The George Washington University/Old West End Historic District is located in the present-day neighborhood of Foggy Bottom in northwest Washington, D.C. and encompasses the historic core of The George Washington University as well as other buildings not associated with the university. The irregularly shaped district spans eleven city blocks west of the White House and east of 23rd Street. The area, part of what was historically referred to as the “West End,” was one of Washington’s premier residential neighborhoods in the early to mid-19th century and still contains some of the city’s finest pre-Civil War dwellings.
The district consists of 125 buildings (116 contributing, 9 non-contributing), including 19th and early 20th century buildings from the mixed-use neighborhood along with University-built academic buildings that together form the core of The George Washington University campus.
Initial development in the neighborhood consisted of substantial detached dwellings from the mid-19th century, including several architecturally sophisticated, high-style examples. Later, during the fourth quarter of the 19th century and early 20th century, rowhouses and small apartment buildings filled in the lots between the older freestanding houses and/or replaced them. During this period of development, public, commercial, educational, and religious buildings were built to support the needs of the residential population. Several of these buildings survive as notable reminders of the area’s past, including the craftsman-style Engine Company 23, the former Grant School featuring a tall central tower, the Romanesque Revival Concordia United Church of Christ, and the Spanish Mission-style Union Methodist Church. In 1912, when The George Washington University established itself in the neighborhood, it adapted existing buildings to accommodate academic and administrative uses. During the early to-mid-20th century, the University constructed new, purpose-built academic buildings and other facilities in the former neighborhood, developing its first campus master plan, the Harris Plan, in 1922 that included University Quadrangle (now University Yard) at its center. Collectively, the University buildings, old and new, the Yard and other open spaces combine to form a vibrant urban campus.
DC designation: October 2, 2014