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Cleveland Park Metro Stop - Orange Line - 3599 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008

Cleveland Park is a residential neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. It is located at 38°56′11″N 77°3′58″W and bounded approximately by Rock Creek Park to the east, Wisconsin and Idaho Avenues to the west, Klingle and Woodley Roads to the south, and Rodman and Tilden Streets to the north. Its main commercial corridor lies along Connecticut Avenue, NW, where the eponymous Cleveland Park station of the Washington Metro's Red Line can be found. The neighborhood is known for its many late 19th century homes and the historic Art Deco Uptown Theater. It is also home to the William L. Slayton House and the Park and Shop, built in 1930 and one of the earliest strip malls.

History

The first American settler was General Uriah Forrest, an aide-de-camp of George Washington who built an estate called Rosedale (now at 3501 Newark Street) in 1793, when he began serving as a Congressman from Maryland. Later, it housed Youth For Understanding, an international student exchange organization. In 2002, the Rosedale grounds were placed in a public conservancy, and the farmhouse, said to be the oldest house in Washington, returned to residential use. Other estates followed. Gardiner Greene Hubbard, first president of the National Geographic Society, built the colonial Georgian revival Twin Oaks on 50 acres (200,000 m²) in 1888. It was used as a summer home by the Hubbard family, including Alexander Graham Bell and is today home of the diplomatic mission of the Republic of China on Taiwan. Tregaron, present-day home of the Washington International School, is a Georgian house built in 1912.

The neighborhood acquired its name after 1886, when President Grover Cleveland purchased a stone farmhouse directly opposite Rosedale and remodeled it into a Queen Anne style summer estate called Oak View or Oak Hill (by other accounts, Red Top). When Cleveland lost his bid for re-election, the property was sold in 1888, and construction in the neighborhood shifted away from summer estates.

Uptown Movie Theatre in Cleveland Park

Early large-scale development was spurred by the neighborhood's upland topography, which provided a breezy relief from the hot, fetid air in the lowlands that were then the built-up area of Washington, D.C. Most of the houses built during this period show their intended use as summer houses in the era before air conditioning, having such architectural features as wide porches, large windows, and overhanging eaves.

After electric streetcars connected Cleveland Park to downtown Washington in the early 1890s, the neighborhood's second phase of development as a "streetcar suburb" began. The Cleveland Park Company oversaw construction on numerous plots starting in 1894. Most houses were designed by individual architects and builders, including Waddy B. Wood, resulting in an eclectic mix of the popular architectural styles of the time, notably the Queen Anne style (including the Shingle style), Georgian Revival, and the Mission Revival. In later years, simpler schools such as the Prairie style and Tudor Revival came to dominate.

Yenching Palace (now a Walgreens)

Development proceeded in fits and starts, punctuated by such events as the bankruptcy of the Cleveland Park Company in 1905 and the Great Depression in the 1930s. As a result, houses of very different sizes, natures, and styles can often be seen next to one another. In the later 20th century, Winthrop Faulkner and I. M. Pei designed houses in the neighborhood as well.

Civic Groups

The Cleveland Park Citizens Association (CPCA) was established in 1911 by residents of the Cleveland Park area. The Association was incorporated in 1964 as the "Connecticut Avenue Citizens Association." The name was changed in 1966 to the current name, Cleveland Park Citizens Association. Over the years, it has raised money for the construction of the local library branch, the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library. It is a member of the Federation of Citizens Associations of the District of Columbia.

The Cleveland Park Historical Society, founded 1985, strives to document and preserve the history and architecture of the neighborhood, and especially the historic district, which was designated in 1987. The Society sponsors an annual house tour in the neighborhood.

The Cleveland Park Club was founded in 1922 to "promote social intercourse, recreation and sports, literature and the arts, and for mutual improvement" of the neighborhood in the days before television and widespread broadcasting and movies. The next year, the Club purchased an 1895 house to use as its base. Events included such entertainment as plays, songfests, and dances. With the construction of a swimming pool, the Club became more centered on recreational swimming, although other activities, including annual potluck suppers on Memorial Day and Labor Day, a day camp, and other occasional social and educational events continue.

Education

District of Columbia Public Schools operates public schools.

District of Columbia Public Library operates the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library.