How Low-key Luxury West End Neighborhood Got Its Name

It may not be very large in size or as well-known as some of its neighbors, but the low-key, West End neighborhood is luxurious in its own right. This affluent neighborhood of high-priced condos, hotels and restaurants has truly evolved from its humble roots.

While the West End as we know it is tied to planning efforts of the 1970s, the West End moniker wasn’t solely created during this time. The boundaries haven’t exactly been the same in the neighborhood over the years, but the West End can tie its name to its general location.

The neighborhood sits in DC’s Northwest quadrant and was considered to be westernmost section of L’Enfant’s original plan. The Old West End is home to decorative Victorian rowhomes and art deco apartment houses on the east side of 23rd Street, while housing in Foggy Bottom on the west side of 23rd Street was considerably less ornate. 

Over time, George Washington University took over some of the buildings on the east side of the roadway and eventually the neighborhood became a trendy and convenient place for professionals to call home. Property values went up, and at one point, both sides of 23rd Street took on the name Foggy Bottom.

The name West End almost went away completely. That’s until the DC government endorsed it for the area within the boundaries of Rock Creek, N Street, New Hampshire Avenue, and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The 1970s-era plan envisioned a mixed-use area of office and residential development. Large hotels soon went up in the West End, but it wasn’t until the late 1990s that most new residential construction moved in. These days, the West End is one of the most highly sought after sections of DC to call home, and many office buildings have since been converted into residences in recent years.

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