Dupont Circle

Dupont is a historical district roughly bounded by Rhode Island, M and N Streets on the south, Florida Avenue on the west, Swann Street on the north, and the 16th St historical District on the east.

Dupont Circle is among the city’s most elegant historical residential neighborhoods.  It’s notable for superior examples of Victorian row house architecture in Queen Anne and Richardsonian styles, as well as some of the city’s finest turn-of-the-century mansions in Beaux Arts, Chateauesque, Renaissance, and Georgian Revival styles.  The majority of the houses in the Dupont Circle Historic District are not mansions, however. The blocks along the grid streets are lined with rowhouses that were occupied by middle-class professionals and official Washingtonians. The styles employed in designing these rowhouses which were built from the 1880s into the first decade of the 20th century.

Dupont Circle has served as the home of many prominent and affluent Washingtonians, as well as foreign legations.  Prominent local and national architects are represented.  The splendid “roof trees” overhang many of the unusually rich and varied streets, many along diagonal avenues, with the centerpiece at Dupont Circle.  The parking system put in place by the Board of Public Works, allowed owners to create gardens and build projections such as entrance stairs, towers, and bays in the twenty feet of public space in front of their houses.   By the 1880s, luxurious apartment buildings with hotel-like features were being constructed answering the needs of Congressmen and others who could not afford or did not wish to maintain a private residence for only part of the year.  After the Cairo, a luxury 12 story building was built in 1894 at 1615 Q, Congress immediately enacted legislation limiting the height of residential buildings due to concerns raised over light and air, fire safety and the protection of visual integrity of L’Enfant’s brilliant design of a “grand city for a great nation.”