Why Is It Named…?

What is the history behind the names of popular locations in Washington?

Centreville during the Civil War

Why Is It Named Centreville?

The town of Centreville was established in 1792, near the intersection of present day Lee Highway and Sully Road. At the time, it was a village named Newgate.
Friendship, the home of the McLean family

Why Is It Named McLean Gardens?

The land on top of which McLean Gardens was built originally was the estate of John Roll McLean (i.e., McLean, VA).
Truxton Circle

Truxton Circle: History of the Neighborhood and Name

Truxton Circle is a neighborhood of Northwest Washington, D.C., named for Commodore Thomas Truxton, a commander appointed by George Washington.
The Three Sisters

Three Sisters Legend: The Story Behind Three Sisters Island

What is the legend behind Three Sisters Island in the Potomac? It dates back centuries to when the Algonquins lived in what became DC.

Why Is It Named Stoddert Elementary School?

I was taking a nice evening walk by Stoddert Elementary School in Glover Park this weekend with Mrs. Ghost and Ghost Dog and, of course, I was curious as to the origin of the school’s name. Clearly...

What Does DC Mean in Washington, DC?

How did Washington, DC get its name? Look to both George Washington and Christopher Columbus.
Greenbelt as seen from the air during construction (Library of Congress)

Why Is It Named Greenbelt?

The area we now know as Greenbelt, Maryland, started in 1937 as a public cooperative community during the New Deal. Interestingly, it was one of three affordable, “green” towns planned a few years earlier by Rexford...
Historic Train station in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Why Is It Named Gaithersburg?

For this edition of “Why Is It Named…?” we will head out to the Maryland suburbs of Gaithersburg. Do you know the town’s origin? We certainly didn’t, until a little sleuthing (and Wikipedia-ing) uncovered the story....
map of Trinidad in 1907

Why Is It Named Trinidad?

You have to admit, it seems little odd that we have a neighborhood named Trinidad. At the same time, it’s fascinating, because there has to be an interesting story behind it. Also, let’s not forget, that...

Why Is It Named Petworth?

Calling all hipsters! Do you know why it’s called Petworth? We’ll go out on a limb and guess that most of you do not (because we didn’t until we dug up a little history). Back in...
Ballston pedestrian bridge (Wikipedia)

Why Is It Named Ballston?

Ball's Crossroads was established as a village in Arlington County in 1874, and in 1895, the official name was changed to Ballston.

Why Is It Named Joint Base Andrews?

Do you know why it’s named Andrews Air Force Base? Who was Andrews? If you know, before reading this, you are an all-star GoDCer. The base’s military history dates back to the Civil War, when Union...
Chain Bridge at the end of the Civil War (Library of Congress)

Why Is It Called Chain Bridge?

In 1872, Congress appropriated $100,000 for a bridge made of iron. Construction lasted until 1874, when it was rechristened "Chain Bridge" without chains.
The Jefferson Pier

Why Is It Named Meridian Hill?

This is a great bit of Washington trivia for everyone to commit to memory … especially if you live anywhere along 16th St. NW. Pierre L’Enfant had originally planned the City of Washington around a right...
Georgia Ave. street sign

Why Is It Named Georgia Avenue?

Okay, it’s not a huge mystery why some of our major streets are named after states in the Union. This was part of the grand plan of L’Enfant, to have grand boulevards at diagonals, all across...
Takoma advertisement in the Sunday Herald - June 14th, 1891

Why is it Named Takoma? … and Some History

Takoma Park (and Takoma) is a lovely and friendly neighborhood on the northeast District line with Maryland. It dates back to the late 19th century, when Benjamin Franklin Gilbert, both founder and first mayor of Takoma...

Why is it Named Clyde’s of Georgetown?

Do you know why it's named Clyde's? Read through to find out the origin of the popular Georgetown restaurant's name.
Rockville, Maryland

Why Is It Named Montgomery County?

Some GoDCers (probably quite a few) live just across the District line in Montgomery County. But, how many of you know the etymology of the county? We should probably do one of these for every county...
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