Victorian Splendor

Neighborhood improvements began toward the war’s end. A horse car trolley line was installed along 14th Street in 1864 to help early commuters reach work. This new-fangled transportation, the tremendous growth of DC’s downtown population, and the ambitions of a local politician, Alexander “Boss” Shepherd, all helped to transform the former shantytown. By the 1870s, Iowa Circle emerged as a desirable residential neighborhood and one of the most fashionable addresses in the city. The Circle itself was landscaped in 1874 (in time for annual “high bicycle” races around the circumference in the 1880s). A small fountain sparkled at its center. Most of the three and four story brick and stone townhouses around the Circle were built between 1874 and 1887 in eclectic styles today referred to as Second Empire, High Victorian Gothic, Romanesque Revival, and New Orleans.


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