Chartered by Congress as a social club for the spouses of Senators, Representatives, Cabinet members, and Supreme Court Justices, the Congressional Club is a distinctive wedge-shaped classical building with a prominent domed rotunda at its apex on the corner of 16th Street and New Hampshire Avenue. Designed by Ecole-des-Beaux-Arts- trained architect George Oakley Totten, and built in 1914, it exemplifies the vision of Mary Foote Henderson, a club member and pioneering advocate for the development and embellishment of Sixteenth Street according to the principles of the City Beautiful Movement.
The Greater U Street Historic District is significant as a Victorian-era neighborhood, developed largely between 1862-1900. The area consists of a coherent group of row houses constructed overwhelmingly by speculative builders and real estate developers along streets established by the L'Enfant plan. The neighborhood's rapid development was in response to the city's strong demand for housing following the Civil War, the growth of the federal government in the late 19th century, and the expansion of Washington's economy and population. Development was made possible by the laying of streetcar rails along 14th and 7th streets by the Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company in 1862. The new streetcar technology opened up this vast area for residential development, making it convenient for the first time to government employees and others to commute downtown to work and shop. By the end of the 19th century, the transportation corridors along 14th and 7th streets had developed as neighborhood-based commercial strips. Most of the area's brick Victorian-era architecture remains intact along the area's residential streets and commercial corridors.
DC Inventory: July 28, 2011
Contributing Building to the Greater U Street Historic District