Developer W.O. Denison, as he was known, was responsible for developing the Northeast Washington suburbs known as Metropolis View and South Brookland out of the Edgewood estate beginning in the 1880s. He had been born on March 15, 1832 in Elmira, New York. He graduated from Dundee Academy in Dundee, New York, and immediately established a printing business in that town.
He moved to Cleveland, Ohio for the opportunity of printing the city’s first city directory. He then moved to Louisville, Kentucky, where he established and ran the Daily Courier newspaper until 1862, when he moved to Washington, DC.
Having been appointed a position at the Treasury Department, during the Civil War, Denison served in the Treasury Department Regiment, and participated in the attacks on Washington by General Breckinridge and General Early. He continued to be employed by the Treasury until 1878, when he entered the real estate business in Washington.
Denison maintained a real estate and insurance office at 923 F Street, NW, and in 1891 briefly formed a partnership with James W. Sands known as Denison & Sands. Like many in the real estate business at the time when Washington was rapidly expanding, he was the subject a several lawsuits and allegations of hiding profits from purchasers, sellers, and fellow real estate brokers.
Denison had married twice, the first time on July 7, 1857 to Georgia Carr, the daughter of Judge Wyatt Carr of Cleveland, Ohio. She died about 1899. His second marriage was to his cousin, Miss Georgeana Booth Armstrong, the widow of Col. Armstrong and the daughter of Edwin Booth, at one time the editor and proprietor of the Columbia Times newspaper in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In Washington, William and his first wife resided in 1890 at 2020 R Street, NW, but the following year, they moved into his own Metropolis View development in a house (left) at the corner of 7th and Galena Place (now Girard) Street, NE (later 2900 7th Street, NE). It has since been razed.
Development of Metropolis, South Brookland, and Edgewood
The area where 2815 6th Street exists today is shown on the 1887 Hopkins Map, below, where one would extend 6th Street to the upper right of the map, just above the Chase estate coined “Edgewood.” An 1888 “Act to Regulate the Subdivision of Land Within the District of Columbia” mandated that newly plotted lots maintain the grid and alphabetic system found within the original boundaries of Washington, which then lay south of Florida Avenue.