Capitol Hill Historic District
G Street SE
Map of Washington, D.C., with the Capitol Hill Historic District highlighted in maroon
|Location||Roughly bounded by Virginia Ave., SE., S. Capitol St., G St. NE., and 14th Sts. SE & NE; and roughly bounded by 8th St. NE, I-295, M St. SE and 11th St. SE|
|NRHP reference No.|| 76002127 (original)|
|Added to NRHP||August 27, 1976|
|Boundary increase||July 3, 2003|
Capitol Hill, in addition to being a metonym for the United States Congress, is the largest historic residential neighborhood in Washington, D.C., stretching easterly in front of the United States Capitol along wide avenues. It is one of the oldest residential neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., and, with roughly 35,000 people in just under 2 square miles (5 km2), it is also one of the most densely populated.
As a geographic feature, Capitol Hill rises near the center of the District of Columbia and extends eastward. Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant, as he began to develop his plan for the new federal capital city in 1791, chose to locate the "Congress House" (the Capitol building) on the crest of the hill at a site that he characterized as a "pedestal waiting for a monument." The Capitol building has been the home of the Congress of the United States and the workplace of many residents of the Capitol Hill neighborhood since 1800.
The Capitol Hill neighborhood today straddles two quadrants of the city, Southeast and Northeast. A large portion of the neighborhood is now designated as the Capitol Hill Historic District.
The name Capitol Hill is often used to refer to both the historic district and to the larger neighborhood around it. To the east of Capitol Hill lies the Anacostia River, to the north is the H Street corridor, to the south are the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and the Washington Navy Yard, and to the west are the National Mall and the city's central business district.
The Capitol building is surrounded by the Capitol Hill Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The Capitol Hill Historic District was expanded in 2015 to the north to include the blocks bordered by 2nd Street, F Street, 4th Street, and just south of H Street, NE, collectively known as the Swampoodle Addition.
L'Enfant selected the location of the Capitol (the "Congress House") in his 1791 design for the federal capital city (see: L'Enfant Plan). He referred to the hill chosen as the site of the future Congress House as "Jenkins Hill" or "Jenkins Heights".
However, the tract of land had for many years belonged to the Carroll family and was noted in their records of ownership as "New Troy". While a man named Thomas Jenkins had once pastured some livestock at the site of the Capitol (and thus his name was associated with the site), artist John Trumbull, who would paint several murals inside the Capitol's rotunda, reported in 1791 that the site was covered with a thick wood, making it an unlikely place for livestock to graze. Research published in 2004 by the Capitol Hill Historical Society showed that Jenkins' land was just seven blocks east of the site of the Capitol and that L'Enfant was likely to have given Jenkins' name to the general location.
While serving in 1793 as President George Washington's Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson named Capitol Hill, invoking the famous Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome.However, the connection between the two is not completely clear.
The neighborhood that is now called Capitol Hill started to develop when the government began work at two locations, the Capitol and the Washington Navy Yard. It became a distinct community between 1799 and 1810 as the federal government became a major employer. The first stage in its early history was that of a boarding house community developed for members of Congress. In the early years of the Republic, few Congressmen wished to establish permanent residence in the city. Instead, most preferred to live in boarding houses within walking distance of the Capitol.
In 1799, the Washington Navy Yard was established on the banks of the Anacostia River, providing jobs to craftsmen who built and repaired ships. Many of the craftsmen who were employed both at the Navy Yard and in the construction of the Capitol chose to live within walking distance, to the east of the Capitol and the north of the Navy Yard. They became the original residential population of the neighborhood.
In 1801, Thomas Jefferson, who was at the time President of the United States, selected the location of the Marine Barracks, which had to be within marching distance of both the Capitol and the White House, near the Washington Navy Yard. By 1810, shops, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, and churches were flourishing in the area.
The Civil War resulted in more construction in the Capitol Hill area, including the building of hospitals. Construction of new houses continued in the 1870s and 1880s. The neighborhood began to divide along racial and economic class lines. Electricity, piped water, and plumbing were introduced in the 1890s, and were first available in the downtown areas of the District of Columbia, including Capitol Hill. There was a real estate development boom between 1890 and 1910 as the Capitol Hill area became one of the first neighborhoods having these modern conveniences.
In 1976, the Capitol Hill Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the largest historic districts in the United States.The boundaries of the historic district are irregular, extending southward from F Street NE, as far east as 14th Street, as far west as South Capitol Street, and with a southern limit marked chiefly by Virginia Avenue but including some territory as far south as M Street SE. It includes buildings from the Federal period (1800 to 1820) through 1919, but most of the buildings are late Victorian.
Capitol Hill has remained a fairly stable middle-class neighborhood throughout its existence. It suffered a period of economic decline and rising crime in the mid-20th century but gradually recovered. During the so-called "crack epidemic" of the 1980s, its fringes were often affected. Beginning in the 1990s, the neighborhood has undergone intense gentrification.
