You may think you know all about Dupont Circle, after all it is one of DC’s most vibrant neighborhoods. From its hip nightclubs and trendy boutiques to its brick rowhouses, this walkable neighborhood is certainly appealing. But there are a few things about Dupont Circle you may not know. More specifically, there are five little known facts, starting with what you’ll find underground.
Long since abandoned, an old trolley station and tunnels still exist under Dupont Circle. It was the only such station built underground, but it hasn’t been used since the early 1960s. Since that time, it’s been used as a fallout shelter and a short-lived food court. Most recently, plans call for converting the underground space into artistic space.
Those tunnels sit just below the Dupont Circle fountain. Originally the spot had a statue commemorating Civil War leader Samuel Francis Du Pont. A few decades later the statue was moved to a park and the fountain went up where it still stands today.
The neighborhood’s been the site of political activism. The Defense Committee for the Black Panthers had its headquarters in Dupont Circle, and several organizations tied to the gay and lesbian community have also been located in the area. The Striver’s Section, dating back to the time following the Civil War, now sits on the National Register of Historic Places.
These days some of the grandest homes in Dupont Circle are part of Embassy Row, but more than a century ago it was Millionaires’ Row. The prestigious homes were owned by some of DC’s most affluent residents.
Home to Presidents
Along with millionaires, some former U.S. presidents an even inventor Alexander Graham Bell once resided in Dupont Circle. Former presidents Coolidge and Taft also resided there, and Franklin Roosevelt had ties to the neighborhood before taking office.