DC -- Dupont Circle neighborhood (but not the fountain):
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DUPONT_170326_28.JPG: Church of Scientology building
DUPONT_170414_03.JPG: Olga Hirshhorn
DUPONT_170414_13.JPG: Quinta do Amor
Wikipedia Description: Dupont Circle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dupont Circle is a traffic circle in the northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C., at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Connecticut Avenue, New Hampshire Avenue, P Street and 19th Street. The name is also given to the public park within the circle, as well as the surrounding neighborhood, which is bounded approximately by 15th Street to the east, 22nd Street to the west, M Street to the south, and Florida Avenue to the north.
Dupont Circle is served by a station of the same name on the Washington Metro Red Line; the entrances are north (Q Street) and south (19th Street) of the circle.
The area was a rural backwater until after the Civil War, when it first became a fashionable residential neighborhood. Some of Washington's wealthiest residents constructed houses here in the late 19th century and early 20th century, leaving a legacy of two types of housing in the historic district. Many of the grid streets are lined with three- and four-story rowhouses built primarily before the end of the 19th century, often variations on the Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque revival styles. Rarer are the palatial mansions and large freestanding houses that line the broad, tree-lined diagonal avenues that intersect the circle. Many of these larger dwellings were built in the styles popular between 1895 and 1910.
One such grand residence is the marble and terra cotta Patterson house at 15 Dupont Circle (currently the Washington Club). This Italianate mansion, the only survivor of the many mansions that once ringed the circle, was built in 1901 by New York architect Stanford White for Robert Patterson, editor of the Chicago Tribune, and his wife Nellie, heiress to the Chicago Tribune fortune. Upon Mrs. Patterson's incapacitation in the early 1920s, the house passed into the hands of her daughter, Cissy Patterson, who made it a hub of Washington social life. The house served as temporary quarters for President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge in 1927 while the White House underwent renovation. The Coolidges welcomed Charles Lindbergh as a houseguest after his historic transatlantic flight. Lindbergh made several public appearances at the house, waving to roaring crowds from the second-story balcony, and befriended the Patterson Family, with whom he increasingly came to share isolationist and pro-German views. Cissy Patterson later acquired the Washington Times-Herald (sold to The Washington Post in 1954) and declared journalistic warfare on Franklin D. Roosevelt from 15 Dupont Circle, continuing throughout World War II to push her policies, which were echoed in the New York Daily News, run by her brother Joseph Medill Patterson, and the Chicago Tribune, run by their first cousin, Colonel Robert R. McCormick.
The current boundaries of Dupont Circle include a small residential section that was once an overlap between Dupont and the Shaw neighborhood. This section, west of 16th Street roughly between Swann Street and Florida Avenue, is today a historic district called the Strivers' Section.
Strivers' Section was historically an enclave of upper-middle-class African Americans — often community leaders — in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including a row of houses on 17th Street that were owned by Frederick Douglass and occupied by his son. It takes its name from a turn-of-the-century writer who described the district as "the Striver's section, a community of Negro aristocracy."
Today, the Strivers' Section is still largely occupied by the Edwardian residences that have populated the area since its historical roots, along with a number of apartment and condominium buildings and a few small businesses.
Construction of the traffic circle, originally called Pacific Circle, began in 1871. In 1882, Congress authorized a memorial statue of Samuel Francis Du Pont in recognition of his service as a rear admiral during the Civil War; this was part of the efforts made by his family and others to rehabilitate his reputation after he was made a scapegoat for the failure of the assaults on Fort Wagner in South Carolina. A bronze statue was erected in 1884 in a park at the center of the circle. The Du Pont family moved the sculpture to Wilmington, Delaware in 1920, and commissioned the current double-tiered, white marble fountain from sculptor Daniel Chester French and architect Henry Bacon (the co-creators of the Lincoln Memorial). The fountain was installed in 1921. Three classical nude figures symbolizing the sea, the stars and the wind are carved on the fountain's shaft.
The present Connecticut Avenue traffic tunnel was built in 1949 as part of the now-defunct Capital Transit project. Many incorrectly think the traffic tunnel is where the streetcars operated. However, the streetcar tunnels were built in addition to the traffic tunnel and started a block north and south of the traffic tunnels. The tracks followed the outer perimeter of the circle and paralleled the traffic tunnel north of the circle underneath the Connecticut Avenue service roads. The purpose of the streetcar tunnels was to alleviate the traffic congestion created when the streetcars traveled (in both directions) around the circle's western side. After the demise of streetcar operation in January 1962, the tunnel entrances were filled in and paved over in August 1964, leaving only the traffic tunnel. The tunnel entrances were located where the tree-filled medians now stand north of N Street and between R and S Streets.