On January 6, 2021, during the counting of electoral college votes for the 2020 United States presidential election, a pro-Trump mob violently stormed the capitol. This triggered a lockdown[ specify ] in the building. Vice-President Mike Pence, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and other staff members were evacuated, while others were instructed to barricade themselves inside offices and closets. People stormed the floors of both the House and the Senate, as well as the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. One person was shot by law enforcement, and later succumbed to the injury. In total there were five fatalities including a police officer. President-elect Joe Biden criticised the violence as "insurrection" and said democracy was "under unprecedented assault" as a result of the storming. [ citation needed ]
Capitol Hill's landmarks include not only the United States Capitol, but also the Senate and House office buildings, the Supreme Court building, the Library of Congress, the Marine Barracks, the Washington Navy Yard, and Congressional Cemetery.
It is, however, largely a residential neighborhood composed predominantly of rowhouses of different stylistic varieties and periods. Side by side exist early 19th century manor houses, Federal townhouses, small frame dwellings, ornate Italianate bracketed houses, and the late 19th century press brick rowhouses with their often whimsical decorative elements combining Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne, and Eastlakian motifs.In the 1990s, gentrification and the booming economy of the District of Columbia meant that the neighborhood's non-historic and obsolete buildings began to be replaced. New buildings, which have to comply with height limits and other restrictions, are often done in a decorative modernist style, many by Amy Weinstein, whose designs feature polychrome brickwork set in patterned relief.
There are multiple schools within the boundaries, including Brent Elementary School, the main primary school, St. Peter's School on Capitol Hill, the only Catholic school, Capitol Hill Day School, Stuart-Hobson Middle School, Elliot-Hine Jr. High School, Eastern High School and many others. Compared to other DC neighborhoods, it has an abnormally large number of schools.
The main non-residential corridor of Capitol Hill is Pennsylvania Avenue, a lively commercial street with shops, restaurants and bars. Eastern Market is an 1873 public market on 7th Street SE, where vendors sell fresh meat and produce in indoor stalls and at outdoor farmers' stands. It is also the site of an outdoor flea market every weekend. After a major fire gutted the main market building on April 30, 2007, it underwent restoration and reopened on June 26, 2009. One of the most beloved stores, Fragers Hardware, has been based on Pennsylvania Avenue for nearly 100 years before it suffered a fire similar in destructiveness to the Eastern Market fire. It has successfully rebuilt on the same location.
Barracks Row (8th Street SE), so called because of its proximity to the U.S. Marine Barracks, is one of the city's oldest commercial corridors.It dates to the late 18th century and has recently been revitalized.
A new addition to Capitol Hill is a community center named Hill Center. Hill Center is housed in the restored Old Naval Hospital at the corner of 9th and Pennsylvania Avenue SE. The rehabilitation of the Old Naval Hospital combines the restoration of a historically significant landmark with the cutting-edge technologies of modern “green” architecture. Hill Center is a vibrant new home for cultural, educational, and civic life on Capitol Hill.
Recent[ when? ] estimates in Capitol Hill newspapers suggest as many as a third of all Members of Congress live on Capitol Hill while in Washington, due to its proximity to key government buildings.[ citation needed ]
Pennsylvania Avenue is a diagonal street in Washington, D.C. and Prince George's County, Maryland that connects the White House and the United States Capitol and then crosses the city to Maryland. In Maryland it is also Maryland Route 4 to MD 717 in Upper Marlboro, where it becomes Stephanie Roper Highway. The section between the White House and Congress is called "America's Main Street"; it is the location of official parades and processions, as well as protest marches. Moreover, Pennsylvania Avenue is an important commuter road and is part of the National Highway System.
Pierre Charles L'Enfant, self-identified as Peter Charles L'Enfant while living in the United States, was a French-American military engineer who designed the basic plan for Washington, D.C. known today as the L'Enfant Plan (1791).
The Eastern Market is a public market in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., housed in a 19th-century brick building. It is located on 7th Street, S.E., a few blocks east of the U.S. Capitol between North Carolina Avenue SE and C Street SE. Eastern Market was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Badly damaged by an early-morning fire in 2007, the market building reopened in the summer of 2009 following an extensive renovation.
Congress Heights is a residential neighborhood in Southeast Washington, D.C., in the United States. The irregularly shaped neighborhood is bounded by the St. Elizabeths Hospital campus, Lebaum Street SE, 4th Street SE, and Newcomb Street SE on the northeast; Shepard Parkway and South Capitol Street on the west; Atlantic Street SE and 1st Street SE on the south; Oxon Run Parkway on the southeast; and Wheeler Street SE and Alabama Avenue SE on the east. Commercial development is heavy along Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue and Malcolm X Avenue.
