Routes 30N and 30S are some of the most popular and oldest Metrobus routes. The 30N/30S incorporates paths along old streetcar lines as well as Washington and Georgetown Railroad lines. Buses originally began running along Wisconsin and Pennsylvania Avenues in 1936; over time, lines and stops changed to better transport Washingtonians and visitors across the city.
Looking out the bus window, historic sites along this route provide a glimpse into the development of DC’s financial district, the federal sector, and the city’s expanding neighborhoods from the late-nineteenth through the twentieth centuries.
In the downtown portion of the route, many of the landmarks that can be seen along Pennsylvania and Independence Avenues are federal structures built in the early to mid-twentieth century during a major expansion of the Federal government’s powers and size. On Pennsylvania Avenue between Eleventh and Twelfth Streets NW, riders can see the Old Post Office. Designed in the Romanesque Revival style, it served as DC’s general post office from its completion in 1899 to 1914. In the early 1970s, plans to demolish the iconic structure led to protests and the foundation of Don’t Tear It Down, the predecessor of the DC Preservation League.
The bus also travels through part of the Fifteenth Street Financial Historic District. Several landmarks along the street are banks or trust companies established in the early-twentieth century, such as the Hibbs Building. The prevalent Beaux Arts architecture among these landmarks was greatly inspired by the City Beautiful Movement, which emphasized beautification and monumental grandeur in city planning.
Northwestern landmarks along Wisconsin Avenue represent the innovations and growth which developed the suburban outer neighborhoods of Washington, such as Tenleytown. One of the sites related to this history is the Sears, Roebuck, and Company Department Store, which stands as a reminder of mid-twentieth century innovations in department store design for the increasing mobile and suburban population.
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 going north, click “Next” to follow along. If you’re going south, click “Previous” to follow along.