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About Robeyville

The 4400 block of Alton Place came to be known as Robeyville because many of its original houses were either built or occupied, in some cases both, by members of the Robey family.

Most of the houses were built in the first decade of the twentieth century. In the 1920s and 1930s the Robeys built several houses on the south side of the 4400 block of Albemarle Street.

Their back yards abutted those of the Alton Place houses and some Robey descendants believe they were considered part of Robeyville.

In August 1898, David Stone platted Asbury Park, likely named for Methodist Bishop Francis Ashbury.

It was just over six acres, a small subdivision, especially when compared with nearby American University Park subdivided a few years earlier by Stone and J.D. Croissant.

Asbury Park, like American University Park, was part of the Addison portion of Friendship, the 3,124-acre tract patented to Addison and Stoddert in 1713.

In 1865, W.D.C. Murdock, Addison’s descendant, subdivided a part of Friendship south of Murdock Mill Road, extending to River Road on the east and across Massachusetts Avenue to the west.

One of these parcels, the Deakins farm just south of Murdock Mill Road, ultimately became Asbury Park.

While American University Park attracted real estate men from the City of Washington like Stone and Croissant, Asbury Park, despite David Stone’s initial involvement, was definitely a Tenleytown enterprise.

T. J. Giles, a Tenleytown resident who invested in real estate, was the owner and or builder of five houses in the new American University Park and First Addition. He was equally active in Asbury Park, primarily as a realtor.

In 1893 James W. Robey moved from Merrifield, Virginia to Tenleytown where, he had learned from his friend Edward Parks, land was available and so was construction work. With him came his seven sons and two daughters: Frederick, Albert, Virginia, James, William, Elmer, Effie, Alonzo, and Bernard. The children ranged in age from two to twenty-one years.

The Robeys were prepared as father and sons were skilled in the building trades. It is probable that the Robeys shared Croissant’s and Stone’s hopes and expectations that the creation of American University would generate a building boom in its environs.

But because of a depression in the financial building business, they were 20 years ahead of other developers in American University Park.  The little one-block unpaved street came to be called “Robeyville” rather than Ashbury Park.

Today the 4400 block of Alton Place includes several later houses built from 1924 to 1951 but like the houses in the Grant Road Historic District built between the mid-nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth century, and those in Mt. Airy, particularly in the 4800 block of 41st Street, Robeyville, retains the ambience and charm of its early years.  

The names Robeyville and Asbury Park are rarely used now and the area is generally included in American University Park, a neighborhood greatly expanded from its late nineteenth century boundaries. 


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