Tenleytown, then and now

When you walk into Tenleytown, you might never suspect that you were in one of the oldest neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. Since its establishment, the neighborhood has evolved beyond its small beginnings.

Aerial sketch of Tenleytown in the 1940s. Photo by Tenleytown Historical Society Collection.

Aerial sketch of Tenleytown in the 1940s. Photo courtesy of the Tenleytown Historical Society Collection.

Tenleytown originally formed around the intersection of River Road and Wisconsin Avenue.The neighborhood’s name comes from the Tennally Tavern, built in 1791 and one of the first buildings in the area, according to the Tenleytown Historical Society website. The tavern itself no longer stands, but the name has stuck throughout the years.

Tenleytown has multiple historic sites, but one of the area’s most prominent is the former site of Fort Reno. The fort was a military base built to defend the Union’s Capital during the Civil War, as reported by the National Park Service website. It was one of the strongest forts in the D.C. area, according to the NPS website. The fort was eventually disassembled to make way for a reservoir.

Today in its place is Fort Reno Park, a community gathering place and home of the popular Fort Reno summer concerts, as reported by the Fort Reno website.

Residents of Tenleytown appreciate all that D.C has to offer to them.

“We love Washington, D.C. It is the greatest place,” Tenleytown resident, Cathy Kereyche, 58, said while standing with her friend, Jackie Davis, 54.

Though Tenleytown residents like Kereyche and Davis enjoy the town they live in, problems still spill out from other parts of D.C., according to Christina McTighe, a 28-year-old associate librarian. Her biggest problem is with the school systems.

McTighe focuses more on the positive aspects of living in D.C, however.

“When you think of D.C, you think of monuments or the suburban area with crime,” McTighe said. “There is a lot more going on with family life.”

Tenleytown has a lot to offer as well, according to McTighe.

“We’re really close to the Metro station, the houses are nice to look at, [and] there’s a really good Indian place across the street [from the Tenleytown library],” McTighe said.

With all of the different shops, restaurants and people around her, McTighe appreciates the diversity that she is able to find in Tenleytown, she said.

“Preserving diversity is important for [our] community and D.C. as a whole,” McTighe said.