Why Connecticut Avenue?
DC is famous for its lively and cultured neighborhoods. Each has a well-known character and community. For this series, we want to go a step further and explore the streets themselves, discuss their historical connections to the city, and talk about the lifestyles afforded to those who reside on them.
Last week, we wrote about Massachusetts Avenue and its contributions to DC’s Northwest Quadrant.
Today we are featuring Connecticut Avenue, one of the city’s most cherished streets. For many residents, Connecticut Ave apartment living means easy access to the Capital’s best dining, shopping, nightlife, and entertainment. But its contribution to the DC experience goes much further.
Connecticut Ave – A Rich History
Connecticut Ave today is a thoroughfare spanning all the way from Northwest DC to Maryland’s Montgomery County. But it’s origins are much more humble.
When the plan for DC was first conceptualized in 1791 by French-American military engineer Peter L’Enfant, only the portion of Connecticut Ave south of today’s Florida Avenue appeared.
Throughout the 19th and 20th century, Connecticut Avenue began to grow and start shaping the neighborhoods we are familiar with today.
The Rock Creek Canyon was an obstacle to northern real estate expansion until 1891 when the Rock Creek Railway opened a bridge spanning the canyon. Shortly afterward, in 1897, plans were announced for an extension of Connecticut Avenue north of Dupont Circle via the Taft Bridge, completed a decade later.
This was the beginning of real estate development North of DC’s former border at Florida Avenue and the shaping of Woodley and Cleveland Park as well as other Northern DC neighborhoods.
Living on Connecticut Ave Today
Today, Connecticut Avenue is a street that is full of shopping, dining, and nightlife, in the city’s most cherished NW Quadrant neighborhoods. These include Dupont Circle, Woodley Park, and Cleveland Park.
Apartment residents living on or near it enjoy all the conveniences of city living without straying too far from home, and many of the communities shaped around it have the street and its expansion over the years to thank for what they have become.
The Northwest Quadrant
Connecticut Ave might just be the most significant factor in shaping the NW quadrant as it is known today. Starting in Downtown DC, it runs through Dupont Circle, over Rock Creek, and through Woodley Park and Cleveland Park before becoming Maryland State Highway 185.
In particular, the road’s expansion over Rock Creek kicked off a wave of real estate development north of the city’s previous border, which formed the Northwest neighborhoods we know and love today.
Connecticut Ave Apartments in Dupont Circle
Connecticut Avenue’s contribution to Dupont Circle goes all the way back to the inception of DC back in the 18th Century. Those living in a Dupont Circle apartment on or near Connecticut Ave are right in the middle of one of DC’s most active and engaging neighborhoods.
The street hosts some of the neighborhoods most beloved dining, cafes and coffee shops, all of which neighborhood residents have seamless access to on foot. Additionally, the circle is a popular area for various social, cultural, and political events to bring the community together.
Connecticut Ave Apartments in Woodley Park
Heading Northwest of Dupont Circle, Connecticut Ave passes near Adams Morgan, crosses Rock Creek and arrives in the quiet Woodley Park neighborhood. The bridge spanning the Creek (once called “the million dollar bridge”) lead to a boom of real estate expansion. Part of that expansion is what is known today as Woodley Park.
Here the street hosts the famous Smithsonian Geographic Zoological Park. Those who live on Connecticut Ave in Woodley Park have the luxury of visiting the zoo and the area’s many other parks and recreational activities.
Most Woodley park residents view it as a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of urban living, without straying too far from the Capital’s many pleasures and conveniences.
Connecticut Ave Apartments in Cleveland Park
With the construction of the Taft Bridge, Cleveland Park began development. At the time it was even named “Connecticut Avenue Highlands” after the road.
Today, Cleveland Park is known as a quiet and peaceful neighborhood with an incredibly active and proud community. In fact, much of the research for this article was made possible by the Cleveland Park Historical Society, a member-run organization committed to preserving the past and the future of this charming neighborhood.
Apartments on Connecticut Ave enjoy unique characteristics compared to most DC Apartments. Because Connecticut Ave serves the area as a hub of retail and dining, residents have access to all the things they love about urban living while being afforded a delightfully suburban lifestyle. It has become a place that is truly the best of both worlds.
Living on Connecticut Avenue provides convenient access to the Majority of the Northwest Quadrant. The street is served by multiple Metro Stations and bus routes, and residents who own a vehicle have access to the road itself all the way from Maryland to Capitol Hill.
The seamless access to public transit just footsteps away from many Connecticut Avenue apartments is one of the most significant luxuries the street affords its inhabitants.
The Last Word
Connecticut Avenue and its development over the centuries is one of the most significant contributors to the growth of the Northwest Quadrant. Initially serving Downtown and Dupont Circle, its growth Northward resulted in the creation of two of DC’s most beloved neighborhoods.
Today, it’s a hub for social gatherings, a flourishing business community, and a highlight of the areas it is present in. Around it, neighborhoods thrive as places with active populations that cherish and protect what has been built around it.
Home to many apartment buildings, people choose to rent on Connecticut Avenue because it allows them to enjoy the many benefits of the neighborhoods it runs through with unmatched convenience. From Dupont Circle’s lively social character to the comfortably suburban Cleveland Park, those who reside on the avenue get a front-row seat to everything these areas offer.