West End, Washington, D.C.

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Intersection of 22nd Street and New Hampshire Avenue in the West End

The West End is a neighborhood in Washington, D.C.. It includes the area between K Street to the south, Rock Creek Park to the west and north, and New Hampshire Avenue and 21st Street to the east. The West End is so named because it was the westernmost part of the original Pierre L'Enfant plan for the city of Washington, before the annexation of Georgetown. It is home to the embassies of Qatar and Spain, as well as to the Egyptian Defense Office. The George Washington University and The George Washington University Medical Center are on the edge of the West End, at Washington Circle.

In the past, the West End had many vacant lots and old buildings. In 1972, the District's Office of Planning and Management wrote an urban renewal plan "to bring life to a declining part of the city." Titled "New Town for the West End," the aerial photograph on the cover of the study showed the area that was planned to become a "new intown community." Today, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Residences, the Park Hyatt and Fairmont hotels, numerous luxury condominiums, and several of the city's best restaurants are in the West End. However, the Columbia Hospital for Women closed and became apartments.

The neighborhood is close to Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Dupont Circle, the downtown business district, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Kennedy Center, and the Watergate.

History[change | change source]

Columbia Hospital for Women building in the West End

Historically, West End was a predominantly African-American community with brick Victorian rowhouses and warehouses.[1] From 1880 until May 2002, the Columbia Hospital for Women provided care for women having babies. The hospital was important because other hospitals in the area (such as Arlington Hospital) refused to help African-American women having babies. The hospital closed and the building became apartments.[2]

Recent developments[change | change source]

Many new buildings are coming to West End, with hundreds of new luxury condominiums either under construction or in the planning phase.[3]

In 2007, controversy began over the last remaining "underdeveloped" parcel of land, known as Square 37. Bordered by 23rd Street, 24th Street, L Street, and an alleyway, this is unusual because its short buildings from the 1800s to the 1960s, are different from the many new, tall buildings on the neighboring blocks. Square 37 was home to the Tiverton, the last remaining rent-controlled apartment building in the West End. The Tiverton tenants gained local media attention for successfully stopping people who wanted to build new buildings on Square 37.

The DC Council passed controversial emergency legislation on July 10, 2007 to sell the West End public library branch, the DC Special Operations Police Station (both on Square 37), and a firehouse (on neighboring Square 50) to the developer called Eastbanc.[4]

Education[change | change source]

District of Columbia Public Schools operates Francis-Stevens Educational Center at 2425 N Street.

District of Columbia Public Library operates the West End Neighborhood Library.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. Bowman, LaBarbara (March 27, 1977). "Building Boom Hits West End With a Sour Note;West End's Black Residents Pressed by Redevelopment". The Washington Post.
  2. "Columbia Hospital for Women". National Library of Medicine. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  3. "DC Lofts and Washington DC Condos - All about modern, urban living in Washington DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Maryland, and Beyond". Archived from the original on 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2011-07-17.
  4. Jenkins, Mark (July 12, 2007). "Rushing Development to the ER". Washington City Paper.
  5. "Hours & Locations." District of Columbia Public Library. Retrieved on October 21, 2009.

Other websites[change | change source]

Coordinates: 38°54′25.4″N 77°2′58.9″W / 38.907056°N 77.049694°W / 38.907056; -77.049694