A Quick Tour of the Architectural Styles Dominating Capitol Hill

As one of the oldest residential communities in DC, Capitol Hill is now home to a variety of architectural styles. Some of its earliest homes still stand today.

Because of the changing needs of the neighborhood, you’ll find a distinct mix of architectural styles, including Federal-style residences, as well as some Colonials and even some ultra-modern homes. In some cases, the homes show more than one architectural style, which reflects not only the amount of time it took for construction to finish, but also sometimes, the changing tastes of homeowners.

The oldest home on Capitol Hill is officially called The Maples, but sometimes called the Friendship House. It was originally built in the late 1700s by a local builder and architect in a Late Georgian-style.

Some early 19th Century homes also still stand on Capitol Hill including a rowhouse referred to as the George Watterston House, and the Mountjoy Bayly House. Both were constructed in a Federal-style architecture, but also brought in some Georgian architectural style points, as well. 

The Old Naval Hospital is one of the few buildings still standing from the mid 1800s. It was constructed with Greek Revival and Italianate style points. 

Around the time of the later 1800s, rapid growth in the neighborhood transformed it to primarily middle class, ushering in the modest rowhouses which characterize much of the Capitol Hill Historic District today. By the early 20th Century, the neighborhood transformed again from predominantly single-family homes to apartment buildings.

When production slowed in the Navy Yard at the end of World War II, the workforce significantly decreased. Many middle-class workers fled to the suburbs, and the Victorian rowhouses were oftentimes divided into apartments for lower income residents. As the need grew for more affordable housing in this part of DC, some older buildings were knocked down and replaced altogether.

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