From Foxall to Foxhall: Exploring a Tudor Village in Northwest DC

From Foxall to Foxhall: Exploring a Tudor Village in Northwest DC


Reply Man admits there was a time when any point out of Foxhall Highway reminded him of a colonial mansion he assumed should have as soon as stood within the space. The highway north of Georgetown certainly takes its identify from Fox Corridor, which in flip should have taken its identify from the animals that lived within the close by woods.

Nicely, it seems that Foxhall Highway NW is known as after an individual. And his identify wasn’t even Foxhall. It was foxall: Henry FoxallAmerica’s first main protection contractor.

Foxall (1758-1823) was an Englishman who immigrated to Pennsylvania and started making farm implements at his foundry in Philadelphia. After Thomas Jefferson requested him to open a foundry in Washington to fabricate weapons, one may say that Foxall went from plowshares to swords. In 1800 he moved to Washington, founding the Columbia Foundry. He was quickly making round 100 weapons a 12 months.

The foundry was on the banks of the Potomac throughout from the Three Sisters Islands, a simple drive from Foxall’s Georgetown house and even simpler from his summer time house, Spring Hill Farm. This property stood on land bounded right now by P Road, forty fourth Road and Foxhall Highway NW.

Foxall bought the foundry in 1815, the identical 12 months he financed the development of a Methodist church at 14th and G Streets NW. He had change into wealthy constructing instruments to kill males, now he would endow a instrument to save lots of their souls. (The descendant of this church, Foundry United Methodist, is on sixteenth Road NW.)

Final week on this area, Reply Man explored Foxhall Crescents, an upscale 1980s housing estate conceived by Arthur Cotton Moore who aped the Royal Crescent in Tub, England. Not distant is an older housing property that’s much more harking back to Blighty: Foxhall Village.

Visiting Foxhall Village is like stumbling throughout a quaint English city that magically materialized between Reservoir Highway, Foxhall Highway, Glover-Archbold Park and P Road NW. The one approach it might be extra English is that if a collection of homicide thriller had caught the eye of an beginner sleuth who makes use of his disarming abilities to disclose the offender.

The primary commercial in The Washington Publish for Foxhall Village appeared on October 4, 1925. Even permitting for the hyperbole of the time, it got here throughout fairly strongly: “By no means earlier than within the historical past of the nation’s capital have homes like this one was supplied to the individuals of Washington! It is a literal truth!

Builders Harry Okay. Boss and H. Glenn Phelps had bought land that was a part of Spring Hill Farm from Foxall. Boss had apparently fallen in love with English townhouse design whereas on a visit to England, a visit that included a go to to the aforementioned Royal Crescent in Tub.

The corporate has employed the district architect James Cooper to design 190 townhouses within the Tudor Revival fashion. It is a look immediately recognizable by its half-timbering: darkish picket beams set in opposition to a pale stucco background. Cooper’s designs additionally included slate roofs, ornamental herringbone brickwork, double-hung picket sash home windows, and chimneys topped with ornamental clay pots. (As with different unique developments in Ward 3 on the time, race pacts prohibited the sale of houses to African Individuals and Jews.)

Foxhall Highway was as soon as generally known as Ridge Highway, for its place alongside the heights overlooking the Potomac. It was additionally typically rendered on maps as “Foxall” Highway. Boss and Phelps selected the spelling “Foxhall” for his or her village. When one other developer, William Waverly Taylor, constructed 106 townhouses on land south of the Boss and Phelps neighborhood in 1928, he dubbed the event Foxall Village. It additionally featured Tudor Revival fashion homes.

Six extra homes had been constructed 5 years later by a 3rd developer, Cooper Lightbown and Son. These too had been of Olde English-y design. In 2007, all the district – some 310 buildings – was designated Foxhall Village Historic District.

When The Publish wrote about Foxhall Village, it complimented the best way the dwellings had been laid out, with some homes additional away, others additional again – stepped backs, within the parlance of architects. This created “nice individuality” whereas “preserving the concord of every group”.

Thus, inside a mile of one another, we are able to see two architects selecting two totally different approaches: at Foxhall Crescent, Moore tried to make separate homes seem joined, whereas at Foxhall Village , Cooper tried to make related houses appear separate.

Paul and Charlotte Don Vito moved to Foxhall Village in 2002. Charlotte is English. Does the neighborhood remind her of the place she grew up?

“Sure,” Paul stated. “However, if something, this can be a extra excellent England than the place she got here from. It is undoubtedly an idealized model of Britain.

It is the season of thanks. (As Boss and Phelps may need stated: It is a literal truth!) It is also the season for giving to these much less lucky.

The Washington Publish Serving to Hand raises cash for 3 district charities working to finish homelessness and starvation: Miriam’s kitchen, bread for town and place of friendship. You possibly can donate to any of them – or all of them! – visiting

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