Records from the early 1700s indicate a riverfront settlement named Beale Town was located where Hyattsville now stands. The settlement failed to gain traction and in 1742, for both economic and topographical reasons, the residents of the area petitioned the General Assembly to have a new town established one-half mile below Beale Town at Garrison’s Landing (later renamed Bladensburg). The Colonial legislature accepted the petition, and Beale Town’s days were numbered.
Christopher Clark Hyatt purchased a land parcel in the same vicinity in March of 1845. The location proved ideal with the coming of the railroad and telegraph. On the Washington Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, area farmland began to be subdivided into housing lots. By 1859 the tract was recognized as Hyattsville by the Post Office and cartographers. The Act of Incorporation of the City was signed into law in April 1886.
Hyattsville evolved into a prosperous village of homes designed in the modern styles of architecture from the day, with ornamented gardens and lawns. It proved popular first a summer retreat for Washingtonians andlater as a community for commuters to the nation’s capital.
In 1982, a portion of the residential area, much of it developed before or shortly after the turn of the century, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hyattsville homes cover the spectrum from Victorian mansions to bungalows, foursquares and cottages.
The Main Street corridor in Hyattsville is undergoing a revitalization and this walking tour will take place primarily in the historically preserved residential area, beginning in the transition area between the two areas at the Municipal Building...
Hyattsville Municipal Building
4310 Gallatin Street
Completed in the summer of 1990, this structure was designed by Allen Sparber & Associates and built under the supervision of College Park Contracting, Inc. It houses nearly all of the City offices, including the Police Department.
United States Post Office
4325 Gallatin Street
Built in 1935, the Hyattsville Post Office is a three-part brick building consisting of a 1 1/2 story, side-gabled central block and lower flanking wings. The central block is detailed with round-arch windows, Flemish bond brick, limestone quoins, frieze and modillioned cornice; there is a domed frame cupola centered at the ridge of the slate roof. The interior is decorated with six murals by painter Eugene Kingman. The building is an excellent example of Colonial Revival architecture.
WALK WEST ON GALLATIN STREET (AWAY FROM THE DOWNTOWN AREA AND ROUTE 1).
Disciples of Christ Church
4301 Gallatin Street
Dedicated on November 10, 1901, under the Reverend J. W. Rawles, this building served for 50 years as the home of the First Baptist Church.
Mt. Hermon Masonic Lodge
southwest corner of Gallatin Street and 43rd Avenue
Constructed in 1893, this 2-1/2 story brick rectangular building features graduated buttresses and long windows with semi-elliptical arches. The main lodge chamber is located on the third floor, and the lower level has been used for storage, as a community center, a temporary public high school, as well as a temporary church following a fire at St. Jerome’s Roman Catholic Church.
TURN LEFT ON 42ND AVENUE.
5107 42nd Avenue
This classically simple 1916 frame house is reminiscent of the Italian villa style with original standing seam metal roof, dominated by the tower. This residence was first occupied by John and Mary Fainter whose son Wells recounted his early memories in the Town centennial from 1986, Hyattsville: Our Hometown.
TURN LEFT ON FARRAGUT STREET.
Charles H. Welsh House
4200 Farragut Street
Built during 1889-1890, the Welsh House is a 2-1/2 story, cross-gabled frame dwelling with projecting bays, paneled, bracketed gables and wraparound porch. It was built for Charles H. Welsh, a banker who was instrumental in Hyattsville’s development. It is a fine example of Queen Anne-style domestic architecture.
Church of God & Saints of Christ Church
4203 Farragut Street
Formerly Hyattsville Presbyterian Church when constructed in 1915, the coursed stonework is of a very high quality. Detailing, including the Jerkin-head roofline, is drawn from several sources, including the Richardsonian tradition and the Arts and Crafts school.
TURN RIGHT ON 42ND PLACE AND WALK DOWN TO ROUTE 1. TURN RIGHT ON CRITTENDEN STREET.
