Washington DC History Resources

Matthew B. Gilmore

Petworth that never was: curious case of the missing plat

Matthew B. Gilmore, April 2016

Property subdivision related to development rarely generates much controversy. The case of Petworth is an exception–an interesting curiosity in the development of the District of Columbia. In the District of Columbia’s Office of the Surveyor various subdivision plats for land outside the original City of Washington from the 1850s to 1910s are bound up in several tremendous volumes—the “County” books. Plats come in all shapes and sizes but are contorted to fit in the books. Yet one of these pages remains blank, and has been for over 100 years. County book 7, plate 11 “Petworth.” Instead, there is an entire separate volume for Petworth—10 pages of detailed plats covering the entire subdivision. What happened?

Click here for complete article: Petworth Which Never Was – DCALS article

Map of Petworth which was never recorded with the D.C. Office of the Surveyor (as required):



Thank you to DCALS – Chas Langelan, Matt Kirks, and Mark Lagana

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