The Logan Circle Historic District-Washington DC


Logan Circle Historic District
Photo courtesy of the DC SHPO

This approximately eight-block area is a unique, virtually unchanged example of a prosperous, late-19th-century residential neighborhood constructed around a large open urban space. The focal point of the district is Logan Circle, an important element of the 1791-92 L’Enfant Plan and Ellicott Plans for the Federal City. Impressive three-and-four-story townhouses, closely grouped, surround the circle and some of the radial streets. Nearly all were constructed during the 25-year period between 1875-1900 and present an almost solid street façade of Late Victorian and Richardsonian architecture.

In the center of the circle itself is a bronze equestrian statue of Major General John A. Logan on a pink marble base. The sculpture was designed by Franklin Simmons. Logan was Commander of the Army of the Tennessee during the Civil War and later the Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. Logan also served as Representative and Senator from Illinois. President McKinley attended the dedication ceremonies in 1901.

One of the greatest distinctions of the Logan Circle Historic District is the way in which the buildings, individually and in groups, occupy the irregularly shaped lots and frontages created by the non-grid pattern of the streets. Despite variations of style, detail, and individual excellence, it is the unity of materials, scale and period character, which make this group of buildings a distinct and significant historic district.

Statue of Major General John A. Logan
Photo courtesy of the DC SHPO

Nos. 1 and 2 Logan Circle is a double house designed in the Second Empire style and constructed around 1880 which aggressively occupies the prominent southwest position on the circle. Nos. 4-14 and 1500 13th Street are 11 townhouses which occupy the northwest quadrant of the circle and typify the architecture of the district. Of varied High Victorian and Richardsonian styles, constructed of several kinds of stone and brick, all are three to five stories in height. No. 4 is particularly noteworthy for its porches and detailing. No. 1500 13th Street has considerable ornamental ironwork with the original cast-metal porches, rails and fences remaining. Nos. 1314-1344 Vermont Avenue is a series of houses which represents excellent examples of late-19th-century domestic architecture. They date from 1875 to 1890 and are constructed of brick, pressed brick and stone. Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church at 1308 Vermont Avenue is an individually designated landmark within the District of Columbia. The church was erected between 1882 and 1884 as the Vermont Avenue Christian Church. R. G. Russel of Hartford, Connecticut, designed the church in the High Victorian Gothic style.

In its heyday, the circle was a fashionable address, the home of prominent businessmen and statesmen. By the mid-1890s, the wealthy were beginning to build their mansions further west toward Dupont Circle. Today, Logan Circle is the focus of renewed restoration and preservation activity.

The Logan Circle Historic District generally includes the buildings in the immediate vicinity of Logan Circle. Privately owned these buildings are not open to the public. Metro stop: Shaw-Howard University