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History of Brookland neighborhood GW course and research collection,

Identifier: MS2058

Collection Scope and Content

The collection contains a complete final draft of the book, "Images of Brookland," the original preliminary papers submitted by the students, the original cover photographs, the cover layout and the miscellaneous materials which were relevant during the course of the study. The book was first published in 1979. The last folder contains brief biographical information about the neighborhood residents that were interivewed as part of the course.


  • 1979

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

Restrictions on Use

Some material may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the patron's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections.

Historical or Biographical Note

This collection consists of material related to the production of the book "Images of Brookland" which tells the history and architecture of Brookland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. This study was undertaken for a course in the Urban and Regional Planning Department of the George Washington University, entitled "Inventorying Historical and Cultural Resources" and was conducted by eight graduate students in the Historic Preservation Program. It was edited by George W. McDaniel.

The purpose of the study was mainly to train students in the techniques of inventorying historical and cultural resources and to record such resources of a significant Washington community. Brookland was chosen as the subject of the study. The primary purpose of the study was the attempt to include people from the surveyed community as the main resources. This is one of the first studies that attempts to integrate developmental/architectural history with the community's social history and with substantial oral history from those associated with the community. The students participating in this study have also made a first attempt at correlating occupational status and the styles and types of architecture.

The area called Brookland evolved in the early 1870s, when the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad opened its western branch line in this area. The rail line was situated alongside the fine 1840 Greek Revival farmhouse, Brooks Mansion, home of Colonel Jehiel Brooks.

By the late 1880s, The Catholic University of America established its location just north of Brooks farm. Developers quickly responded to these expansions, creating a new Washington neighborhood beyond the central city and taking its name from Col. Brooks.

The Brookland neighborhood quickly emerged as community that included people of varied economic statuses. Near the larger homes of the more prosperous residents stood the more modest homes of middle- and working-class families. The styles of homes also varied: alongside elaborate Victorian houses were more simple Colonial and Craftsman structures. Unusual examples include John Louthan's Round House (1901) and Carrie Harrison's "Spanish Villa" (1909). Several houses in the 1920s were ordered from the Sears and Roebuck mail-order catalogue: the "Rodessa" model at 1518 Hamlin Street is similar to many modest bungalow style houses built in the neighborhood.

During the early part of the century, the city of Washington became increasingly racially segregated-and Brookland was no exception. Early on, Brookland had been predominantly white, and the area was largely closed to black residents through the 1920s. The anti-black riots that rocked Washington and other American cities in 1919 had little direct effect on Brookland, but the new segregation of the federal civil service under President Woodrow Wilson had more indirect effects. One sign of this shift is the fact that while CUA had earlier enrolled a number of black students, around 1917 the admission policy changed to include only white students. Only in the 1930s would the Brookland neighborhood-and the University--become more racially integrated.

In the early days, Brookland, a community of wooden houses – from Victorian Queen Anne to Craftsman-style bungalows – attracted government workers, a few Smithsonian Institution scientists, and people of many ethnic backgrounds who shared the Catholic faith.

Some examples of Brookland Residential Architecture, for the most part, middle-class residential housing, include: a Queen Anne style at 3425 14th Street, NE, The Rodessa, a 1920s Sears and Roebuck catalogue house at 1518 Hamlin Street, NE, and a Victorian cottage at 1351 Otis Street, NE.


1.5 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Collection contains materials such as the complete final draft of the book, "Images of Brookland," the original preliminary papers submitted by the students, the original cover photographs, the cover layout and the miscellaneous materials which were relevant during the course of the study. The book was published in 1979.

Physical Location

Materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.

History of Brookland neighborhood book components collection, 1979
Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository

2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America