By Ross Schipper
Burleith, a new book in the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing, co-authored by me and Dwane Starlin, is a pictorial history of our neighborhood. Topics from chapters 1 and 2, Origins of Burleith and Early Burleith Development, served as the basis of a talk I gave on March 25 to a packed audience in the Peabody Room of the Georgetown Neighborhood Library. This talk, titled Burleith: From Scotland to Shannon & Luchs, served as the first introduction of the new book. Mark Lieberman’s article summarizing the talk appeared in the April 19 Georgetown Current.
One of Burleith's most famous residents was the 1940s national radio star, Nancy Ordway, who lived at 1710 35th Street and is featured in chapter 2. The current residents of the "Ordway House," Margaret Emery and Massimo Calabresi, hosted a private reception observing the launch of the book on April 29.
A third event, a reception open to all BCA members, celebrated the book as well as the contributors who provided most of its over 180 photographic images. It was held on May 20 at the residence of Edie Cecil and Richard Parker, one of the Cooley Brothers' homes featured in chapter 4 of the book. (Click here for May reception photos.)
Chapter 3 covers the Shannon & Luchs development. The majority of Burleith's homes were built in the 1920s as part of this development. Designed by W. Waverly Taylor Jr and architect Arthur B. Heaton in an adaptation of Georgian architecture, the Shannon & Luchs homes received national recognition and had a strong influence on contemporary architecture at the time.
Chapter 4 describes the completion of Burleith's development. Perhaps the most significant construction here was that of the Cooley Brothers, who built over 60 homes in several phases between 1926 and 1931. The last of these were the impressive half-timbered homes in an adaptation of Elizabethan English architecture that grace the north side of the 3800 block of T Street.
The final three chapters cover the education of Burleith's children, the Western High School Cadets, and Burleith's fire and police call boxes. For the most part, children in the early years of Burleith were educated in three schools: Fillmore Elementary School, Gordon Junior High School, and Western High School.