The district is situated at the northern edge of the original city limits as laid out by Pierre L’Enfant in 1791. This land rise, geologically identified as the Wicomico Sunderland escarpment, has a broad extent to the east and west of Meridian Hill that provided a clear and natural northern edge to the federal city. The escarpment is perceptible along the entire northwest sector of the city, but is more pronounced and stunning here as Meridian Hill is located due north of the White House with phenomenal views of it and beyond.
The Meridian Hill Historic District is generally bounded by V Street on the south, Irving Street on the north, 17th Street on the west and the rear of those properties fronting 15th Street on the east. The district includes, at its center, the grand neo-Classical Meridian Hill Park with an important array of grand Beaux Arts-style mansions, foreign legations, and large apartment buildings framing either side of it and extending further north. A clustering of imposing church edifices dominates the northern end of the district at 16th Street and Columbia Road, providing a visual “gateway” to the city from the north. At the same time, the steep rise of Meridian Hill at its southern end effectively pulls vehicles and pedestrians up the hill, past the walled garden, and out of the city proper.
Built c. 1900‑1940
DC listing November 8, 1964 (preliminary identification); not subject to the D.C. Historic Protection Act