Riders traveling along Fourteenth Street corridor can catch a Metrobus on the 50s line. Along this route, you’ll notice over two dozen historic sites, which range from the impressive Tivoli Theatre in Columbia Heights to downtown’s iconic Willard Hotel. A majority of the sites along Fourteenth Street relate to the expansion of the federal workforce during the early to mid-twentieth century--and particularly the residential and commercial infrastructure that developed around it.
On the northern end of Fourteenth Street, you’ll notice many apartment buildings. The concentration of these buildings in the Brightwood neighborhood reflects the growth of the city’s streetcar lines and residential construction patterns during the interwar period. In Columbia Heights, you may notice a unique mix of urban and suburban housing stock, which is indicative of the area’s changing demographics over the last century. While it was originally one of the city’s most affluent neighborhoods, Columbia Heights’ popularity grew significantly during the 1920s and 1930s, which resulted in the construction of several large apartment buildings; some of these, including The Cavalier, Trinity Towers, The Olympia, and Clifton Terrace are featured on this route.
Further south, a densely packed assortment of hotels and office buildings characterize the area. For example, the Willard Hotel, an imposing Beaux Arts building at the northwest corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Fourteenth Street, is a well-known establishment. Opposite the Willard, the District Building houses DC’s local government, including the municipal offices. Renamed the Wilson Building in 1994, it is a beautiful Neoclassical Beaux Arts style office building constructed in the first decade of the twentieth century; its smaller scale distinguishes it from other, less ornate, Federal Triangle buildings, the bulk of which were designed between 1928 and 1938.
This tour hopes to draw your attention to the hidden gems along your daily commute or your trip from one historic site to the next. Start at the historic site that’s closest to you! If you're traveling south on routes 52/54, click “Next” to follow along. If you're traveling north, click “Previous.”