Even without squinting, you can see diagonal lines that don’t seem to match up with any roads or lots. I’m fairly certain these cuts line up with older borders and roads, putting a whole new volume of evidence of the past fossilized in the modern legal form of the city. The erasure and remainder of various structures as a history appears too. Why did some lines stick around? Perhaps one owner sold out before the other, and a divided lot just went up for sale as two later. More comparisons under the fold.
Here, I’ve overlain the property over the road and alley network. There are some interesting details in this juxtaposition. Namely, the road-right-of-ways are much larger on the west side of Wisconsin Ave, especially around Tenley Circle and just north of the Metro station. My immediate reaction is that the wider setbacks exist to prevent overcrowding by dense development, or at least to compensate for that. I don’t know exactly when the area was zoned, or whether developers ever planned to do more than detached houses. Similarly, Fessenden and Albemarle St. both have wide right-of ways, indicating that at some point, planners realized that these are among the few easily-traversed routes around Mount Airy.
Here’s a map with the public-use property faded out, so to show the textures and areas of opportunity for architecture. There’s a pretty strong flow of space from Tenleytown over t0 the corner at the north end of Tobago, mostly a remnant of the Fort Drive parkway. This direction is going to be very important, along Nebraska Avenue. It has the potential to serve as a major route that might be captured in the park’s architecture. The small parks scattered around the area might also be helpful in drawing people into the park, if they can be transformed from small grassy patches and tied into the main park.