The Georgetown Metropolis

Dumbarton Oaks Park

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4 responses to “The Georgetown Metropolis

  1. Dumbarton Oaks, the home, the library and the gardens, are a living memorial to Robert Woods Bliss and his loving wife Mildred Barnes Bliss.

    The history of the estate, which was bought by Mr. and Mrs. Bliss in 1922 must be stated briefly here, as its story cannot be seperated from the life of Robert Woods Bliss.

    The history of Dumbarton Oaks goes back to 1702, when Queen Anne granted a parcel of land to Colonel Ninian Beall, who named his new property “Rock of Dumbarton.” From the Beall family, the land passed into the hands of the Dorsey family, and in 1801 William H. Dorsey built the house which now stands on the property and was then called “Acrolophos House.” (Translated from Greek, Acrolophos means “house in the woods”). The Beverleys, Calhouns, Mackalls and Linthicums, in turn, became owners of the estate, until 1922, when Mr. and Mrs. Bliss bought the place, then called “Monterey” and rechristened it “Dumbarton Oaks.”

    Mr. and Mrs. Bliss lived at Dumbarton Oaks but briefly, as they were abroad a great deal of the time. Robert Woods Bliss served as our Ambassador to the Argentine from 1927 to 1933. In 1940, the estates, with its gardens, was conveyed to Harvard University, and twenty-seven acres were give to the District of Columbia as a public park (photographed above). The Blisses moved at this time to a lovely old brick house at Que and 28th Street.

  2. Old Georgetowner

    One wouldn’t know, from the above paragraph, that Mildred Barnes Bliss paid for the estate, its gardens, and its upkeep from her share of the fortune her father made from a patent medicine, Fletcher’s Castoria.

    (Nor would one know that Mr and Mrs Bliss were, in addition to being man and wife, step-brother and step-sister. In other words, both Bliss and his father married very rich women.)

  3. vb

    Acrolophos in Greek does not mean “house in the woods”, it means “edge of the hill”
    “acros/akros” means “edge”+ “lophos” means “hill”.
    Probably at the edge of the hill there was a wooded area with a house.

  4. It’s all Greek to me, VB.

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