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Capitol Hill was once known as Jenkins Hill or Jenkins Heights in 1790. As a geographic feature, Capitol Hill rises near the center of the District of Columbia and extends eastward. Pierre L’Enfant, as he began to develop his plan for the new Federal City in 1791, chose to locate the “Congress House” on the crest of the hill, facing the city, a site that L’Enfant characterized as a “pedestal waiting for a monument.”
The neighborhood of Capitol Hill developed as the U.S. Government began building at two locations, the Capitol and the Washington Navy Yard. It became a distinct community named by Thomas Jefferson between 1799 and 1810 as the federal government became a major employer.Originally, the neighborhood was was a small boarding house community within walking distance to the Capitol for members of Congress. During the the early years of the Republic, few Congressmen wished to establish permanent residences in the city. Capitol Hill has attracted a stable, unpretentious middle class citizenry whose modest yet imaginative housing typifies the historic district and gives it its character and identity.
CAPITOL HILL LANDMARKS
Landmarks of Capitol Hill include not only the United States Capitol, behind the Capitol is the Supreme Court building and the Library of Congress, serving the United States Congress, it is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States and is the largest and most international library in the world. The Senate and House office buildings are located there. Union Station is at the northern end of Capitol Hill, not only Washington DC’s main rail terminal, but also one of the most popular tourist attractions, due to its recent renovation.
Eastern Market and Fresh Seafood IN WASHINGTON, DC
Eastern Market is far more than a market, it is Capitol Hill’s diverse cultural hub brimming with over 100 vendors. Artisans, jewelers, farmers, and food vendors, they are from all around the world, including five continents. Eastern Market has served as a community core, connecting neighbors, families and visitors. Originally opening in 1873, it was continually operated as a farmers market through April 30, 2007, when an early morning electrical fire heavily damaged it. Eastern Market reopened its doors the summer of 2009 after two years of reconstruction work. Local seafood catch is available in nearby Main Avenue Fishmarket.
Capitol Hill History
The Washington Navy Yard was built on the bank of the Anacostia River in 1799, providing work to craftsmen who built and repaired ships. Many of these craftsmen were employed at the Navy Yard and in the Capitol’s construction, chose to live within walking distance to the east of the Capitol and the north of the Navy Yard. They became the original residential inhabitants of the neighborhood. Later, Captitol Hill was selected to be the location of the Marine Barracks by President Thomas Jefferson, in 1801, being close by the Navy Yard and within marching distance of the Capitol and the White House. By 1810, many churches, shops, blacksmiths and goldsmiths shops flourished in the area.
With the advent of the Civil War, hospitals were built along with other construction growth in the Capitol Hill area. The construction of houses continued into the 1870’s and 1880’s. Piped water, plumbing and electricity became available in the 1890’s and was first offered to the downtown areas of the District, which included the Capitol Hill area. As a result, Capitol Hill had a real estate development boom through 1910. Composed of predominantly brick rowhouses with different decorative elements of Richardsonian, Romanesque, Eastlakian and Queen Anne eras. It suffered a period of economic decline and rising crime in the mid-20th century but gradually recovered.
Capitol Hill homes