Meridian Hill Historic District

This historic district provides a unique illustration of how the City Beautiful Movement inspired the development of Washington as an international city beyond the National Mall.

The district includes, at its center, the grand neo-Classical Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X 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. Meridian Hill is an excellent example of the application of “City Beautiful” principles to the development of an affluent residential neighborhood.

Built between roughly 1900 and 1940, the Meridian Hill Historic District is situated at a higher elevation at the northern edge of the original city limits laid out by Pierre L’Enfant in 1791. This land rise 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, along 16th Street, with phenomenal views of it and beyond.

During the first decade of the twentieth century, Meridian Hill resident, developer, and promoter, Mary Foote Henderson, the wife of former Missouri senator John Henderson, successfully lobbied Congress to purchase a three-block tract of land on the hill to build the formidable European-style Meridian Hill Park. The park became the framework around which she and her husband created a socially prominent enclave for wealthy statesmen and foreign emissaries.

DC Listing (as Meridian Hill Area): November 8, 1964
DC Register (as Meridian Hill Historic District): March 6, 2014 (designation effective April 13, 2014)
National Register: May 21, 2014



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