Holiday House Tour: Logan Circle


December 4, 2011, Washington, DC: Logan Circle is a fantastic and historic neighborhood in northwest Washington just east of Dupont Circle. Older gay couples, young single professionals and families alike call this part of the city home; so do an increasing number of businesses and impressive restaurants springing up along the neighborhood's 14th St. corridor as well as on cross streets like P St. Logan Circle possesses personality and boasts a refreshing variety that's lacking in some other areas of this city. I'd venture to say it's one of my top three favorite neighborhoods in Washington, one I'd certainly consider if buying a home. The home above once belonged to Gen. John A. Logan, a Civil War general turned congressman and senator for whom this neighborhood is named. His former residence was one of several we visited this afternoon on the Logan Circle Community Association's 33rd annual Logan Circle holiday house tour.

A penchant for house tours runs in my family. We moved often growing up, but even when settled, we were always, quite steadily, looking at houses. Open house syndrome has rubbed off: I regularly peek into open houses on a walk to the market or pause in front of a "For Sale" sign midway through a run to GPS my location on the iPhone, look up a Zillow real estate listing, and scroll through the photos to see what's inside. In brief, after hearing about today's house tour from her local mom’s club, my friend called upon the right person with whom to peer down alleyways, snap photos of carolers and study the juxtapositions at play in the homes of this diverse city neighborhood.

Our self-guided tour revealed a handful of lavish architectural details, a healthy dose of history and, to be expected, boatloads of house envy. Whether in an 1886 one-bedroom, fifth-floor walk-up next door to Birch and Barley or in a luxuriously large home on Q St., we oogled over antique details and historic charm. In a modern condominium on Church St., in a stately rowhouse on Vermont Ave., and in Gen. Logan's old home turned brightly renovated apartments, we planned outdoor meals on massive terraces. We discussed which members of our families would get choice bedrooms. We envisioned people-watching from these perches above our city.

The diversity of spaces represented throughout the neighborhood stood out above all on this holiday tour. An ultra-modern bachelor pad and an old wood paneled library got equal play today, perhaps reflective of a broader message about this neighborhood's acceptance of differences, be they architectural or philosophical.

I learned of a good story today. I learned that in 1885, on the night he was elected to his second term in Congress, Logan stood on the balcony of his home (pictured below) to address the crowds of African American supporters gathered in the circle who'd come to thank him for supporting emancipation. As the story goes, Logan spoke to the crowd from above. Guess what he did next? He invited them all to come inside.