Logan Circle, Washington, D.C.

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Logan Circle
Neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Aerial view of Logan Circle, facing southwest
CountryUnited States
DistrictWashington, D.C.
WardWard 2
Government
 • CouncilmemberJack Evans
Area
 • Total.17 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total7,976
 • Density46,917.6/sq mi (18,115.0/km2)
 
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Logan Circle
Neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Aerial view of Logan Circle, facing southwest
CountryUnited States
DistrictWashington, D.C.
WardWard 2
Government
 • CouncilmemberJack Evans
Area
 • Total.17 sq mi (0.4 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total7,976
 • Density46,917.6/sq mi (18,115.0/km2)

Logan Circle is a traffic circle, neighborhood, and historic district in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C.[1][2] The primarily residential neighborhood includes two historic districts, properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and sites designated D.C. Historic Landmarks.[2][3][4] It is the only major circle downtown that remains entirely residential.

History[edit]

19th century[edit]

During the Civil War, present-day Logan Circle was home to Camp Barker, former barracks converted into a refugee camp for newly freed slaves from nearby Virginia and Maryland.[5] In the 1870s, streets, elm trees, and other amenities were installed by Washington Mayor Alexander Robey Shepherd, who encouraged the development of the area. Streetcar tracks were laid into what was then a very swampy area north of downtown Washington, to encourage development of the original Washington City Plan. As a result, the area saw development of successive blocks of Victorian row houses marketed to the upper middle class, which sought to give Washington the reputation, modeled after European capitals, of a city of broad boulevards and well-manicured parks. Many of the larger and more ornate homes came with carriage houses and attached servant's quarters, which were later converted to apartments and rooming houses as the upper middle class moved elsewhere.

20th century[edit]

An equestrian statue honoring John A. Logan stands in the center of Logan Circle.

Originally known as Iowa Circle, the park was renamed by Congress in 1930 in honor of John A. Logan, Commander of the Army of the Tennessee during the Civil War, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and Representative and Senator for the state of Illinois, who lived at 4 Logan Circle from 1885 until his death the following year.[6] At the center of the circle stands a monument in honor of Logan, a bronze equestrian statue sculpted by Franklin Simmons and a bronze statue base designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt. On April 9, 1901, the 25 feet (7.6 m) monument was dedicated by President William McKinley, Senator Chauncey Depew, and General Grenville M. Dodge.[2][6][7]

4–7 Logan Circle. The former residence of John A. Logan is on the far left.

In the early 20th century, 14th Street NW rose to prominence as a main shopping district for both black and white Washingtonians on the edge of downtown Washington D.C., and became known as an area for auto showrooms. Further north, "14th and U" became synonymous with a large African American community, later known as Shaw, encompassing parts of Logan Circle and U Street to the north. Segregation marked the emergence of this large area of well-preserved Victorian row houses as a predominately African-American community; the unofficial dividing line was 16th Street NW, several blocks to the west, with Logan Circle and its older homes sandwiched in between. During this period, the original Victorian homes in the area were subdivided into apartments, hostels, and rooming houses. The end of segregation saw a period of middle class flight from the area, punctuated by the 1968 Washington, D.C. riots, which devastated the 14th Street commercial corridor.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Logan Circle, although dominated by Victorian homes which had survived mostly untouched by redevelopment or riots, was considered by many unsafe due to overt drug use and prostitution that existed in the neighborhood.[8][9] During this period, property values in the area increased, while issues of homelessness in the area came to the forefront; 14th Street, NW became widely viewed as Washington's red light district. It also became a haven for theater companies.

The Central Union Mission's longtime facility in Logan Circle was sold in 2008. Redevelopment plans include new office space or luxury residential units.

21st century[edit]

During the 2000s, the area gentrified and housing costs sharply increased after derelict buildings were torn down or remodeled.[1] The commercial corridors along 14th Street and P Street underwent significant revitalization, and are now home to a variety of retailers, restaurants, art galleries, live theater, and nightlife venues such as Number Nine, a gay bar catering to the neighborhood's large LGBT population.[10][11][12][13][14] A watershed event in the development of the neighborhood was the opening of a Whole Foods Market two blocks from Logan Circle in December 2000, on a site previously occupied by an abandoned service garage; it is now one of the chain's highest grossing markets.[1][8][11] Gentrification in Logan Circle has resulted in a dramatic change of neighborhood demographics; since the 1990s, thousands of white young adults have moved into the neighborhood, while thousands of black adults have moved out of the neighborhood.[15]

Geography[edit]

The Logan Circle neighborhood, situated between the Dupont Circle and Shaw neighborhoods, is bordered by S Street to the north, 10th Street to the east, 16th Street to the west, and M Street to the south.[16][17] The traffic circle is the intersection of 13th Street, P Street, Rhode Island Avenue, and Vermont Avenue. The National Park Service maintains the land located within the traffic circle, a park measuring 360 feet (110 m) in diameter, furnished with wooden benches, decorative lampposts, an iron fence, and concrete sidewalks.[18]

