my father worked for the government, many other neighbors were full time farmers…Besides the farmers’ pastures, the dairy farmers…could cut grass in the (American University) Park for their animals. My mother would send us to the Gorman farm to buy milk; Mrs. Gorman would…send us home with a quart for which would pay nine cents.

“We had to travel to Tenleytown to do our shopping, to school or church. We would walk Butterworth Place to the wooden bridge and continue on Murdock Mill Road which went long a creek. We then walked through Robeyville to Saint Columba’s Church to Wisconsin Avenue.”

Marshall Cedric Gleason





Permit drawing



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