The Countryside is Urbanized
In the late 1800s, Fairlawn was a suburb of spacious estates and gardens owned exclusively by whites, and mostly of German descent. Plat maps from 1894 name most of the large property owners, several of whom were well-known business people – Arthur Christie, Henry A. Linger, Hosmer Parsons, John C. Garden, Henry A. Griswald, Charles Hayes, Henrietta Smith, James White, Adolphus Gude, and Christian
Ruppert, to name a few.
“Fairlawn” was the name of Dr. Arthur Christie‟s estate. As described in the Washington Post, it stretched roughly from Harrison Road (Good Hope Road) and the Anacostia River to 16th Street. Christie, whose fortune was based upon real estate, was known to be one of the wealthiest property owners in the Anacostia area. He threw “fancy” dinner parties and his estate was described as having “pretty” tennis courts.
Wealthy landowner, Adolphus Gude, was a florist in business with his brother. Some say Gude was responsible for naming the area “Fair Lawn.” Gude‟s estate, Gudemont, was adjacent to
Fairlawn, 1903 G.M. Baist Real Estate Atlas, Library of Congress
the German Orphan Asylum on Good Hope Road. Established in 1879 on 32 acres of land, the German Orphan Asylum was located approximately where the Marbury Plaza Apartment complex is today. The orphanage was supported by the federal government and well-to-do Washingtonians of German descent, including Adolph Cluss, prominent architect and designer of Eastern Market. It served white youth between the ages of 3 and 11.
Upon his death in 1891, wealthy businessman Christian Ruppert left $5,600 to the orphan asylum for the erection of a home for the elderly. It was to be named the Christian and Eleanora Ruppert Home for the Aged and Infirm. The home was built in 1902 on four acres of the asylum‟s property, roughly at the center of today‟s Fairlawn Estates at 22nd and T Place. Both institutions operated until the 1950‟s.
Another family of florists who were Scottish, John and Alexander Garden were also large land holders in Fairlawn. Their property stretched from Naylor Road, between the Christie property to Minnesota Avenue. In 1903, Henry, Charles and Edward Linger each resided on property they owned between 17th and 19th Streets along what is now Good Hope Road. The Linger family had been owners in the Fairlawn community since at least 1878. Their wealth came from manufacturing mattresses.
Fairlawn had only a few roadways in the late 19th century, indicative of its rural character. Among these were Burnt Bridge Road, Naylor Road, S Street, T Street, 16th Street, 17th Street, Harrison Street (Good Hope Road), and Anacostia Avenue (Minnesota Avenue). The area that is considered Fairlawn today incorporates a portion of Twining City, which had been subdivided by 1888. The streets of this neighborhood included – Prout Street, Carroll Street (later 22nd Street), Nicholson Avenue, and
2 FAIRLAWN: From the Flats to the Heights