Landmarks[edit]

Logan Circle Historic District
Row houses on the northeast corner of Logan Circle, including the former residence (right) of writer Ambrose Bierce
LocationJunction of 13th Street, P Street, Rhode Island Avenue, and Vermont Avenue, NW
Coordinates38°54′35″N 77°1′49″W / 38.90972°N 77.03028°W / 38.90972; -77.03028Coordinates: 38°54′35″N 77°1′49″W / 38.90972°N 77.03028°W / 38.90972; -77.03028
Area18 acres (7.3 ha)
Architectural styleSecond Empire, Italianate, Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne
NRHP Reference #72001426[19]
Added to NRHPJune 30, 1972

Logan Circle Historic District[edit]

The Logan Circle Historic District is an eight-block area surrounding the circle, containing 135 late-19th-century residences designed predominantly in the Late Victorian and Richardsonian Romanesque styles of architecture. The district was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 30, 1972.[2][4]

The former home of Mary McLeod Bethune, an African American educator, author, and civil rights leader who founded the National Council of Negro Women, is located at 1318 Vermont Avenue NW, one block south of the circle. The Second Empire-style building is a designated National Historic Site and houses the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial Museum and the National Archives for Black Women's History.[20][21]

Fourteenth Street Historic District[edit]

In addition to the Logan Circle Historic District, the neighborhood includes the much larger Fourteenth Street Historic District, added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 9, 1994.[4] The district's approximately 765 contributing properties are considered historically significant because they represent residential and commercial development resulting from one of the earliest streetcar lines in Washington, D.C., the 14th Street streetcar line, installed by the Capital Traction Company in the 1880s.[3][4][22]

John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church, located on 14th Street NW

The oldest house of worship in the Fourteenth Street Historic District is Luther Place Memorial Church, built 1870–1873, an ELCA Lutheran church situated on the north side of Thomas Circle. Originally known as Memorial Evangelical Lutheran Church of Washington, D.C., the building was renamed in 1884 after a bronze statue of Martin Luther was installed on the church's property. Luther Place Memorial Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 16, 1973.[3][23]

The Gladstone and Hawarden, designed by architect George S. Cooper in 1900, are early examples of Washington, D.C.'s middle class apartment houses. Named for Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and his estate Hawarden Castle, they are the first documented twin apartment buildings in Washington, D.C. The Gladstone and Hawarden were added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 7, 1994.[4][24]

Local landmarks[edit]

The Iowa, designed by Thomas Franklin Schneider in 1901, was the birthplace of anthropologist Julian Steward.[25]

The District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites includes several properties in Logan Circle which are not listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Among them are the former residences of: Charles Manuel "Sweet Daddy" Grace, flamboyant founder of the United House of Prayer For All People; John A. Lankford, the first African American architect in Washington, D.C.; Belford Lawson, Jr., lead attorney in the landmark case New Negro Alliance v. Sanitary Grocery Co.; Alain LeRoy Locke, the first African American Rhodes Scholar and central figure in the Harlem Renaissance; Mary Jane Patterson, the first African American woman to earn a bachelor's degree; Ella Watson, subject of Gordon Parks's famous photograph American Gothic, Washington, D.C.; and James Lesesne Wells, noted graphic artist and longtime art instructor at Howard University.[18][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][33][34][35]

The "Watermelon House" is an unofficial neighborhood landmark that features a watermelon mural painted on the side of a 19th-century residence.[36]

Demographics[edit]

Historical populations
CensusPop.
195010,394
19608,236−20.8%
19706,953−15.6%
19805,455−21.5%
19906,45218.3%
20007,27812.8%
20107,9769.6%

Logan Circle has experienced remarkable growth since the mid-20th century, with a 2010 population of almost 8,000 people.

In popular culture[edit]

