Top of the Town
— Tenleytown Heritage Trail —
When NBC radio and television and its local affiliate,WRC, moved to these new headquarters in 1958, the average TV screen measured 12 inches. The facility opened with six studios—three TV and three radio. Soon history happened here.
On October 7, 1960, some 70 million viewers watched asNBC broadcast the second televised presidential debate, withcandidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy facing four reporters. It was widely reported that Nixon used makeup to cover his 5 o'clock shadow, better to compete with the tanned and telegenic young Senator Kennedy.
Also in these TV studios, former University of Maryland student Jim Henson introduced a green puppet named Kermit to the world, leading to a regular show on WRC called Sam and Friends.
Over the years, high school whiz kids have competed to answer Mac McGarry's questions on WRC's It's Academic.
Here the much-imitated Meet the Press got its start. The radio studios launched "the Joy Boys," former American University students Ed Walker and Willard Scott, whose antics were beamed regionally and to armed forces stationed around the world.
(Marker reverse, same on all markers in this series)
Tenelytown's story begins with Native American footpaths that crossed at the highestnatural elevation in what became Washington, DC. European settlers broadened the paths into roads, and in the late 1700s the enterprising John Tennally opened a tavern at the intersection of today's Wisconsin Avenue and River Road. Soon a community known as Tennallytown surrounded the tavern. Until the early 1880s Tennallytown remained a village amid rural Washington County, where about a dozen tightly knit and often inter-married families dominated daily life. Then modern transportation made Tenleytown easily accessible to downtown andpushed it into the 20th century.
Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail
shows you where, during the Civil War, the Union Army created Fort Reno. See where a mostly African American community grew up on—and eventually was erased from—the grounds of the old fort. Discover traces of Tenleytown's rural past. Witness the neighborhood's important role in both world wars. And discover where legendary TV and radio personalities got their starts.
Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail
is an Official Washington, DC Walking Trail.The self-guided tour of 19 signs, just under three miles, offers about two hours of gentle exercise.
Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail,
a free booklet capturing the trail's highlights, is available in both English and Spanish language editions at local businesses and institutions along the way. To learn about other DC neighborhoods, please visit www.CulturalTourismDC.org.
Top of the Town: Tenleytown Heritage Trail is produced by Linda Donavan Harper, Alisha Bell, Laura Brower, Mara Cherkasky, Sarah Fairbrother, Helen Gineris, Elizabeth Goldberg, Carmen Harris, Pamela Jafari, Jane Freundel Levey, Akilah Luke,Yillah Rosenfeld, Leon Seemann, Frank Stewart, and Pat Wheeler of Cultural Tourism DC in collaboration with the District Department of Transportation, the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, the U.S. Department of Transportation,the Tenleytown Neighbors Association, the Tenleytown Historical Society, and the Tenleytown Heritage Trail Working Group. Special thanks to Working Group Chair Carolyn Long and Historian Carole Abrams Kolker, and Working Group Members Pat Morders Armbruster, Ed Ashe, Lynn Bergfalk, Cheryl Browning, L.S. "Bill" Chamberlain, Jr., Rev. Dr. Ronald Conner, Gerald Cooke, B.F. Cooling, Jennifer Harry Cullen, Harriet Dwinell, Kenneth Faulstich, Fred Gore, Jean Gore, Frank Haendler Jason Hegy, Sherry Houghton, Donald J. Hunter, Susan Jaquet, Deborah Jaquiss, James Johnston, Karol "Noonie" Keane,Mary Alice and Richard Levine, Aaron Lloyd, South T. Lynn, Bernard McDermott, Jean M. Pablo, the late Matt Pavuk, Dick Randall, Kathryn Ray, Chris Schumann, Sterling Scroggins, Carolyn Sherman, Diane Tamayo, Marvin Tievsky,Rhoda Trooboff, Jane Waldmann, Cathy Wiss, and Doug Wonderlic.
Thank you also to ANCs 3E and 3F, Jim Anderson, Jean Bathurst, Brian Bowers, Yvonne Carignan, Jane Charter, Dustin Davis, John and Linda Derrick, James Embrey, Kathleen Franz, Pamela Gardner, Matt Glassman, Nicole Goldman, Mark Greek, Ashley Hair, Jeannette Harper, Ron Harvey, Faye Haskins, Mary Herbert, Judith Helm, Bill Jarrett, Joel Kemelhor,Maryanne Ball Kendall, Brian Kraft, Susan and Greg Lewis, Camille Martone, Lisa McCarty, Susan McElrath, Alison McWilliams, Eda Offutt, Elvi Moore, Anne Manoukian Page, Eddy Palanzo, Lewis Parker, Khalim Piankhi, Brian Porto, Bill Reeves, Priscilla D. Ricker, Nelson Rimensnyder, Donna Burrows Rose, Kathryn S. Smith, Barbara D. Tate, Barry Tillman, Rebecca Trachtman, Emma Byrum Weaver, Hayden Wetzel, Jerry Wheat, and Bruce Yarnall.
Photo of Fort Reno Park water towers (1928) on each sign appears courtesy, The Washington Post.
(Marker shows a copyright dated 2010.) Design by Karol A. Keane Design, Map by Bowring Cartographic.