Posted tagged ‘Tenleytown’

Portrait of Tenleytown in 1908

June 5, 2014

Today I’m continuing to re-post a series of articles that were originally published in the Washington Times that paint caricatures of various Washington neighborhoods as they were in 1908. I’ve previously posted the articles for Georgetown and Anacostia. Today’s focuses on Tenleytown.

Tennallytown BannerTennallytown cartoon

Even Old Inhabitants Fail to Agree on Correct Orthography.


Spelling on Tombstones Depends Usually on Death-Bed Requests.


JUST AS soon as a yongster passes the milk-botte stage, he draws his fond parent aside and asks a few pertinent questions. If he’s a real bright lad, with an ambition to become a politician some day her first tries to learn his name and how to spell it. Then, inasmuch as a politician must be born somewhere, or everywhere, he proceeds to that important detail, ascertaining from whence he came and how to spell it.

If you were to see that same lad forty years later and he didn’t know how to spell the name of his own town, ‘t would be an awful jolt to you. Yet I ran into a whole ‘covey of fellows out Tenleytown way the other day, who didn’t know how to spell the place, never had, never will, and never expect to. Wherefore, I started an investigation.

I ran up on several old residents who had been there ever since they were born, which was all I could expect of them, who confided to me that the same distressing state of affairs existed in the old days. Whenever teacher would find a real scholarly lad, who had a nickname for every word in the Blue Back Speller, and mowed down the other fellows at the spelling bee each Friday, teacher would always end the agony by saying: “Now spell Tenleytown, Willie.” Then Willie made five stabs and took his seat with the rest of them.


I didn’t have time to get acquainted with all the different ways of spelling this village, but was formally introduced to the following:

  • Tenlytown.
  • Tenleytown.
  • Tenalytown.
  • Tenallytown.
  • Tennalytown.
  • Tennallytown.
  • Tenley, D.C.

Indignation meetings, street corner confabs, petitions, official rulings, mass meetings and various other devices have been tried. I was to understand by the oldest residents, with a view of deciding the question. The old fellows spoke plaintively as they were made to realize that the undertaker would call at their house, sooner or later, and that, apt as not, some young fellow would carve Tenleytown on the tombstone in a manner altogether different from what the departed had been accustomed to in life.

As everybody in Tenleytown has a favorite way of spelling the name, it should be a well-recognized theory that all death-bed requests, as to how the epitaph shall read, must be faithfully observed. (more…)

Tenleytown Heritage Trail Unveiling & Celebration Tomorrow, 10/13

November 12, 2010

If you are looking for something to do this weekend — and like history, culture, and walking tours — you may want to head over to Ward 3’s Tenleytown tomorrow. Cultural Tourism, DC‘s latest heritage trail will be unveiled and include a neighborhood celebration co-hosted by Rebecca Sheir, producer and host of WAMU’s Metro Connection, and Chris Gordon, reporter and legal analyst for NBC4.

According to the celebration’s announcement, “the Tenleytown Heritage Trail’s 19 sidewalk signs combine storytelling with photography to celebrate a DC community that started as a tiny village centered around John Tennally’s tavern, years before George Washington chose the site of the nation’s capital. Among the trail’s highlights are the city’s official highest point at the Civil War-era Fort Reno; the mostly African American community that grew up around the fort and survived until about 1950; important educational institutions, including American University; and communications pioneers. Kermit the Frog got his start in a Tenleytown television studio, and numerous radio and TV stations still broadcast from the neighborhood.”

The Cultural Tourism, DC, Web site includes a map of the trail and a digital version of the trail’s booklet for those that are interested in more information prior to going.

Details below:

When: Saturday, November 13, 2010, 1 to 4 pm
Where: Fort Reno Bandstand, Chesapeake St. between 40th St. & Nebraska Ave. , NW

Unveiling 1 pm
Fort Reno with Councilmember Mary Cheh and other special guests.

Trailwalk 2-4 pm
Featuring neighborhood stories and open houses.
Total trail walking distance: 3 miles

Metro: Take the Red line to the Tenleytown station, use east exit. Walk north on 40th Street two blocks, then east on Chesapeake Street half a block.


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