4200 Crittenden Street
The Marche House, vacant for many years before a recent restoration, is an outstanding example of Georgian Revival style. Designed by architect John Robie Kennedy, and constructed in 1932, it is on of the most prominent examples of its style and period of construction in Prince Georges County. It features an unusual exterior surface treatment called concrete mosaic, a 20th century innovation in building materials pioneered by the John J. Early Studio in Washington, D.C.
TURN RIGHT ON 41ST PLACE. TURN RIGHT ON DECATUR STREET. TURN LEFT ON 42ND AVENUE.
Harriet Ralston House
4206 Decatur Street, northwest corner of 42nd Avenue
The Harriet Ralston House is a 3-story, front-gabled frame retreat cottage, which stands on one of the original streets platted for the Town of Hyattsville. It is distinguished by its fine Victorian trim and its prominent 3-story veranda supported by chamfered posts with molded capitals and bases and jigsawn brackets. In 1882 Harriet Ralston purchased several lots in Hyatt’s Addition to Hyattsville. Mrs. Ralston’s son Jackson built the Queen Anne style house on the adjoining lot.
TURN LEFT ON EMERSON STREET AND WALK A SHORT WAY DOWN THE HILL.
4100 block of Emerson Street
All of the houses that flank this narrow block are of 2-1/2 story frame stock, with similar spacing, setbacks, landscaping and materials, alternating between Dutch Colonial and vernacular Victorian styles.
RETRACE YOUR STEPS TO 42ND AVENUE AND TURN LEFT, CONTINUING TO WALK NORTH.
5011 42nd Avenue
Built in 1892, Fox’s Barn is a 2-1/2 story, gambrel-roof frame dwelling, noticeable for its inset porch, hip dormers and cypress-shingle siding. It was built for Gilbert and Marian Fox, and for a quarter century was the home of T. Hammond Welsh, director of the Capital Cemetery Company and Assistant Secretary of the Hyattsville Building Association. It is an unusual example of a gambrel-roof, cottage-style dwelling.
Benjamin F. Smith House
5104 42nd Avenue
Built in the 1880s, the Benjamin F. Smith House is a 2-story frame dwelling of the gable-front-and-wing plan, with two 2-story projecting bays on the south side elevation. It was built in the late 1880s by Benjamin and Frances Smith on lots that front on the principal residential street in Victorian Hyattsville. It exhibits many early and handsome features and is a good representative of a late Victorian urban dwelling.
William A. Shepherd House
5108 42nd Avenue
Built in 1906, the Shepherd House is a 2 1/2 story, gable-roof frame dwelling, with a 3-story octagonal corner tower, flared bracketed eaves and a wraparound porch with jigsawn detail. Constructed for William A. Shepherd, Town Clerk and Tax Assessor, it has Queen Anne decorative details.
TURN LEFT ON GALLATIN STREET.
Lewis F. Holden House
4112 Gallatin Street
Built in 1897, the Holden House is a 2-1/2 story frame dwelling with oriel window, paneled gables, projecting bays and wraparound porch. It was built for Lewis F. Holden, a bookbinder, on lots adjoining the previously-built dwelling of his father. One of two houses of this design in Prince George’s County, it is a fine example of Queen Anne-style architecture. The noisy ghost of a previous owner is said to remain in residence.
Frederick Augustus Holden House
4110 Gallatin Street
Built in 1883, this Holden House is a 2-1/2 story frame house with hip-and-gable roof and especially fine detail, including sawtooth shingling and scissors trusses. It was built by George N. Walker, an active contractor in the growing Hyattsville community, for Frederick A. Holden, Hyattsville town commissioner. It is an important example of Carpenter Gothic or Eastern Stick Style domestic architecture.
4106 Gallatin Street
Built in 1887, the McEwen House is a 2-1/2 story, multi-gabled frame house, with Rockville bays, paneled gables, fish-scale shingles and windows with colored border lights. It was one of the early houses in the subdivision of Hyattsville, built for Clarence McEwen from a house pattern distributed by R. W. Shoppell’s Cooperative Building Plan Association. The house is a fine example of Queen Anne-style architecture.
