Battleground to Community
Brightwood Heritage Trail
8 Early Entrepreneurs
Apple and Peach Trees once covered the slopes to your left, some 40 acres' worth, all planted by noted horticulturalist John Saul (1819-1897). In the 1870s Saul was one of Brghtwood's largest landowners. In addition to these orchards, he operated nurseries for ornamental trees and greenhouse plants near old Brightwood racetrack and on Seventh Street, and developed a nationally renowned seed catalogue business.
Saul originally came to Washington in 1841 from County Cork, Ireland, to work for Andrew Jackson Downing, then one of the nation's most important landscape architects. Saul assisted Downing as they landscaped the city's key public spaces: the National Mall, the Ellipse, and Lafayette Square. Saul's descendants went into real estate, founding the B.F. Saul Company and also Chevy Chase Bank.
To your left is the rear of the Rittenhouse, which opened in 1957 as the area's first grand large-scale apartment building. (The Mid-century Modern style of the Rittenhouse is best seen from 16th Street, one block to your left.) Constructed by Morris Pollin and Sons, it was part of the wave of post-World War II residential building that filled in most of the District's remaining rural settings. Pollin's son Abe, the developer, philanthropist, and long-time owner of the Washington Wizards, got his start building houses and apartments in the late 1940s/.
Noted Washington architect Joseph Abel designed the Rittenhouse emphasizing glass and natural light, and centering the tall building in its grassy space.