Door To Door: West Lanham Hills, Md., And Arboretum, D.C. | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Door To Door: West Lanham Hills, Md., And Arboretum, D.C.

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Lee Rowe stands in front of his home in West Lanham Hills, Md.
John Hines
Lee Rowe stands in front of his home in West Lanham Hills, Md.

It's our weekly trip around the region. This week, we'll visit West Lanham Hills, Md., and the Arboretum neighborhood of Northeast D.C.

Arboretum, D.C.

Jean Mason has lived in the Arboretum neighborhood of Washington, D.C. for over 40 years, and she's seen how the neighborhoods around her have changed. But she says that her neighborhood is different.

"Our neighborhood is very stable, Mason says. "We don't change a lot. Folks tend to live here forever and ever. And often, when they go on, their children will live here, or their grandchildren." Mason says that with the way the neighborhood is set up, that's easy to do. Children in the neighborhood will grow up in a single-family house, and once they grow up, they'll move into apartments only a few blocks away.

"I love that it hasn't changed," Mason says. "I like knowing my neighbors. I like walking down the street and know everybody by name. Everyone speaks to you and smiles or feels comfortable if they need help. We're a very close-knit neighborhood."

But that bond doesn't mean the neighborhood doesn't welcome visitors. Mason says that she loves living next to the National Arboretum, and when tourists come in, she enjoys sharing that love with them.

"My twin sister, Joan Black, as a matter of fact, refers to herself as the official tour guide," Mason says. "We often have folks who come in, and even if they don't come visit different people in the neighborhood, if we just see people in the National Arboretum who appear to be a little lost, we give them little private tours and show them different spots."

West Lanham Hills, Md.

The neighborhood of West Lanham Hills in Hyattsville, Md. is relatively new by most standards.

"Most of the houses were built in 1940, 1941," says Lee Rowe, who's lived in the neighborhood for the past 16 years. But that short history doesn't mean the area lacks in culture or tradition. Rowe says that all sorts of people live in the neighborhood, from brand new to long-time residents.

"We know people who've lived here since that time, and we have new people coming in." Rowe says. "But the other thing is the neighbors look out for each other. We've had people living here for decades, and we've been here for about 16 years now."

In the past few years, however, the demographic features of West Lanham Hills have started to change. "The biggest change is the influx of Hispanic families in West Lanham Hills," Rowe says. But Rowe says the town is aware of those changes and is trying to be proactive about promoting that new culture.

"Our newsletter is now in both English and Spanish in order to reach out to them," Rowe says. "They brought in their own culture, and some of them have their own businesses. So we're trying to do what we can to reach out to them, being neighbors and being a part of the association."


[Music: "No, Girl" by John Davis from Title Tracks / "We Are Family (Karaoke in the Style of Sister Sledge)" by The Karaoke Channel from The Karaoke Channel - In the Style of Sister Sledge]

Explore previously featured neighborhoods on our Door to Door map:

This map shows previous Door to Door segments, and includes links to photos and show audio. The yellow marker represents neighborhoods featured in Washington, D.C., the blue represents neighborhoods in Maryland, and the red represents neighborhoods in Virginia.

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