The area to the northwest of Old Town, much of which was once in the separate town of Potomac, is today known as Del Ray. The "Del Ray" name originally belonged to one of several subdivisions (including Hume, Mount Ida, and Saint Elmo's) that are considered part of modern Del Ray. Del Ray is defined by its local citizens association as the area bounded on the south by Braddock Road, on the west by Russell Road, on the north by East Glebe and West Glebe Roads, on the east by U.S. Route 1, and on the southeast by the CSX rail tracks between Route 1 and Braddock Road.
The historic communities of Del Ray and St. Elmo's originated in early 1894, when developer Charles Wood organized them on a grid pattern of streets running north–south and east–west. Wood had purchased the 254 acres comprising Del Ray for $38,900, while the 39 acres of St. Elmo were purchased for $15,314. Del Ray originally contained six east–west streets and five north–south. All were identical in width, except Mt. Vernon Avenue, which was approximately twenty feet wider. St. Elmo's, a smaller tract, was laid out in a similar pattern, but with only four east–west streets and one running north–south. Between the two neighborhoods was the St. Asaph Racetrack, a once-controversial gambling establishment that shut down after a 1904 raid; the location of the racetrack caused some deviation from a pure-grid street pattern, which remains to this day.
By 1900, Del Ray contained approximately 130 people, and St. Elmo's 55. In 1908, the tracts of Del Ray, St. Elmo's, Mt. Ida, and Hume were incorporated into the town of Potomac, which by 1910 had a population of 599; by 1920 it contained 1,000; by 1928 it had 2,355 residents. Now more than 20,000 people live in Del Ray. Del Ray draws tens of thousands of people from around the Washington, D.C. region during its annual Art on the Avenue main street festival the first Saturday in October.
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Data last updated: Jun 2, 2023 4:42:pm.