Washington D.C.’s Logan Circle is a vibrant and dynamic neighborhood, centered at the intersection of 13th and P Streets NW. As the only traffic circle in the city that has remained purely residential, the streets in this neighborhood overflow with chic new restaurants, hip health clubs, avant-garde theaters, and residents just enjoying each other’s company. Logan Circle is alive with a neighborhood spirit epitomizing Washington DC’s effort to rebuild its classic neighborhoods.
During the Civil War, this area, originally named Iowa Circle, was home to Camp Barker, an army barracks that became a refugee camp for newly freed slaves. Congress later renamed the area Logan Circle in honor of John A. Logan, a Union army commander and Illinois Senator who resided here at the time of his death. After the war, a neighborhood emerged that welcomed all races. Streetcar tracks were laid down along 14th Street to encourage growth, and the street became a popular shopping district, later filled with automobile showrooms and other commercial establishments. At the same time, Victorian mansions and row homes blossomed around the area, housing the city’s upper middle class. Prominent African-American writer Alain Locke and other notable figures in the Harlem Renaissance – including musician Duke Ellington and poet Langston Hughes – helped establish this area as the epicenter of Washington’s affluent black community. Unfortunately, like much of the city, the 1968 race riots devastated this area, and for a time it became known as the city’s red light district and a haven for drug dealers.
It took years to reestablish itself, but time has brought tremendous revitalization to Logan Circle. Today some now call the area a “millennial mecca” thanks to the influx of young professionals in recent years, yet it also remains popular with older residents, who either grew up here or downsized from large suburban homes. Residential options in Logan Circle include modern loft-style condominiums converted from former auto showrooms, as well as traditional row houses, some of which remain single-family homes, while others have been renovated into condos.
The busy Whole Foods market on P Street has become the unofficial social hub of the neighborhood, and upscale bars and boutique gyms are popular with the younger crowd. The neighborhood is also home to a number of thriving theatre companies. Like neighboring Dupont Circle, the area has an active gay and lesbian community, and the pride parade in June is a major event. But unlike Dupont Circle, the park in the center of Logan Circle itself is often less hectic, sprinkled with dogs walking their humans and residents relaxing in the grass.
As in its glory days, Logan Circle has once again become a magnificent place to enjoy the neighborhood feeling of a true community, nestled in the midst of a vibrant modern city.