Automobiling on The Avenue

Automobiling on The Avenue (HM1DRO)

Location: Washington, DC 20012
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 58.143', W 77° 1.653'

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Battleground to Community

— Brightwood Heritage Trail —

This busy section once was a "Country Road" to Washingtonians looking for peace and recreation. If you drove by here a century ago, you would have passed woods and large estates, and might even have seen fox hunters. Across Georgia was the private Villa Flora Club, with live music and fine dining amid "spacious lawn, rich with the perfume of roses." Among its attractive modern conveniences: telephone service and electric lighting. By 1907 the club's 1,000 members frequently made the society columns. The Villa Flora closed around 1915.

The Villa Flora rented meeting space to other organizations, and in 1906 leased property to the Automobile Club of Washington to build its club house. This Social club appealed to the city's earliest car owners, men of wealth and leisure who could afford the expensive "sport" of "automobiling." From here it was a short ride to the Brightwood Trotting Park, which briefly offered commercial auto races. In one 1903 event, the fastest cars traveled at 15miles per hour. When the Washington club affiliated with the American Automobile Association, members gained access to other AAA clubhouses for dining and sleeping accommodations long before motels and fast food restaurants lined America's highways. By the 1920s, falling prices for automobiles greatly increased the number of drivers and took most of the sport out of automobiling.

Long after housing replaced the open fields, Beck's Polar Bear frozen custard stand across Georgia, roughly where the Safeway parking lot is today, attracted folks from all over. The large plaster polar bears became a neighborhood landmark.
Marker Number12
Placed ByCultural Heritage DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 8th, 2014 at 6:48am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 324346 N 4315297
Decimal Degrees38.96905000, -77.02755000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 58.143', W 77° 1.653'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 58' 8.58" N, 77° 1' 39.18" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1211 Underwood St NW, Washington DC 20012, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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