DUPONT CIRCLE NEIGHBORHOOD

THE DUPONT CIRCLE NEIGHBORHOOD

Dupont Circle Neighborhood Profile

Transformed from slaughterhouses and brickyards to real estate gold, The Dupont Circle neighborhood offers Metro, dining and shopping, a famous farmer’s market, museums and galleries, embassies, and outstanding architecture. You’ll find stunning historic homes and tree-lined streets in this platinum locale.

WELCOME TO DUPONT CIRCLE DC

TRANSPORTATION IN THE DUPONT CIRCLE NEIGHBORHOOD

Dupont Circle is a highly walkable neighborhood with a WalkScore of 99 and a TransitScore of 93 . Dupont Circle offers world-class public transportation and is a biker’s paradise, with a BikeScore of 92.

Dupont Circle Metro Station

On the Red Line. Two entrances are located at the north and south ends of the circle; Q Street NW (north) and 19th Street NW (south)

Circulator

There are approximately 39 Bus Lines running throughout Dupont Circle.

Bikeshare

There are 15 Capital Bikeshare stations in Dupont Circle

ZipCar

There are approximately 17 ZipCar locations near Dupont Circle DC.

DUPONT CIRCLE NEIGHBORHOOD SNAPSHOTS

Old school architecture and a cool retail & entertainment vibe. That famous traffic circle.

Open your eyes with a piping Wydown latte. Meet friends at the Sunday farmer’s market. Catch a play at the Keegan. Make a Good Wood treasure your own. Peruse the latest Phillips Collection exhibit. Savor roasted lamb at Komi. Fill your arms with Trader Joe’s blooms. Wrangle an invite to the Cosmos Club. Visit the S Street dog park with Scruffy. Stop by Evers & Co. and say hello. Snoop through Woodrow Wilson’s house. Slurp runny eggs at Duke’s. Acquire a rare tome at Second Story Books. Play chess in the circle. People watch from Circa’s patio. Find the secret doors at Mansion on O. Release your inner rock star at Redeem then catch a show at Black Cat. Share Hank’s oysters, Floriana omelets and a bottle at Urbana. Pick up farm-fresh goodies at Smucker’s. Sip an artisan cocktail from Two Birds One Stone. Acquire a stately Victorian and make your own history. Bring cash, they go fast.

DUPONT CIRCLE NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT

Dupont Circle's development is mostly small infill but two large projects are underway.

Dupont Circle’s two new projects have been years in the making. One is a controversial church and park redevelopment, the other adds townhomes, condominiums and apartments to the edge of the neighborhood.

DUPONT CIRCLE NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORY

Early Dupont Circle started out as a brickyard and slaughterhouse. The neighborhood creek, Slash Run, started near 15th Street and Columbia Road and ran from 16th Street near Adams Morgan, through Kalorama within a block of Dupont Circle. But the Board of Public works under Alexander “Boss” Shepherd paved the way for the development of Dupont Circle. Nevada Senator William Morris Stewart led the “California Syndicate” that purchased tracts of undeveloped land. They quickly set about designing a fashionable neighborhood. Stewart set the standard by building his own grand mansion in the 1870s. Stewart’s Castle (aka “Castle Stewart” and “Stewart’s Folly”) was constructed on the north side of Dupont Circle between Connecticut Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue. Its imposing, turreted facade and  prominence in the yet-to-be developed Dupont Circle neighborhood sent the desired message. Designed by noted architect Adolf Cluss, the mansion was completed in 1873.  It was nearly destroyed in a fire in 1879, but repaired, then rented to the Chinese Legation from 1886 to 1893. The house was sold to Senator William A. Clark, who razed it in 1901 with plans to build a new residence. The plans never came to fruition and the site remained vacant for over 20 years until the construction of the commercial building, which stands today. During the 1870s and 1880s, more mansions were built along Massachusetts Avenue, one of Washington’s grand avenues, and townhouses were built throughout the Dupont Circle neighborhood. By the late 1880s,  Dupont was the affluent and desirable neighborhood its creators had imagined.
Examples of the architectural style of early Dupont Circle are the Christian Heurich Mansion at 1307 New Hampshire Avenue, a c.1804 Victorian designed by John G. Meyers for the owner of the Heurich Brewery;   Stanford White of McKim, Mead and White designed the Thomas Nelson Page House at 1759 R Street c. 1896 (Colonial Revival) designed by Stanford White; Embassy of Columbia at 1520 20th Street c. 1906 (French country Chateau) by Jules Henri deSibour; The Beaux Arts Perry Belmont House c. 1901 by Samson and Trumbauer at 1618 New Hampshire Avenue and the Boardman House (Embassy of Iraq) at 1801 P Street by Hornblower and Marshall c. 1890. The Weeks House (Women’s National Democratic Club) was designed by Harvey Page in 1892 with an addition by Nick Satterlee in 1966. Another large, commanding building is St. Matthew’s Cathedral and Rectory at 1725-39 New Hampshire Avenue designed by Heins and LeFarge in 1893.
Not all the lovely homes in Dupont Circle were grand mansions. The neighborhood’s popular pre-1900 rowhouses were built in a variety of styles from the 1880s into the first decade of the 20th century. Styles include Queen Anne, Dichardsonian Revival, Renaissance and Georgian Revival. Variations on Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque were most common in this neighborhood. Some of the rows were designed as a unit by a single architect while others were individually built and designed. The row on the south side of the 1700 block of Q Street, designed in 1889 by T.F. Schneider, is one of the most impressive Richardsonian rows in the area. The north side of the 2000 block of N Street is one of the finest Second Empire rows in the District, built 1879 to 1881 by Christopher Thom. The charming 2000 block of Hillyer Place offers a variety of styles including Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque. One of the most varied and architecturally intact blocks is the 1700 block of N Street which reflects the breadth of architectural talent in the area.
As development spread further from the circle, a sub-neighborhood dubbed “The Strivers’ Section” was born. This enclave of upper-middle-class Black Americans, often community leaders, grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The name is taken from a turn-of-the-20th-century writer who described the district as “the Striver’s section, a community of Negro aristocracy.” Residences in The Strivers’ Section are primarily late 19th and early-20th century rowhouses from the Edwardian era. These stately, symmetrical homes have become some of the most appreciated and recognizable in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. The Strivers’ Section Historic District (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) boundaries are roughly Swann Street on the south, Florida Avenue on the north and west, the 16th Street Historic District on the east, and 19th Street on the west. Today, the Strivers’ Section Edwardians are joined by some apartment and condominium buildings along with small businesses. The area includes some 430 buildings constructed between 1875 and 1946 that are contributing properties to the historic district. It is the home of the national headquarters of Jack and Jill of America, which seeks to help children, especially African American children, obtain cultural opportunities, develop leadership skills, and form social networks.
In 1871 the Army Corps of Engineers started construction on what was planned as “Pacific Circle,” but 1882 Congress authorized a memorial statue of Rear Admiral Samuel Francis duPont in recognition of his Civil War service. The bronze statue was placed in the center of DuPont Circle 1884. Several prominent duPont family members who deemed the tribute too small to honor their ancestor petitioned to have the statue moved to Rockford Park in Wilmington, DE in 1917. The statue was replaced in 1921 by a double-tiered white marble fountain designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French and architect Henry Bacon. Three classical figures, symbolizing the Sea, the Stars and the Wind are carved on the fountain’s central shaft.
One of the grandest mansions in Dupont Circle is the marble and limestone Patterson Mansion at 15 Dupont Circle. This Italianate icon of marble and limestone is the sole surviving residence of the many mansions that once ringed the circle. Built in 1901 by New York architect Stanford White for Robert Patterson, editor of the Chicago Tribune, and its heiress, his wife Nellie. In the early 1920s, ownership of the house passed to daughter Cissy Patterson. It served as temporary quarters for President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge in 1927 while the White House underwent renovation. The Coolidges hosted Charles Lindbergh after his historic transatlantic flight. Lindbergh and the Pattersons became friends with shared isolationist and pro-German views. Cissy Patterson later acquired the Washington Times-Herald and used it to attack Franklin D. Roosevelt from 15 Dupont Circle. She continued throughout World War II to push her policies, which were echoed in the New York Daily News, run by her brother Joseph Medill Patterson, and the Chicago Tribune, run by their first cousin, Colonel Robert R. McCormick.
1872 brought a new British embassy on Connecticut Avenue at N Street. By the 1920s, Connecticut Avenue had become a retail corridor. Some residences, including Senator Philetus Sawyer’s mansion at Connecticut and R Street, were razed in favor of office buildings and shops. Patterson House, at 15 Dupont Circle, served as a temporary residence for President Calvin Coolidge while the White House was being repaired in 1927, bringing additional cachet to the neighborhood. In 1933, the National Park Service took over administering the circle. Connecticut Avenue was widened in the late 1920s to accommodate increased traffic and medians and traffic signals were installed in 1948 to separate the through traffic on Mass Avenue from local traffic. In 1949, traffic tunnels and an underground streetcar station were built beneath the circle as part of the failed Capital Transit project. The tunnels allowed trams and vehicles traveling along Connecticut Avenue to travel quickly past the circle. Streetcar service ended in 1962, the entrances to the underground station were filled in and paved over. Only the traffic tunnel remained.
The Dupont Circle neighborhood fell into decline after World War II, along with many other Washington DC luxury neighborhoods, especially following the 1968 riots. In the 1970’s, Dupont Circle experienced a resurgence when “urban pioneers” who sought stylish, affordable properties moved in. Dupont Circle built a reputation as an historic locale in the development of American gay identity. DC’s first gay bookstore, Lambda Rising, opened in 1974 and gained national recognition. With this influx of homeowners who improved and restored neglected homes, Dupont Circle re-emerged as a valuable, luxury neighborhood.
Sources: Wikipedia Dupont Circle Historic District

DUPONT CIRCLE NEIGHBORHOOD MARKET DATA

The icon link takes you to our Market Data page. Chock-full of the latest Washington DC neighborhood statistics by zip code. Find out how the Dupont Circle neighborhood is selling!

DUPONT CIRCLE SCHOOLS

Ross Elementary School

Public • Grades PK-5
154 students • 10 student/teacher

Wilson High School

Public • Grades 9-12
1696 students • 14 student/teacher

School Without Walls

Public • Grades PK-8
284 students • 13 student/teacher
For a full, updated list of schools, see EBIS. School data from SchoolDigger

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Neighborhood information is deemed accurate, but not guaranteed. Subject to change without notice.
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