Named for Brig. Gen. Joseph G. Totten, Chief of Engineers, Fort Totten is located in the Northeast part of Washington, D.C., approximately three miles north of the Capitol. The neighborhood grew up around what once was a small army fort built during the Civil War to repel potential Confederate invaders and the home where President Lincoln enjoyed spending his summers was known to be nearby. After the war, the fort was left in ruins until the D.C. government purchased the property, along with a number of other abandoned forts, for developing into a series of parks and recreation areas. One of those is Fort Totten Park, which features green spaces with walking and jogging paths, several play areas for children and is still maintained by the National Park Service today. Remnants of the more than 60 forts of varying size and design that used to stand in the area still remain, including parts of the original Fort Totten.
Many of Fort Totten’s residents have remained in the area for three decades or more, enjoying the quiet atmosphere, tall oak trees and friendly neighbors. Countless homes are centralized around the gently rolling Fort Totten Drive and scattered along off shooting east-west streets, with a combination of single-family homes, row houses, duplexes and apartment complexes. Soon they will be welcoming a new commercial complex, the combined Fort Totten Place and Art Place at Fort Totten, which will bring more than 1,000 new residential units and hundreds of thousands of square feet of retail space, plus a future expansion to include Explore! – a children’s museum. It could also be the beginning of an influx of new people and businesses to the area. Bringing the whole area together is the easy access to public transportation with Fort Totten metro station, a transfer point between the Green and Red Lines of Washington Metro, located no more than a 15-minute walk from any point in the neighborhood.