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Dupont Circle

Dupont Circle is a traffic circle, park, neighborhood, and historic district in Northwest Washington, D.C. The Dupont Circle neighborhood is bounded approximately by 16th Street NW to the east, 22nd Street NW to the west, M Street NW to the south, and Florida Avenue NW to the north. Much of the neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, the local government Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC 2B) and the Dupont Circle Historic District have slightly different boundaries.

The traffic circle is located at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue NW, Connecticut Avenue NW, New Hampshire Avenue NW, P Street NW, and 19th Street NW. The circle is named for Rear Admiral Samuel Francis Du Pont. The traffic circle contains the Dupont Circle Fountain in its center.  The neighborhood is known for its high concentration of embassies (many along Embassy Row) and think tanks (many along Think Tank Row).


Dupont Circle is located in the “Old City” of Washington, D.C.—the area planned by architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant—but remained largely undeveloped until after the American Civil War when there was a large influx of new residents. The area that now constitutes Dupont Circle was once home to a brickyard and slaughterhouse. There also was a creek, Slash Run, that began near 15th Street NW and Columbia Road NW and ran from 16th Street near Adams Morgan, through Kalorama, and within a block of Dupont Circle, but the creek has since been enclosed in a sewer line. Improvements made in the 1870s by a board of public works headed by Alexander “Boss” Shepherd transformed the area into a fashionable residential neighborhood.


 The neighborhood is centered around a traffic circle divided by two counterclockwise roads. The outer road serves all the intersecting streets, while access to the inner lane is limited to through traffic on Massachusetts Avenue. Connecticut Avenue passes under the circle via a tunnel; vehicles on Connecticut Avenue can access the ring via service roads that branch from Connecticut near N Street and R Street.

The National Park Service maintains the park within the circle. The central fountain, designed by Daniel Chester French, provides seating, and long, curved benches around the central area were installed in 1964. The park within the circle is a gathering place for those wishing to play chess on the permanent stone chessboards. Tom Murphy, a homeless championship chess player, is a resident. The park has also been the location of political rallies, such as those supporting gay rights and those protesting the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

In 1999, Thelma Billy was arrested handing out Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless. In 2009, the Washington Project for the Arts sponsored a tug of war. EZ DC Junk Removal

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