Foggy Bottom is a far cry from a rapidly changing neighborhood — it’s been decidedly wealthy for a couple of decades. But it wasn’t always that way. Washington Circle, a stone’s throw from the new Whole Foods, was an Irish gang crossroads in the late 1800s. Tenement dwellings, smoke stacks and slums dominated Foggy Bottom through the first half of the 20th century, when most residents lived in abject poverty. Much different from expensive homes and grocers with organic salad bars.
Before the transformation of the Anacostia Waterfront and the Navy Yard began, there was Foggy Bottom. The fashionable Northwest neighborhood, now home to luxury condominiums, pristine river views and affluent seniors, was characterized by tenement dwellings, smoke stacks and slums 60 years ago.
At the end of the 18th century, the riverbanks now dominated by the Kennedy Center were D.C.’s gang-ridden and malaria-infested industrial hub. Breweries, lime kilns, shipyards and the Washington Gas Light Company facility brought an influx of European immigrants to Foggy Bottom. Foggy Bottom residents, mostly unskilled manual laborers, often spoke no English.
Courtesy of GWU permalink
Erection of Clark Mills statue of George Washington on Washington Circle, Feb. 22, 1860
Eldra Walker/ Mary-Alice Farina permalink
Pictured left: Snow's Court alley dwellings, circa 1935. Pictured right: Snows Court today.