January 07, 2010 - 7:47 am

Where is Truxton Circle?

Truxton Circle, Lincoln Road is at the top of the photo.

You’ve seen the streetpole banners on Florida Avenue designating the area around North Capitol Street as Truxton Circle.  But exactly where is the circle?  The circle, pictured above, used to sit right there at the convergence of North Capital Street, Florida Avenue, Q Street, and Lincoln Road.

Urban planning blogger Richard Layman spotted a diagram of the old circle posted on the wall at the offices of DDOT.

Truxton Circle Diagram, Source: Richard Layman

In 1940 the District removed the circle and replaced it with a traditional intersection that failed, and continues to fail, to match the elegance of the original circle pictured at the top of this post.


View Larger Map

A quick perusal of the DC Atlas, the District’s main online map product, reveals the circle’s imprint on the properties just north of Florida Avenue.  It seems that the property lines still accommodate the circle.

Great Truxton's ghost! Proptery lines still show outer limit of the old circle.

Perhaps DDOT will one day resurrect the circle after its seventy-year absence.  In 2006, DDOT restored downtown’s Thomas Circle to its original shape, eliminating the almond-shaped cut-through for Fourteenth Street.  In the 1980s the District similarly restored Logan Circle, eliminating the Thirteenth Street cut-through.  Here in LeDroit Park, Third Street bisected Anna J. Cooper Circle until the District in 1984 restored it to its original circular shape.

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November 29, 2009 - 1:10 am

Old Street Names

Old Harewood Ave Sign

Careful observers occasionally spot the old street signs adorning a few of the light poles in LeDroit Park.  When the neighborhood was originally planned, most of the streets were named after trees.  LeDroit Park’s street system didn’t fit with the L’Enfant Plan in either name or alignment—much to the dismay of the District commissioners—and the street names were eventually changed to fit the naming and numbering system.

A perusal of old maps reveals that the street names changed over time, not all at once.  Elm Street is the only street that has retained its name.  Since your author lives on Elm Street he has learned to respond to puzzled faces that know that Elm doesn’t fit the street naming system: “It’s kinda like U-and-1/3 Street”.

Anna J. Cooper Circle didn’t have a name at all until 1983, when it was restored to its circular form after a decades-long bisection by Third Street.

Just outside of LeDroit Park, the city renamed a few streets as well: 7th Street Road became Georgia Avenue and Boundary Street, the boundary of the L’Enfant Plan, became Florida Avenue.

Here is a table matching the current street names with their previous names.

Old Name Current Name
Le Droit Avenue 2nd Street
Harewood Avenue 3rd Street
Linden Street 4th Street*
Larch Street 5th Street
Juniper Street 6th Street
Elm Street (same)
Boundary Street Florida Avenue**
7th Street Road Georgia Avenue**
Oak Court Oakdale Place
Maple Avenue T Street
Spruce Street U Street
Wilson Street V Street**
Pomeroy Street W Street**
(unnamed before 1983) Anna J. Cooper Circle
* For a short period, 4th Street was called 4½ Street.
** Though these streets were just outside the original LeDroit Park, we have included them for reference.

Signs bearing the old street names have reappeared in the neighborhood, and according to the Afro-American, were put up in 1976:  “The LeDroit Park Historic District Project was instrumental in getting the D.C. Department of Transportation to put up the old original street names for this Historic District Area under the present street name signs”.1

Unfortunately, some of the signs are showing their 33 years of weather, as this sign at Third and U Streets shows.

Old Spruce St Sign

Eventually these signs will have to be replaced, but rather than placing the old names onto modern signs using a modern typeface, we suggest something that evokes the history without being mistaken for the current street name:

New Historic Sign

White text on a brown background is the standard for street and highway signs pointing to areas of recreation or cultural interest.  Seattle started using the color scheme to mark its historic Olmsted boulevards and New York has long used the combination for street signs in its historic districts.  The adoption of this style of sign would alert visitors and residents to the neighborhood’s historic identity while the different color and typeface would prevent confusion with the actual street names (U St NW in this case).  Typographers would be pleased by the use of Big Caslon Medium, a serif typeface based on the centuries-old Caslon typeface.


  1. Hall, Ruth C. “Historic Project”. Washington Afro-American. 1 May 1976.
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