Many people outside the neighborhood, even many long-time Washington residents, are unfamiliar with Burleith. One explanation for this is that, unlike its neighbors, Georgetown and Glover Park, Burleith has no business district of its own. The neighborhood is wholly residential, forming a small oasis of peaceful greenery nestled alongside Glover-Archibald Park. Despite this feeling of seclusion, however, Burleith is certainly centrally located, within easy walking distance of Wisconsin Avenue shops, served by frequent buses to downtown, and with quick access to the major local highways.
Because of Burleith’s low name recognition, some Burleithians might tell outsiders that they live in “North Georgetown”, a practice which would surely have appalled its’s first settlers. In the early days, Georgetown was regarded as run-down and lower-class, and Burleith was the glamorous suburb (an early advertisement for homes omits Georgetown from its map altogether). Today, of course, Georgetown has recovered splendidly, and it is Burleith homes, comparatively modern and well-made, that sell at a relative bargain price.
It is a quiet, almost purely residential, community of about 535 households. Though adjacent to Georgetown, the hustle and bustle of the city fades beyond Reservoir Road and 35th Street. It is also distinct from its larger neighbor to the north, Glover Park, and from the gated community to the west, Hillandale, both of which are much younger. (Burleith and Hillandale are both in the same census tract and so real estate information for the two communities is often lumped together, making it seem pricier than it actually is.)
The name Burleith was taken from an estate built on the site of the Visitation Convent about 1716 by Henry Threkeld (this estate included most of the present Georgetown Visitation School and the present campus of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and was home to John Cox, Mayor of Georgetown from 1823 – 1845). Most of the houses were built in the Roaring Twenties by Shannon and Luchs, although building continued over several years.
Evers & Co.