W. G. Lown House
4107 Gallatin Street
Built in 1890 as a country residence for W.G. Lown, a prominent coffee wholesaler in Washington, D.C., this 2-story dwelling exhibits such architectural features as the crenelated shingles and interlocking chain molding on the verge boards of the gables. The porch balusters were designed by the present owners and manufactured in Kashmir. Among the ten previous owners of this residence were Richard White, secretary of a building and loan association who owned the property until 1927, when he sold it to Smith W. Brookhart, a United States Senator from Iowa.
RETRACE YOUR STEPS TO 42ND AVENUE AND TURN LEFT. TURN LEFT AT THE NEXT BLOCK ONTO HAMILTON STREET.
4115 Hamilton Street
Edgewood is a 2-1/2 story frame cross-gabled dwelling distinguished by geometric paneling in the principal gable and originally located on the edge of a wooded area known as Wine’s Woods. A one-story hip-roof porch, bounded by a balustrade of criss-cross members in an X-pattern, shelters the north entrance. Built in 1888 for the Paul Tricon family, it was purchased in 1900 by Matthew Halloran, who became Chief of the U. S. Civil Service Commission and an early Mayor of Hyattsville. Mrs. Halloran, a New York stage actress and Mrs. Fainter organized the “Edgewood Players” and produced theatricals using this property for rehearsals.
RETRACE YOUR STEPS TO 42ND AVENUE AND TURN LEFT. TURN RIGHT ON JEFFERSON STREET. TURN RIGHT ON 42ND PLACE.
Rachel Tise House
5220 42nd Place
In 1892, Rachel Tise, who with her husband operated a retail grocery in Hyattsville, constructed this large and handsome frame dwelling adapted from Design#299 which had first appeared in Shoppell’s Modern Houses in 1887. The house is side-gabled, with asymmetrical projecting gables and distinguished by an unusual 3-story gabled rectangular bay that projects at a 45-degree angle from the corner of the main façade. the home was occupied for many years by the family of James Webb Rogers, North Carolina-born lawyer, poet. His son, James Harris, was appointed electrician at the United States capitol in Washington, D. C., and he continued in that office until 1883. He was the inventor of the secret telephone that was sold in New York for $80,000, also of the national improved telephone, and of the pan-electric system, comprising patents on electric motors, lights, telegraphs, telephones and others capitalized at $15,000,000.
RETRACE YOUR STEPS ON 42ND PLACE AND TURN RIGHT ON JEFFERSON STREET. CONTINUE TO ROUTE 1 (BALTIMORE AVENUE) AND TURN RIGHT.
southwest corner of Jefferson Street and Baltimore Avenue
Completed in 1918, the Hyattsville Armory is a 3-story, fortress-like stone structure, distinguished by turrets, parapets and buttresses. It was designed by Robert Lawrence Harris for the State of Maryland in 1918, and served as the headquarters of Company F of the First Maryland Infantry, later the 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division. Since its deactivation in 1971, it has served as a restaurant and theater and as a church.
5214 Baltimore Avenue
Built in 1926 with additions in 1948-1949, the older part is a single-story Bedford Limestone over brick structure. It has a gray granite base, and includes a basement. The Neoclassical facade on Baltimore Avenue features twin Ionic columns and recessed door and window openings. Other Greek revival motifs include the transom above the front door, which was created when the front door was remodeled and a smaller aluminum door replaced the large bronze one.
5121 Baltimore Avenue
This structure dates from between 1880-1890 and initially housed the fire department on the ground floor and a carriage factory on the second. From 1910 to 1990, it was occupied by a purveyor of assorted hardware and household goods.
First National Bank of Hyattsville
northwest corner of Baltimore Avenue and Gallatin Street
Built in 1904, this building was used by the First National Bank of Hyattsville from 1914 to 1936. During this period, it was remodeled into its present form. A second story was added, essentially wrapping the brick building with limestone. It became Prince George’s County Building and was home to the Police Court and Jail until the functions were moved to the new County Service Building. The structure was vacated in 1962, and was mostly vacant until about 1984 when it became rentable office space.
TURN RIGHT ON GALLATIN STREET TO RETURN TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT AT THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING.