Foggy Bottom neighborhood

THE FOGGY BOTTOM NEIGHBORHOOD

Foggy Bottom Neighborhood Profile

Steeped in history as one of DC’s earliest settlements, Foggy Bottom has a lot to offer modern urbanites as well.

WELCOME TO FOGGY BOTTOM DC

TRANSPORTATION IN THE FOGGY BOTTOM NEIGHBORHOOD

Foggy Bottom is an extremely walkable neighborhood with a WalkScore of 93. Foggy Bottom offers world-class public transportation with a TransitScore of 91, and is a biker’s paradise with a BikeScore of 94.

Metro Station

The closest metro station is Foggy Bottom-GWU which is on the orange, blue, and silver lines.

Buses

There are approximately 23 Bus Lines running throughout Foggy Bottom. It is also in the BRIDJ service area.

Bikeshare

There are 18 Capital Bikeshare stations in Foggy Bottom DC.

ZipCar

There are approximately 7 ZipCar locations near Foggy Bottom DC.

FOGGY BOTTOM NEIGHBORHOOD SNAPSHOTS

Ignore the gloomy name, Foggy Bottom is a vibrant and thriving community.

Wake up with brioche french toast at DISH + Drinks. Swing by a lecture at GW. Cycle along the Potomac. Pick produce at the weekly farmer’s market. Take in a show at the Kennedy. Hunt for Hugh’s Mews amidst rows of Federals. Savor the short ribs at Founding Farmers. Meander through the National Mall while walking the dog. Soak up some culture at the Corcoran Gallery. Sip a Pony Express at District Commons. Get some sun in Washington Circle. Pick up a book and put down roots.

FOGGY BOTTOM NEIGHBORHOOD HISTORY

Foggy Bottom was one of the District’s first neighborhoods, part of the town officially named Hamburgh, but called “Funktown” by local residents, for its German developer Jacob Funk. Funk bought the land, consisting of approximately 130 acres, with two other developers; Robert Peter and James Lineman. The trio divided it into 287 lots, with Peter and Lineman taking control of the parcel now known as Foggy Bottom. In 1791, the territories were given to the city of Washington and the United States government. Funk set aside land in Hamburgh for a German-speaking congregation in 1768. Concordia German Evangelical Church, located at 1920 G Street NW was finally founded in 1833.
At the start of the 19th century, the village residents consisted of a couple of prominent residents and skilled laborers. Between 1850 and 1860, the neighborhood experienced a growth spurt when The District’s population doubled. Industrial properties such as Godey’s lime kilns, the Washington Gas and Light Company, the glass works, and the Abner/Drury and Christian Heurich breweries moved in. Poor immigrant workers followed. Around this time, the village was nicknamed “Foggy Bottom” for its location on low elevation, swampy land near the Potomac river and its fog and industrial pollution.
The mid-1800s gave rise to an alley housing boom in Foggy Bottom and across the city. Irish and German immigrants came to the neighborhood to be close to work, but there was no housing available. They were forced to move into the uninhabited alleys located in the middle of the squares. Home owners quickly realized there was a good profit to be made by building modest alley homes for rental purposes. These early alley dwellings were simple, frame construction additions with no indoor plumbing or heat. Shared water pumps, outhouses and lack of a sewerage system contributed to unhealthy alley conditions. Following the Civil War, a large influx of black Americans into the city greatly increased the number of inhabited alleys. In 1871, the Board of Health was established primarily to address the alley dwelling issue. Across the District,  the Board condemned and demolished over 300 alley dwellings and hundreds more were slated for rehabilitation. The Board of Health was abolished within a decade and alley dwelling condemnations ceased. This created a second alley dwelling boom. Rental rates had no limits and the population soared as more renters shared alley dwellings. In the 1920s, prohibition enforcement began and a wave of  newcomers set up bootleg operations in the alleys. In 1912, the George Washington University’s 42-acre main campus came to Foggy Bottom. In 1934, after conditions in the alleys had again deteriorated, the government created the Alley Dwelling Authority, a new government entity that specifically dealt with improving the city’s alleys. The ADA was authorized to demolish or redevelop alleys and decide whether or not they were worth saving. The ADA’s documentation was sent to legislation for approval. Individual legislators included Eleanor Roosevelt. Common reasons given for alley renovation designation were: too many people in one home; too many African Americans in and around the area; exterior paint had faded. After the ADA gained approval from legislation, gave occupants of the cited houses from two to four months to vacate. By July 1, 1944, all of the houses in Foggy Bottom had been evacuated and plans were set forward for renovation.
Foggy Bottom was also the name of a line of beer marketed by the Olde Heurich Brewing Company, founded by German immigrant Christian Heurich’s grandson, Gary Heurich. He tried to revive the tradition of his family’s Christian Heurich Brewing Company, which had ceased production in Foggy Bottom. Christian Heurich Brewing Company’s most successful products bore such local names as Senate and Old Georgetown. The brewery ceased operations in 1956 and shortly thereafter, its buildings were razed to make way for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Heurich, Jr., and his two sisters donated a portion of the brewery land to the Kennedy Center in memory of their parents, and established the Christian Heurich Family as one of the Founders of the national cultural center. Although the firm was founded in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, the modern beer was brewed in Utica, New York.
Between 1950 and 1970, a drastic change took place in Foggy Bottom. Luxury co-op and apartment buildings were constructed and the population of the neighborhood became more affluent.
The Foggy Bottom Historic District is comprised primarily of private residences and, except for a single alley warehouse and a few buildings built as corner stores, only rowhouses survive. When designated, the historic district had only 135 contributing buildings out of 226 total. The heights of the historic buildings are almost all two stories in height. Only four contributing buildings were erected at three stories originally. These modest dwellings were built in a limited range of materials and styles and were primarily flat-fronted. One of the earliest Foggy Bottom houses is a frame home at 25th and I Streets. The homes were built low to the ground rather than on elevated basements. This may have been due to the swampy nature of the land, or a cost-cutting measure. Foggy Bottom’s architecture is enhanced by the charming 19th century alley dwellings located in Snow’s Court (between 24th and 25th Streets and K and I Streets) and Hughes Mews (between 25th and 26th Streets and K and I Streets).

FOGGY BOTTOM 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 Foggy Bottom neighborhood is selling!

FOGGY BOTTOM SCHOOLS

School Without Walls at Francis Stevens

Public • Grades PK-8
284 students • 12 student/teacher

Wilson High School

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

School Without Walls High School

Public Magnet • Grades 9-12
585 students • 9 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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