How Van Ness Street got its name

Van Ness Street is in upper northwest DC, between Wisconsin Avenue and Reno Road. It is named after John Peter Van Ness (1770 - March 7, 1846) who was a United States Representative from New York. Born in Ghent, New York to an old Dutch family.  On January 17, 1803, Van Ness's seat was declared vacant, because in 1802, he had been appointed by President Thomas Jefferson a major of militia in the District of Columbia, and under the U.S. Constitution, no member of Congress could hold any federal office.  Van Ness decided to make DC his home and was president of the second city council in 1803 and was later an alderman of the city and mayor from 1830 to 1834.
Van Ness was second vice president of the Washington National Monument Society in 1833 and was president of the commissioners of the Washington City Canal in 1834, and president of the branch bank of the United States at Washington, D.C.; he was also president of the National Metropolitan Bank from 1814 until his death 1846.
John Walker Maury, a future mayor of Washington DC in the mid 1860s, was only 26 years old when he was elected to the Washington Common Council, (The City Council) where he served for five years until declining to run again in 1840. In 1841, he was elected to the Board of Aldermen. In 1846, he was selected to replace the late John P. Van Ness as the president of the National Bank of the Metropolis.
He body was placed in the Van Ness family Mausoleum, designed by George Hadfield as a copy of the Temple of Vesta in Rome, which stood on H Street, NW between Ninth and Tenth Streets on the grounds of the orphan asylum founded by Mrs. Van Ness. It was built at a cost of $34,000 with space for 18, it ultimately held seven.  The mausoleum was moved by Col. W. H. Philip to Oak Hill Cemetery in 1872.  The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1872, Mr. Van Ness was reinterred in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown.

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