Logan Circle is the setting for Dinaw Mengestu's The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears, a novel about an Ethiopian American struggling to start a new life in Washington, D.C.[37]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Wellborn, Mark (November 21, 2009). "Trendy now, but not by accident: Residents' efforts paved way in Logan Circle". The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com). pp. F01. Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Logan Circle Historic District". National Park Service. (nps.gov). Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b c "Greater 14th Street Historic District". National Park Service. (nps.gov). Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "District of Columbia Inventory of Historic Sites" (PDF). District of Columbia Office of Planning: Historic Preservation Office. (planning.dc.gov). September 1, 2009. Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
  5. ^ Blight, David W. (2007). A Slave No More: Two Men Who Escaped to Freedom, Including Their Own Narratives of Emancipation. Orlando, Florida: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-15-101232-9. 
  6. ^ a b Williams, Paul Kelsey (2001). Images of America: The Neighborhoods of Logan, Scott, and Thomas Circles. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. pp. 9–46. ISBN 978-0-7385-1404-8. 
  7. ^ Jacob, Kathryn Allamong; Remsberg, Edwin Harlan (1998). Testament to Union: Civil War monuments in Washington, D.C. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 83–84. ISBN 978-0-8018-5861-1. 
  8. ^ a b Moeller, Gerard Martin; Weeks, Christopher (2006). AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C. (Fourth ed.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 268–274. ISBN 978-0-8018-8468-9. 
  9. ^ Schwartzman, Paul (June 8, 2005). "D.C. Gay Clubs' Vanishing Turf: City Earmarks Block of O Street SE for Stadium". The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com). pp. A01. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  10. ^ Hahn, Fritz (September 24, 2004). "The Halo Effect". The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com). pp. WE05. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b Hull, Anne (April 1, 2001). "Palace of Plenty: Food, Class and the Coming of Fresh Fields to Logan Circle". The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com). pp. W19. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  12. ^ Chibbaro Jr., Lou (February 15, 2008). "Obama sweep includes 'gay' D.C. precincts". Washington Blade (washblade.com). Retrieved November 23, 2009. [dead link]
  13. ^ Castro, Melissa (July 25, 2008). "After gay migration, 17th Street seeks a new identity". Washington Business Journal (washington.bizjournals.com). Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  14. ^ Koncius, Jura (May 16, 2007). "Household Names: Prolific Furniture Makers Gold and Williams Are Anonymous No More". The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com). pp. H01. Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  15. ^ Breen, Ann; Rigby, Dick (2004). Intown Living: A Different American Dream. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-275-97591-3. 
  16. ^ Wellborn, Mark (November 21, 2009). "Logan Circle". The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com). pp. F01. Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
  17. ^ Muzzy, Frank (2005). Gay and Lesbian Washington, D.C. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-7385-1753-7. 
  18. ^ a b Bednar, Michael J. (2006). L'Enfant's Legacy: Public Open Spaces in Washington. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 173–178. ISBN 978-0-8018-8318-7. 
  19. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  20. ^ "Mary McLeod Bethune House". National Park Service. (nps.gov). Retrieved November 29, 2009. 
  21. ^ Whitman, William B. (2007). Washington, D.C.: Off the Beaten Path (Fourth ed.). Guilford, Connecticut: Morris Book Publishing. pp. 186–190. ISBN 978-0-7627-4217-2. 
  22. ^ "Washington's Neighborhoods". National Park Service. (nps.gov). Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  23. ^ Brown, T. Robins (July 16, 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Nomination Form" (PDF). National Capital Planning Commission. (nps.gov). Retrieved November 23, 2009. 
  24. ^ Goode, James M. (1988). Best Addresses: A Century of Washington's Distinguished Apartment Houses (First ed.). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press. ISBN 978-0-87474-477-4. 
  25. ^ Kerns, Virginia (2003). Scenes From the High Desert: Julian Steward's Life and Theory. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. p. 196. ISBN 978-0-252-02790-1. 
  26. ^ "Charles Manuel "Sweet Daddy" Grace Residence". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Retrieved November 28, 2009. [dead link]
  27. ^ "John A. Lankford Residence and Office". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Retrieved November 28, 2009. [dead link]
  28. ^ Moreno, Sylvia (February 15, 2004). "D.C.'s black heritage, block by block". The Washington Post (sfgate.com). pp. C6. Retrieved November 28, 2009. 
  29. ^ "Mary Jane Patterson Residence". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Retrieved November 28, 2009. [dead link]
  30. ^ Fleischhauer, Carl; Brannan, Beverly W.; Levine, Lawrence W.; Trachtenberg, Alan (1988). Documenting America, 1935-1943. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-520-06221-4. 
  31. ^ Miller, Fredric; Gillette, Howard (1995). Washington Seen: A Photographic History, 1875–1965. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-0-8018-4979-4. 
  32. ^ "Belford V. Lawson and Marjorie M. Lawson Residence". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Retrieved November 28, 2009. [dead link]
  33. ^ a b "Alain Locke Residence". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Retrieved November 28, 2009. [dead link]
  34. ^ McRae, F. Finley (November 26, 2009). "Four Blacks Named Rhodes Scholars for Next Year". The Washington Informer (washingtoninformer.com). Retrieved November 28, 2009. 
  35. ^ Lewis, Samella S. (2003). African American Art and Artists (Third ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-520-23935-7. 
  36. ^ Cavanaugh, Stephanie (June 7, 2008). "Watermelon House". The Washington Post (washingtonpost.com). pp. F02. Retrieved November 22, 2009. 
  37. ^ Nixon, Rob (March 25, 2007). "African, American". The New York Times Book Review (nytimes.com). pp. BR1. Retrieved November 22, 2009. 

External links[edit]