Photo credit: Traceries , 05/2001

Property Name: West Riverdale Historic District
Date Listed: 12/23/2002
Inventory No.: PG:68-93
Location: Riverdale, Prince Georges County

Description: West Riverdale Historic District is bordered by Baltimore Avenue (US 1) to the east and East-West Highway (MD 410) to the north. The City of Hyattsville wraps around the western and southern sides of the neighborhood. The neighborhood was appended to Riverdale Park soon after it was laid out and platted in 1906. West Riverdale was enlarged in 1937 by the platting of "Dr. R.A. Bennett's Residue Riverdale" and presently consists of six blocks with Queensbury Road as the primary east-west corridor. West Riverdale is defined by a modest variety of architectural styles and building types ranging from early-20th century vernacular interpretations of popular styles to diluted, suburbanized examples of revival styles that dominated the second quarter of the 20th century. Primarily, the domestic resources in West Riverdale date from the 1910s to infill housing of the 1980s, although the majority of buildings predate 1942. Architectural styles presented in the district were often diluted, illustrating modest examples of Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, Craftsman, and Tudor Revival styles. The neighborhood is primarily made up of single-family dwellings that surround the centrally located Eugene Leland Memorial Hospital (now known as the Crescent Cities Health and Rehabilitation Center). Many of the properties include freestanding or attached garages or sheds. The buildings are buffered from the tree-lined public streets by sidewalks and grassy medians.

Significance: West Riverdale is an excellent illustration of the residential development taking place on the outskirts of Washington, D.C., in the early 20th century. The property, historically part of the Calvert family's Riversdale plantation, was subdivided in response to an expanding suburban population and the development of neighboring Riverdale Park, which is located to the immediate east of Baltimore Avenue. Initially platted by Charles Benedict Calvert in 1853 as "Ellaville," 62 acres of the 19th century subdivision were purchased in 1906 by Francis Carmody and replatted as "West Riverdale." Although the neighborhood experienced little initial growth, development in West Riverdale exploded in 1915 after local rest estate developer Walter R. Wilson purchased 200 unimproved lots. West Riverdale was incorporated as part of the Town of Riverdale in 1920. Growth of the neighborhood continued at a steady pace until the 1930s, when over half of the buildings were erected. Platted in 1937, "Dr. R.A. Bennett's Residue Riverdale" completed the West Riverdale community, which became the home of Prince George's County's first hospital in 1941. The increasing population and commercial and governmental growth of metropolitan Washington, D.C., most notably during the last 20 years of the 20th century, has resulted in further development of the Town of Riverdale. This late-20th century growth was predominantly commercial and centered along Baltimore Avenue, thereby physically and visually separating West Riverdale from the Town of Riverdale. The chronological development of West Riverdale is documented by its architecture, which dates from the 1910s to 1942, with minimal infill in the latter half of the 20th century. West Riverdale presents an eclectic collection of modest building forms dressed in high-style ornamentation reflecting the Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Tudor Revival styles. Building forms vary from 2 1/2-story brick and wood frame dwellings to smaller bungalow and Cape Cod residences.


Boundary Map

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