How Some of D.C.’s Most Famous Neighborhoods Got Their Names

The truth behind Georgetown, Adams Morgan, and Dupont Circle:

Washington, D.C., is home to many different neighborhoods, most of which offer a completely unique cultural experience from one another, even when they are mere blocks apart. Three of the best-known neighborhoods in the city are Georgetown, Adams Morgan, and Dupont Circle, and while everyone knows those names, few know where those names actually come from.

How did Georgetown get its name?

Surely Georgetown is named for George Washington, like the city and the now-cracked Washington Monument, right? Wrong.

Then it must be named for King George II, who was in power at the time of the city’s founding? Well, that’s entirely possible.

But another popular theory says that Georgetown is named for George Beall and George Gordon, two landowners who sold property to the Province of Maryland, the sites of which became George Town. George Town remained its own city until 1871, when it was folded into the District of Columbia.

Read More on Georgetown & How it Got Its Name Here

How did Dupont Circle get its name?

Dupont Circle can be found in the heart of the original Washington, D.C., the area of the city designed by architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant. The traffic circle for which the neighborhood is named was constructed in 1871, although it was then known as Pacific Circle.

In 1882, the name was changed to Dupont Circle in honor of Samuel Francis du Pont, a rear admiral in the Navy who served in the Mexican-American War and Civil War. A statue of du Pont was constructed in the circle, although his family moved the statue to Wilmington, Delaware, in 1920.

How did Adams Morgan get its name?

Adams Morgan is a relatively new neighborhood in Washington, D.C., at least by name. It wasn’t until 1956 that this section of the city began to be called Adams Morgan. It was in reference to a citizens group looking to improve and integrate the area, the Adams-Morgan Better Neighborhood Conference.

The name itself comes from two different schools in the area. At the time, Adams was the neighborhood school for white children, and Morgan was the neighborhood school for black children. The group wanted to show their collective stance for betterment, regardless of race, and so they combined the two segregated schools into one name. Soon enough, Adams Morgan became unofficially official.

This story was first published by Jake Emen on Yahoo! News on August 25, 2011.

Author: Jake Emen

I’m Jake, and I’m your host on this journey. I'm the man doing the eating and the talking around here. I’m a writer based outside of Washington, D.C., and I'm also talking whiskey, local events, travel, and other assorted misadventures. Follow me on the Tweet Machine - @ManTalkFood, or send an email to jake [at] mantalkfood.com.

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