The tunnels (one northbound, one southbound) each contained an underground station (different from the present Dupont Circle Metro station). These stations are no longer used, and their entrances on the east and west sides of the circle are boarded up. An attempt in 1995 to redevelop the old southbound station as a food court called Dupont Down Under failed. In 2003 the owner of a 20 year lease to the space investigated possible uses without any significant progress.
Post-World War II:
The neighborhood's fortunes and importance began to decline after World War II, and reached a nadir after the race riots of the late 1960s. Its residential character was threatened by encroachment of commercial development from downtown, and many fine buildings were demolished.
Beginning in the 1970s, however, Dupont Circle began to enjoy a resurgence fueled by urban pioneers seeking an alternative lifestyle. The neighborhood took on a bohemian feel and became a gay area. Along with The Castro in San Francisco, Greenwich Village in New York City, and West Hollywood in Los Angeles, it is considered a historic locale in the development of American gay identity. Pioneering gay bars on P Street in Dupont Circle included P Street Station (since renamed the Fireplace), Mr. P's (of John Paulk fame, since closed), Badlands (a multilevel gay dance bar, since renamed Apex), and the Frat House (since renamed Omega D.C.). A newer cluster of gay bars exist on 17th Street a couple blocks east of the circle, including JR's, The Dupont Italian Kitchen (also known as "Windows"), and Cobalt.
Gentrification accelerated in the 1980s and 1990s, and the area is now a more mainstream and trendy location with coffeehouses, restaurants, bars, and upscale retail stores. Notable stores include a 24-hour bookstore and restaurant, Kramerbooks & Afterwords, and D.C.'s first gay bookstore, Lambda Rising. The Brickskeller opened in 1957, across from Rock Creek Park, in the Marifex Hotel building and became renowned for its very large selection of beer, which has it listed in Guinness World Records.
The neighborhood is centered around the traffic circle, which is divided between two counterclockwise roads. The outer road serves all the intersecting streets, while access to the inner road is limited to Massachusetts Avenue traffic. Connecticut Avenue passes under the circle via a tunnel; vehicles on Connecticut Avenue can access the circle via service roads that branch from Connecticut near N Street and R Street.
The park within the circle is a gathering place for those wishing to play chess on the permanent stone chessboards. Tom Murphy, a homeless championship chess player, is a resident.
The park has also been the location of political rallies, such as those supporting gay rights and those protesting the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. The park is maintained by the National Park Service.
The Dupont Circle neighborhood, as a whole, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The neighborhood is home to numerous embassies, many which are located in historic residences. Located nearby on Massachusetts Avenue in Embassy Row are the Christian Hauge House, which houses the Embassy of Cameroon, the Joseph Beale House, which houses the Egyptian embassy, and the Walsh-McLean House which is home to the Indonesian embassy. Nearby, on R Street, the Charles Evans Hughes House now is occupied by the Chancery of Burma. Located east of Dupont Circle on Massachusetts Avenue is the Clarence Moore House, which used to house the Canadian embassy, and the Emily J. Wilkins House which formerly housed the Australian embassy and now is occupied by the Peruvian Chancery. The Chancery of Iraq is located in the William J. Boardman House on P Street.
Other historic places:
Other historic places include the Friends Meeting House on Florida Avenue, the Codman-Davis House on Decatur Place, the Barney Studio House on Massachusetts Avenue. The Phillips Collection is located on 21st Street, between P Street and Massachusetts Avenue. The Textile Museum is located on S Street NW, in the Martha Tucker House and George Hewitt Myers House. The Woodrow Wilson House is also located on S Street. The Richard H. Townsend House on Massachusetts Avenue now houses the Cosmos Club. The Embassy Gulf Service Station is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A statue of General Phillip H. Sheridan is located in Sheridan Circle, which is located on Massachusetts Avenue, near the Dumbarton Bridge (also known as the Buffalo Bridge). The bridge, constructed in 1883, carries Q Street over Rock Creek Park and into Georgetown.
In addition to its residential components, comprised primarily of high-priced apartments and condominiums, Dupont Circle is home to some of the nation's most prestigious think tanks and research institutions, including the Brookings Institution, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, The Eurasia Center, and the Peterson Institute. The renowned Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of The Johns Hopkins University is located less than two blocks from the circle. Dupont Circle is also home to the Founding Church of Scientology, the first such church established by the religion's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. The Phillips Collection, the nation's first museum of modern art, is located near the circle; its most famous and popular work on display is Renoir's giant festive canvas Luncheon of the Boating Party.
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