American University Park and Tenleytown, share many of the same attributes. Their tree-lined streets of mostly detached, single-family homes — the majority sporting front decks or stoops — lie in the city’s highest elevations and are home to a tight-knit neighborhood community. Though American University Park (often referred to as AU Park named after the university the neighborhood encompasses) is mostly residential, neighboring Tenleytown’s stretch of Wisconsin Avenue is the area’s commercial center.
While AU Park was founded in the 1920s by the developers of the Spring Valley and Wesley Heights neighborhoods, Tenleytown’s history stretches back nearly two centuries further. Tenleytown, in 1790 called “Tennally’s Town” after area tavern owner, John Tennally, is the site of Fort Reno, one of the Civil War fortifications around Washington, D.C., and the highest natural point in the District of Columbia. Fort Reno, decommissioned with the surrender of the Confederate armies, became a free black community. Now a park, Fort Reno hosts community gardens, free concerts in the summer, and many other outdoor amenities for the local community.
In 2010, Tenleytown Heritage Trail, a path that starts from the metro station and passes by neighborhood landmarks including the studios of WRC-TV, Washington’s NBC station, opened to the public. Defined by Tenley Circle, which lies at the intersection of Nebraska Avenue, Wisconsin Avenue, and Yuma Street, Tenleytown is the second oldest village in D.C. (Georgetown is the oldest).
The 4400 and 4500 blocks of Grant Road epitomize the rural and historical character of the area. In addition to some of the original paving stones being visible at the curb near Grant Road and Wisconsin Avenue, Victorian and cottage style homes grace the country lane style and recall its bygone eras.