History of Capitol Hill:


The Capitol Hill Historic District takes its name from the hill, which rises in the center of the Federal City and extends eastward. This hill, which in 1790 was called Jenkins Hill or Jenkins Heights, was the site chosen by Pierre L'Enfant for the placement of the "Congress House," a site which L'Enfant characterized as a "pedestal waiting for a superstructure." In accordance with this plan, the United States Capitol Building was situated upon the crest of the hill facing the city. Stretching easterly behind the Capitol Building along wide avenues lies the residential area known as Capitol Hill. Capitol Hill, one of the oldest residential communities in Washington, has grown from a small boarding house community for members of Congress to an area of more than 150 squares embracing a number of separate neighborhoods.

In the early years of the Republic few Congressmen wished to establish permanent residence in the city. Instead, most preferred to live in boarding houses within walking distance of the Capitol.

Capitol Hill is the largest residential historic district in the District of Columbia. Almost every street is composed of rowhouses of different stylistic varieties and periods forming a continuous wall broken only by street intersections. Side by side exist early 19th century manor houses, Federal townhouses, small frame dwellings, ornate Italianate bracketed houses and the late 19th century press brick rowhouses with their often whimsical decorative elements combining Richardsonian Romanesque, Queen Anne, and Eastlakian motifs. One of the more interesting houses is the Sewell-Belmont House, perhaps one of the oldest houses in the city and rebuilt after the War of 1812.

The street pattern in Capitol Hill has remained faithful to the original 1791 L'Enfant Plan for the Federal City, a plan that called for grand diagonals superimposed over a standard grid pattern. East Capitol Street, a monumental avenue running east from the Capitol to the banks of the Anacostia River, still provides a major focus for the area and serves as the division between the northeast and southeast sectors of the city.

Historic Landmarks

Christ Church: 620 G St., SE (ph.) 202-547-9300

Congressional Office Buildings:

Eastern Market: 225 7th St., SE

Library of Congress: 101 Independence Ave., SE

Lincoln Park: East Capitol St., (Between 11th St., & 13th St.,)

Marine Barracks: 8th St., & I St., SE

Sewell-Belmont House: 144 Constitution Ave., NE (ph.) 202-546-1210

St. Mark's Episcopal Church: 301 A St., SE (ph.) 202-543-0053

Union Station: 50 Massachusetts Avet., NE (ph.) 202-289-1908

United States Botanic Gardens: 245 1st St., SW (ph.) 202-225-8333

United States Capitol: 1st St., & East Capitol St.,

United States Supreme Court: 1 1st St., NE (ph.) 202-479-3000

Washington Navy Yard & Museum: 6th St., SE & M St., SE