The Brightwood community is chock full of duplex-row homes, wonderful bungalows and and glorious colonials. Many with wide alleys that run behind the houses and large porches where you’re likely to see neighbors enjoying the outside. If space is what you’re looking for, but with an urban feel, Brightwood may be the answer.
Brightwood borders Rock Creek Park, and Crestwood to the west, Shepherd Park and Silver Spring to the north, Takoma Park and Manor Park to the east, 16th Street Heights and Petworth to the south.
The area, originally known as White Mill Seat in 1756, then Peter’s Mill in 1800, then Crystal Springs in 1810, then Brighton in 1840. Residents soon called it Brightwood, in order to distinguish it from Brighton, MD.
There is a spring, called Crystal Springs, at the corner of 14th and Kennedy Streets, that still runs today. Brightwood is also home to Fort Stevens, a Civil war era fort. The fort saw battle, and 40 soldiers are buried in an area close by that is now a National Battleground Military Cemetery. Fort Stevens is now a ‘battleground park’, complete with trenches and cannons.
Walter Reed, the nation’s premier military hospital and research center, once occupied the top Northwest corner of the neighborhood. The former hospital and grounds is now being redeveloped into a multi-purpose center, complete with shopping, park and athletic grounds, a bio-tech center, a language school, a new DC public school and residences. As if that wasn’t enough, the shops at Walter Reed will run into the shops that line Georgia Avenue, cementing a growing, bustling, commercial center of the neighborhood.