The Kalorama area within the Northwest Quadrant of Washington, D.C. includes the residential neighborhoods of Kalorama Triangle and Sheridan-Kalorama. The area is accessible from the Dupont Circle and Woodley Park Metro stations, as well as various bus lines. Kalorama Triangle is bordered by Connecticut Avenue, Columbia Road, Calvert Street, and Rock Creek Park. Sheridan-Kalorama is adjacent, to the southwest, between Connecticut Avenue, Rock Creek Park, Massachusetts Avenue, and Florida Avenue.
The history of Washington, D.C., is tied to its role as the capital of the United States. Originally inhabited by an Algonquian-speaking people known as the Nacotchtank, the site of the District of Columbia along the Potomac River was first selected by President George Washington. The city came under attack during the War of 1812 in an episode known as the Burning of Washington. Upon the government's return to the capital, it had to manage reconstruction of numerous public buildings, including the White House and the United States Capitol. The McMillan Plan of 1901 helped restore and beautify the downtown core area, including establishing the National Mall, along with numerous monuments and museums.
Bloomingdale is a neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., less than two miles (3 km) north of the United States Capitol building. It is a primarily residential neighborhood, with a small commercial center near the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and First Street NW featuring bars, restaurants, and food markets.
Massachusetts Avenue is a major diagonal transverse road in Washington, D.C., and the Massachusetts Avenue Historic District is a historic district that includes part of it.
South Capitol Street is a major street dividing the southeast and southwest quadrants of Washington, D.C., in the United States. It runs south from the United States Capitol to the D.C.–Maryland line, intersecting with Southern Avenue. After it enters Maryland, the street becomes Indian Head Highway at the Eastover Shopping Center, a terminal or transfer point of many bus routes.
The DC Circulator is a bus system in Washington, D.C. The District of Columbia Department of Transportation, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and DC Surface Transit operate the service in a public-private partnership with RATP Dev, although it has been proposed that the District of Columbia Department of Transportation operate the Circulator directly.
Lincoln Park is the largest urban park located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. It was known historically as Lincoln Square. From 1862 to 1865, it was the site of the largest hospital in Washington, DC: Lincoln Hospital.
Barney Circle is a small residential neighborhood located between the west bank of the Anacostia River and the eastern edge of Capitol Hill in southeast Washington, D.C., in the United States. The neighborhood is characterized by its sense of community, activism, walkability, and historic feel. The neighborhood's name derives from the eponymous former traffic circle Pennsylvania Avenue SE just before it crosses the John Philip Sousa Bridge over the Anacostia. The traffic circle is named for Commodore Joshua Barney, Commander of the Chesapeake Bay Flotilla in the War of 1812.
The Washington City Canal operated from 1815 until the mid-1850s in Washington, D.C. The canal connected the Anacostia River, termed the "Eastern Branch" at that time, to Tiber Creek, the Potomac River, and later the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal (C&O). The canal became disused during the late 19th century and the city government covered over or filled in various sections in 1871.
The streets and highways of Washington, D.C., form the core of the city's surface transportation infrastructure. Given that it is a planned city, streets in the capital of the United States follow a distinctive layout and addressing scheme. There are 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of public roads in the city, of which 1,392 miles (2,240 km) are owned and maintained by the district government.
Fairlawn is a working class and middle class residential neighborhood located in southeast Washington, D.C., United States. It is bounded by Interstate 295, Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Minnesota Avenue SE, Naylor Road SE, and Good Hope Road SE.
Navy Yard, also known as Near Southeast, is a neighborhood on the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, D.C. Navy Yard is bounded by Interstate 695 to the north and east, South Capitol Street to the west, and the Anacostia River to the south. Approximately half of its area is occupied by the Washington Navy Yard, which gives the neighborhood its name. The neighborhood is located in D.C.'s Ward 6, currently represented by Charles Allen. It is served by the Navy Yard – Ballpark Metro station on the Green Line.
Good Hope is a residential neighborhood in southeast Washington, D.C., near Anacostia. The neighborhood is generally middle class and is dominated by single-family detached and semi-detached homes. The year-round Fort Dupont Ice Arena skating rink and the Smithsonian Institution's Anacostia Museum are nearby. Good Hope is bounded by Fort Stanton Park to the north, Alabama Avenue SE to the south, Naylor Road SE to the west, and Branch Avenue SE to the east. The proposed Skyland Shopping Center redevelopment project is within the boundaries of the neighborhood.
The Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company was the first streetcar company to operate in Washington, D.C. It was incorporated and started operations in 1862, using horse-drawn cars on tracks between Georgetown and the Navy Yard. Two additional lines ran on 7th Street NW/SW and 14th Street NW. In 1890, it switched to cable cars. On September 21, 1895, the company was purchased by the Rock Creek Railway and the two formed the Capital Traction Company.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Washington, D.C.:
The L'Enfant Plan for the city of Washington is the urban plan developed in 1791 by Major Pierre (Peter) Charles L'Enfant for George Washington, the first President of the United States.
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