How Did the Penn Quarter get its Name?

There are plenty of unusual names in the DC area. Some area neighborhoods have strange names tied to their unique beginnings, while others picked up their names from local leaders and philanthropists.

In terms of Penn Quarter, it seems the name isn’t nearly as old as some of the others, despite the age of the neighborhood, itself. In fact, the name Penn Quarter is only a few decades old, which is unique, because the neighborhood has been around for quite some time.

It seems the new name came about to help rejuvenate the area in the 1990s. Once referred to as Old Downtown, the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation was looking for a way to revive the area, and they found it with the name Penn Quarter

The name is tied to the nearby roadway. Pennsylvania Avenue borders the neighborhood. In recent years, the neighborhood of Penn Quarter has seen several big new additions. The Verizon Center came to the area in the late 1990s, which helped usher in a new wave of development.

The International Spy Museum followed a few years later. The former US Patent Office is now museum space in Penn Quarter, and Hotel Monaco has taken over the old General Post Office.

There are also several new boutique shops, high-end restaurants, cultural attractions, and galleries that have moved in. In addition, there are \ big name, trendy retailers in the Penn Quarter neighborhood, too.

While the National Mall is no doubt a major attraction for visitors to DC, many now flock to the walkable neighborhood of Penn Quarter. New condos have appeared in recent years, and older buildings have been revived and restored.

For this reason, you’ll see restored, 19th-Century properties standing alongside sleek, new modern buildings in Penn Quarter. The vibrant community is also easily accessible via public transportation.

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