Mount Vernon Square
Mount Vernon Square Historic District
Mount Vernon Square, with Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, Washington Convention Center, Historical Society of Washington DC, and former NPR Headquarters visible.
|Location||Roughly bounded by New York Ave., 7th St., N St., and 1st St. NW, Washington, District of Columbia|
|Area||100 acres (40 ha)|
|Architectural style||Late Victorian, Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals|
|NRHP Reference #||99001071|
|Added to NRHP||September 3, 1999|
Mount Vernon Square is a city square and neighborhood in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. The square is located where the following streets would otherwise intersect: Massachusetts Avenue NW, New York Avenue NW, K Street NW, and 8th Street NW.
About the square
Mount Vernon Square is bounded on the east by 7th Street NW, on the west by 9th Street NW, on the north by Mount Vernon Place, and on the south by a two-block section of K Street NW that is slightly offset from the rest of K Street.
On the north side of the square is the new Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the second largest building in the city after the U.S. Capitol. On the south side is the Techworld office development, and on the east the former offices of National Public Radio. In the center of the square is the District of Columbia Public Library, now home to the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. The white marble library building, finished in 1903, was a gift of industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Washington's Chinatown is two blocks to the south, and the White House seven blocks to the southwest. The closest Metro station is Mt Vernon Square. The Neoclassical marble Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, located at 900 Massachusetts Avenue NW, is a nearby landmark due west of the square.
Mount Vernon Square is also a Washington neighborhood and historic district, named for the adjacent city square, bounded by 9th Street NW on the west, 1st Street and New Jersey Avenue NW on the east, N Street NW on the north, and Massachusetts Avenue NW to the south. Originally, Victorian-style townhomes occupied this area. It was originally a vibrant business district with sizeable Victorian homes, but the area went into a steep decline in the 1930s. During the 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. riots, the area around the square suffered rioting, arson, and extensive vandalism.
Recent construction in the neighborhood
In 1977, the city used eminent domain to purchase the area southwest of Mount Vernon Square itself. Over the next few years, the homes and businesses on these blocks were razed. One of the last businesses to exist on the 901 New York Avenue NW lot was a Chinese restaurant named Nan King (which was one of the first restaurants in the city to serve dim sum). It stayed in business until 1979. The Washington Convention Center was constructed on the are block bounded by New York Avenue NW, 9th Street NW, H Street NW, and 11th Street NW. Construction on the center began in 1980, and it opened on December 10, 1982. At 800,000 square feet (74,000 m2), it was the fourth largest facility in the United States at the time. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, numerous larger and more modern facilities were constructed around the country, and by 1997 the Washington Convention Center had become the 30th largest facility.
After being replaced by the new Walter E. Washington Convention Center, the old convention center was imploded at approximately 7:30 a.m. on December 18, 2004. Until 2011, the 10-acre (40,000 m2) site was a municipal parking lot that was also used as the intercity bus terminal for Megabus and BoltBus. The site was also used for special events such as Cirque Du Soleil and the home of the Washington Kastles Stadium. However, construction of a new $950 million complex called CityCenterDC on the site began in March 2011.
On November 10, 2011, ground was broken on the 14-story Washington Marriott Marquis, a $520 million, four-star, 1,175-room "convention center headquarters hotel" with more than 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) of meeting room space. The new hotel is adjacent to and northwest of the square.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) purchased the Mount Vernon Triangle site of land at Seventh and K streets N.W. to build their new 300,000-square-foot headquarters. The association will be moving from their current location in the West End to occupy the property by the fourth quarter of 2013 in a sleek modern building .
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09.
- Bednar, p. 132-133.
- Bednar, p. 133.
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- Old Washington Convention Center Site, WashingtonPost.com City Guide, Retrieved May 9, 2007
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- A History of the Washington Convention Center Washington Convention Center website, Retrieved April 13, 2010
- Old Convention Center Imploded NBC4.com, Retrieved May 9, 2007
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- Bednar, Michael J. L' Enfant's Legacy: Public Open Spaces in Washington, D.C. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.
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