Foggy Bottom Historic District

The row houses of the Foggy Bottom Historic District
capture the history of an early working class
neighborhood in DC.

The Foggy Bottom Historic District is a residential area, whose tree-lined streets contain attractive but modest row houses that reflect their working class origins during the period of 1870-1915. The Historic District is significant for its association with Washington’s early working class, its geographic and sociological relationship with one of Washington’s early industrial areas, its status as one of the few remaining neighborhoods associated with European (mainly Irish and German) immigrants and their African American neighbors, and the value of its architecture as a guide to the lives of its residents.

After the Civil War, many skilled and unskilled immigrant laborers were attracted to Foggy Bottom by industries including the Heurich and other breweries, lime kilns, cement plants, and the Washington Gas Light works. Although smog, soot, and odor from these industries made “Foggy Bottom” a less desirable place to live, those conditions also made homes affordable for workers at these plants and other businesses. In fact, several of the homes were built by immigrants who were proficient carpenters and craftsmen.

The Foggy Bottom Historic District (established in 1987) is bounded by 24th and 26th Streets, New Hampshire Avenue, and K and H Streets. It covers approximately three acres and parts of four squares and contains approximately 226 buildings, of which 135 contribute to the Historic District. The historic buildings are mostly narrow (less than 12 feet wide) brick two- or three-story “late Victorian” residential row houses built from the late 1870s through the 1910s.Through much of Foggy Bottom's history, local businesses also operated out of the row houses with street level grocery stores, saloons, bakeries and beauty parlors and their proprietors living in the floors above.

The Historic District also includes nearly 30 two-story row houses built in the late 1800s in Snows Court and Hughes Mews alleys. Snows Court also contains a large warehouse originally constructed by Wilber Nash as a horse and livery stable in 1914 (with windows for the horses on the second floor).

The row houses of Historic District have maintained much of their original design. Many other Foggy Bottom row houses were demolished in the 1940s-1960s in connection with construction of high-rise residences, highways, George Washington University additions, and federal and international organizations.

The Foggy Bottom Association (FBA) was founded in 1955 as the Foggy Bottom Restoration Association and has worked for historic preservation in the neighborhood. In 2021, the FBA formed its History Project, which has developed a website, including a blog, and a list of resources, in person and on-line walking tours, and a Historic District House Map providing details on existing and lost houses of the Historic District.

DC Inventory: October 15, 1986 (effective October 13, 1987)
National Register: October 14, 1987



Roughly bounded by 25th Street on the east, New Hampshire Avenue and H Street on the south, 26th Street on the west, and K Street on the north