Mount Rainier: A Hidden Neighborhood of Artists and Affordable Housing Options

by Mark Wellborn

Mount Rainier Artist Lofts

This weekend, we had two people come up and ask what we knew about the Mount Rainier neighborhood, and then the Washington Post did a story on the area. Fortuitious!

The reputation that the Maryland town, sandwiched between Brentwood and Brookland, has developed over the last few years has been one of abandoned buildings and a general lack of commercial development. However, the Post points out (what many already knew) that the neighborhood has a strong artistic community feel and some of the most affordable housing options in the DC area.

Here are a few excerpts from the Post regarding resident’s take on the neighborhood:

Mount Rainier “grew on me a lot,” said Michelle Darden-Lee, 43, who landed in the city earlier this decade with her husband, Tony Lee, 45, after being outbid for homes elsewhere. The couple talked a resident into selling his house to them.

“You have the original Mount Rainier pioneers who have been here 40 years, new urban pioneers who found the [housing] market unbearable and landed here like me, apartment residents in transition, the gay and lesbian community, young families and old church-going ladies,” Darden-Lee said.

“Artists who come to work in the city realize, ‘Hey, this isn’t a bad neighborhood. This is a nice neighborhood,’” said Tim Tate, 49, who moved his Washington Glass School from the District to warehouses along Otis Street four years ago.

Aside from Mount Rainier being an area with a community dedicated to its success, it is also a place with some of the most affordable housing options in the DC area. The median list price for homes on the market in July was $230,000, according to Redfin.

See other articles related to: dclofts

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/mount_rainier_a_hidden_neighborhood_of_artists_and_affordable_housing_optio/1220


  1. Cassie said at 4:58 pm on Monday August 10, 2009:

    Mount Rainier has long been an undiscovered gem in the DC area. Yes, the housing stock is not as valuable as many other neighborhoods in the city and yes, there is little to no commercial development. But that is changing, and it is already an amazing little artist’s haven. Come enjoy!

  1. Kibwe Chase-Marshall said at 1:47 am on Tuesday August 11, 2009:

    I ran into an Urban Turf writer this past weekend (Wilson Tigers!) and asked him to give me his two cents on this cool lil hood cause I’m a bit obsessed with it…My mom is looking at homes there and I really find it to be a very dynamic community…give it 10 years, you’ll see!


  1. Nathan said at 11:14 am on Tuesday August 11, 2009:

    As a resident, I have a detached house on a large lot with trees.  I’ve always got parking.  I can walk to 2 grocery stores, the Post Office, Library, pool, a nature trail and parks, and several shops and little eateries.  I know my all neighbors, their kids play in the street, and I also know my Mayor and City Councilors.  We all talk about what’s going on in the community and know even more neighbors from the town’s email listserve. I even know a few of the cops by sight.  It’s not too different from how my dad lived in the small Iowan town where he taught High School for 40 years.
    Except: I’m less than ten minute’s walk from the Metro, or a 15 minute drive to U Street or Chinatown.

    BTW, there was also a recent Post story about how inviting Mt Rainier and neighboring Hyattsville are to gay couples.

  1. Tom A. said at 11:39 am on Wednesday August 12, 2009:

    Nathan- nice comment.  But where in Mt Rainier is it less than 10 minutes to walk to the metro?  (I’m assuming West Hyattsville.)  I’ve considered buying there someday, but I always thought it was a bit far from metro.  My friends who live there always drive or take the 80 bus downtown.  I may need to reconsider that neighborhood- I really do love it there, and Tacoma is so much more expensive, and less cute.

  1. Shawn said at 6:28 am on Friday August 14, 2009:

    As a Mount Rainier resident for a couple of years now. I will happily vouch for the character of the town, the housing is nice, the neighbors are great. Unfortunately, the one thing we have the most of commercially is liquor stores. There is a lot to be desired as regards the commercial interests- the grocery stores are the pitts, if you are accustomed to stores like Harris Teeter, in Arlington, or even the new Safeway at 5th and Ny NW. However there are several new stores opening up which show immense promise, including Delectable Cakery and a recently opened Cafe (whose name escapes me at 6:24 AM)in Brentewood. Unfortunately the availability of goods and services after 10 PM also leaves something to be desired.

    Over all the town is quaint, full of potential and has a great deal of ‘that home town feel’, you just can’t get from most DC neighborhoods.

    The worst problem I have is when I give people directions, they have no idea where Mt. Rainier is.

  1. Vicki said at 11:47 pm on Thursday March 25, 2010:

    Mt. Ranier is a great area undergoing revitalization. In June the Mt. Ranier Farmers Market will open ,on One Municipal Place , and offer farm fresh fruits and vegetables as well as baked goods, seafood, free range poultry and eggs and grass fed beef.
    We will have Chefs at Market as well.

    Come Check us Out!

  1. Nathan said at 4:57 pm on Friday March 26, 2010:

    Tom- sorry I don’t check back on my posts to respond to responses.  If you do: Without giving my address, I live a couple blocks from the apartment complexes on the NW side of town.  I can do the walk in ten min, but I’m an ex Manhattanite, so everybody else tells me to slow down.  Maybe it’s 15 min for you, but that’s still not much of a walk- less than most doctors would recommend we get a day.

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