Images of America: Woodley Park
with Gregory Alexander
Once an area consisting of wooded land and scattered farmsteads in the late 18th century, Woodley Park has transformed into an affluent residential neighborhood that has undergone massive growth, and today is one of Washington, D.C.'s most sought-after neighborhoods to reside.
Woodley Park's history is full of continuous and dramatic change, beginning in 1797 when Francis Scott Key's uncle purchased a 250 acre wooded parcel and three years later built "Woodley," a house today owned by the Maret School. It wasn't until a century later, however, that the neighborhood was connected to Washington city by the "million dollar bridge" over Rock Creek Park that the area began to attract new residents escaping the heat of downtown and arriving in mass by electric trolley.
Woodley Park contains numerous images of prominent homes built during the neighborhoods infancy, Mills along rock creek, the beginnings of the National Zoo, and construction pictures during the real estate boom of the 1920s, that include the prominent Woodley Park and Shoreham Hotels, built along with many of its houses by prolific Washington builder and Woodley Park resident Harry Wardman. Throughout its history, Woodley Park has been simultaneously called home by several U.S. Presidents, statesmen, diplomats, hotel visitors and the working class alike.