Logan Circle (Washington, D.C.)
Aerial view of Logan Circle, facing southwest
|• Total||.17 sq mi (0.4 km2)|
|• Density||46,917.6/sq mi (18,115.0/km2)|
Logan Circle is a traffic circle park, neighborhood, and historic district in the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. The primarily residential neighborhood includes two historic districts, properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and sites designated D.C. Historic Landmarks. Vermont Avenue NW, Rhode Island Avenue NW, 13th Street NW, and P Street NW meet at the circle. An equestrian statue of Major General John A. Logan stands at its center. It is the only major circle downtown that remains entirely residential.
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. 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.
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 U.S. representative and senator for the state of Illinois, who lived at 4 Logan Circle. At the center of the circle stands Major General John A. Logan, an equestrian statue of Logan 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.
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.
In 1956, the three inner lanes of 13th Street were paved across Logan Circle to speed the influx of suburban workers into DC. In 1980, to encourage more people to use Metro, the inner lanes across Logan Circle were closed. Later they were removed and the park restored.
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. 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.
During the 2000s, the area gentrified and housing costs sharply increased after derelict buildings were torn down or remodeled. 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 and Trade, gay bars catering to the neighborhood's booming LGBT population. 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. Gentrification in Logan Circle has resulted in a dramatic change of neighborhood demographics; since the 1990s, thousands of White young LGBT & Hipster adults have moved into the neighborhood, while thousands of Black families have been forced to move out of the neighborhood.
- on the north by S Street NW and the U Street Corridor (a.k.a. Cardozo/Shaw) neighborhood;
- on the east by 10th Street NW and the Shaw neighborhood:
- on the south by M Street NW and the Downtown area
- on the west by 16th Street NW and the Dupont Circle neighborhood
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.
Logan Circle Historic District
Row houses on the northeast corner of Logan Circle, including the former residence (right) of writer Ambrose Bierce
|Location||Junction of 13th Street, P Street, Rhode Island Avenue, and Vermont Avenue, NW|
|Area||18 acres (7.3 ha)|
|Architectural style||Second Empire, Italianate, Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne|
|NRHP reference No.||72001426|
|Added to NRHP||June 30, 1972|
Logan Circle Historic District
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.
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.
Fourteenth Street Historic District
In addition to the Logan Circle Historic District, the neighborhood includes the much larger Fourteenth Street Historic District, added to the NRHP in 1994. 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 Capital Traction Company's 14th Street line, built in the 1880s.
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.
The Gladstone and Hawarden, designed by architect George S. Cooper in 1900, are early examples of Washington's middle class apartment houses. Named for U.K. Prime Minister William 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 NRHP on September 7, 1994.
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.
The Victorian building on the north side of the park, 15 Logan Circle, was built for military officer and diplomat Seth Ledyard Phelps and served as the Korean legation from 1889 to 1905. Following an extensive restoration project, the building now serves as the Old Korean Legation Museum.
Residents are served by the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). Garrison Elementary School in Logan Circle has a capacity of over 350 students. As of 2013[update] the school had 228 students.
In 2013 Kaya Henderson, the chancellor of DCPS, proposed closing Garrison. Parents campaigned to save it. The school remained open and DCPS agreed to help modernize it. By 2015 renovations were delayed.
In popular culture
- Major General John A. Logan Monument
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- 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. pp. 93. ISBN 978-0-15-101232-9.
- "Iowa Circle Passes". Washington Evening Star. December 11, 1930. p. 1.
- 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.
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- Richburg, Keith B (16 September 1980). "D.C. Plans to Close Section of 13th Street". Washington Post.
- 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.
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- 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.
- Chibbaro Jr., Lou (February 15, 2008). "Obama sweep includes 'gay' D.C. precincts". Washington Blade. washblade.com. Archived from the original on July 20, 2008. Retrieved November 23, 2009.
- Castro, Melissa (July 25, 2008). "After gay migration, 17th Street seeks a new identity". Washington Business Journal. washington.bizjournals.com. Retrieved November 23, 2009.
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- Breen, Ann; Rigby, Dick (2004). Intown Living: A Different American Dream. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 249. ISBN 978-0-275-97591-3.
- Wellborn, Mark (November 21, 2009). "Logan Circle". The Washington Post. washingtonpost.com. pp. F01. Retrieved November 22, 2009.
- Muzzy, Frank (2005). Gay and Lesbian Washington, D.C. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-7385-1753-7.
- 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.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
- "Mary McLeod Bethune House". National Park Service. (nps.gov). Retrieved November 29, 2009.
- 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.
- "Washington's Neighborhoods". National Park Service. (nps.gov). Retrieved November 23, 2009.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kerns, Virginia (2003). Scenes From the High Desert: Julian Steward's Life and Theory. Chicago: University of Illinois Press. pp. 196. ISBN 978-0-252-02790-1.
- "Charles Manuel "Sweet Daddy" Grace Residence". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Archived from the original on December 3, 2008. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
- "John A. Lankford Residence and Office". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Archived from the original on March 24, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
- Moreno, Sylvia (February 15, 2004). "D.C.'s black heritage, block by block". The Washington Post. sfgate.com. pp. C6. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
- "Mary Jane Patterson Residence". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Archived from the original on March 24, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
- Fleischhauer, Carl; Brannan, Beverly W.; Levine, Lawrence W.; Trachtenberg, Alan (1988). Documenting America, 1935-1943. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 227. ISBN 978-0-520-06221-4.
- 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.
- "Belford V. Lawson and Marjorie M. Lawson Residence". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Archived from the original on March 11, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
- "Alain Locke Residence". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Archived from the original on March 24, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
- "James Lesesne Wells Residence". Cultural Tourism DC. (culturaltourismdc.org). Archived from the original on March 24, 2007. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
- McRae, F. Finley (November 26, 2009). "Four Blacks Named Rhodes Scholars for Next Year". The Washington Informer. washingtoninformer.com. Retrieved November 28, 2009.
- Lewis, Samella S. (2003). African American Art and Artists (Third ed.). Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-520-23935-7.
- Austermuhle, Martin (November 28, 2012). "Korea Reclaims Former Embassy Lost to Japan Over 100 Years Ago". The Washington Diplomat. Retrieved September 27, 2020.
- Brown, Emma (March 1, 2013). "D.C. parents develop alternatives to chancellor's school-closure plan". Washington Post. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
- Chandler, Michael Alison (January 29, 2015). "Renovation of D.C.'s Garrison Elementary delayed again". Washington Post. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
- "Attendance Zones for Neighborhood Elementary & K-8 Schools S.Y. 2013-2014" (Archive). District of Columbia Public Schools. Retrieved on April 14, 2015.
- "Attendance Zones for Neighborhood High Schools S.Y. 2013-2014" (Archive). District of Columbia Public Schools. Retrieved on April 14, 2015.
- Nixon, Rob (March 25, 2007). "African, American". The New York Times Book Review. nytimes.com. pp. BR1. Retrieved November 22, 2009.
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