AU PARK

Neighborhood Profile

American University Park is home to some of the District’s highest elevations and an institution of higher learning.

American University Park houses

Named for the university, American University Park (AU Park) is blanketed with single family homes in a wide variety of architectural styles.

American University Park stands out as a peaceful and family-friendly neighborhood with a strong sense of community. Known for its tree-lined streets and a mix of architectural styles, including Colonial and Tudor Revival homes, AU Park exudes a suburban feel while maintaining urban accessibility. The neighborhood’s proximity to American University contributes to its academic ambiance, attracting both students and professionals.

The real estate market in AU Park is characterized by detached single-family homes and rowhouses. The demand for real estate in AU Park remains steady due to its excellent schools, green spaces like Turtle Park, and convenient location near amenities and public transportation. The housing market reflects a mix of historic charm and contemporary updates, making American University Park a desirable residential destination for those seeking a blend of tranquility and city living.

Why We Love It

  • Generous lot sizes
  • Highly-rated schools
  • Proximity to Wisconsin Ave amenities
  • Family vibe
  • Proximity to university

Nearby

  • Chevy Chase DC
  • Spring Valley
  • Tenleytown
  • Wesley Heights
  • North Cleveland Park
  • Cathedral Heights

CAREN L

“Our process was smooth and quick, and they designed a strategy and negotiated a sale well above our asking price; and a purchase price below asking – both in the same market.”

AU Park Market Data

American University Park History

Friendship Tract

From a 3,124 acre wooded tract named “Friendship” granted to James Stoddert and Col. Thomas Addison, the land that would evolve into the American University Park neighborhood was settled in 1713 and passed down through the Addison family. In 1760, relation John Murdock built the area’s first residence, a single story frame house on what is now Massachusetts Avenue, near the southern border of the property. Eventually, a chain of farms grew in the area, linked to one another and Murdock Mill by Murdock Mill Road. The mill was located near today’s Dalecarlia Parkway, and the Murdock family ran it until 1889. John Murdock enjoyed entertaining and hosted many notables, including George Washington and Abraham and Mary Lincoln at his estate. One of the area farms belonged to brothers Samuel and Levi Burrows, who purchased the land between the mill and what is now Western Avenue, from John Murdock’s grandson, W.D.C. Murdock, during the mid-1800s. The Murdocks kept about 800 acres south of the mill in the family, including what are now Ward Circle and the Katzen Arts Center. During the Civil War, Murdock’s tract became Fort Gaines. The American University campus functioned as a training center and the Burrows property, adjacent to Fort Bayard, was used as barracks and parade grounds. Local lore states that Mrs. Burrows was personally acquainted with President Lincoln and hosted him for informal meals during his visits to the fort.

AU Park Subdivision

According to wdchumanities.org; “The American University Park subdivision was the product of real estate investors John D. Croissant and David D. Stone” and “the first purchase of land for American University Park included an area of 54.367 acres. The second purchase included 70 acres along Murdock Mill Road.” The first house Croissant & Stone built was 4701 Fessenden Street, a large 2.5 story Queen Anne-style residence, c. 1880. By 1897, ten more Queen Annes were under construction and in the next five years, construction would being by others in the area on such projects as the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge, Washington Cathedral School for Girls and St. Albans School for Boys. Development slowed in the Croissant & Stone subdivision, mostly due to last of transportation, and just 7 new homes were built by 1903. One of these was a small Queen Anne designed for David Stone’s son Robert in 1900 at 4901 47th Street. John Croissant died, and his son DeWitt took over the subdivision, which had stopped selling altogether by 1904. For more than 20 years, only one completed house sat on each block, with the exception of 4900 47th Street, a speculative Craftsman bungalow c. 1911, built by DeWitt Croissant.

Murdock Mill

In 1889 the “Friendship” tract, including the Murdock estate house, was purchased by Achsah C Davis. Less than a year later, Davis, or the Davis estate, sold 90 acres of two tracts known by then as “Saint Philip and Jacob” and “Friendship” to Bishop John Hourst on February 28, 1890 for $100,000.00. Also in 1890, the Georgetown and Tennallytown Railway line started to run across a stretch of land that is now Wisconsin Avenue. By late 1892, Congress had chartered the university, but funding took thirty years and it wasn’t dedicated until 1914. In 1896-97, the Burrows brothers sold a parcel north of Murdock Mill Road for the American University Park subdivision.

A New Chapter

It wasn’t until the 1940’s that homes completely filled the empty lots between the original farmhouses and the Croissant & Stone dwellings. The neighborhood was re-energized by a population boom and new builders bought the lots abandoned by failed developers. Spec homes sprouted up and larger lots were further subdivided. Historians say that in 1925, the remaining 50-acre tract of the Burrows estate was sold and platted into residential building lots. American University Park soon became a completed middle-class residential neighborhood with architectural styles including Colonial, Craftsman, and Tudor Revival. The Burrows farmhouse, located near what is today the corner of 45th and Ellicott, stood through all the subdivisions and commercial development and in 1924 was relocated to 4624 Verplanck Street, where it still sits. Other surviving farmhouses are 4716 48th Street and 4308 46th Street. The construction date of 4308 46th Street is debatable, possibly elements of an original structure c. early 1800’s are present but much of the residence has been rebuilt over time.

Evolution of AU Park

AU Park never became a “hot” Washington DC subdivision, but today it is an upscale and vital neighborhood with steadily rising real estate values and a desirable school pyramid.

AU Park Schools

JANNEY ELEMENTARY

Public • Grades PK-5

ALICE DEAL MIDDLE

Public • Grades 6-8

JACKSON-REED

Public • Grades 9-12

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