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Foggy Bottom Historic District
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. Historic District
Map of Washington, D.C., with Foggy Bottom highlighted in red
Location: Bounded by New Hampshire Ave., Twenty-fourth, Twenty-sixth, H, and K Sts., NW
Added to NRHP: October 14, 1987
NRHP Reference#: 87001269

Foggy Bottom is one of the oldest late 18th and 19th-century neighborhoods in Washington, D.C. The area is thought to have received the name because its riverside location made it susceptible to concentrations of fog and industrial smoke, an atmospheric trait that did not prevent the neighborhood from becoming the original location of the United States Naval Observatory. Foggy Bottom is west of downtown Washington, in the Northwest quadrant, bounded roughly by 17th Street to the east, Rock Creek Parkway to the west, Constitution Avenue to the south, and Pennsylvania Avenue to the north.

Foggy Bottom, taken from the Francis Scott Key Bridge

The name Foggy Bottom often is used as a metonym for the United States Department of State because its Harry S Truman Building headquarters is in the neighborhood. The main campus of the George Washington University (GW) also is in Foggy Bottom, as are the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Friendship Lodge Odd Fellows Hall; and the infamous Watergate complex, site of the Watergate burglaries which led to President Richard Nixon's resignation. GW has grown significantly over the past decades and now covers much of the neighborhood, which has many historic old homes and numerous mid-rise apartment buildings.

Just on the edge of Foggy Bottom are the Main Interior Building (headquarters of the Department of the Interior), the gigantic World Bank office building, the Office of Personnel Management, DAR Constitution Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the American Red Cross National Headquarters, the Federal Reserve Board building, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Organization of American States.

Washington Circle in Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom was once a community of Irish, German, and Black laborers employed at the nearby breweries, glass plants, and city gas works. These industrial facilities are also cited as a possible reason for the neighborhood's name, the "fog" being the smoke given off by the industries. The historic neighborhood is preserved and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Foggy Bottom area was the site of one of the earliest settlements in what is now the District of Columbia, when Jacob Funk subdivided 130 acres (0.53 km2) near the meeting place of the Potomac River and Rock Creek in 1763. The settlement officially was named Hamburgh, but colloquially was called Funkstown, and attracted few settlers until the 1850s, when more industrial enterprises came into the area.[1]

Foggy Bottom is served by the Foggy Bottom-GWU Washington Metro station, with service by the Blue and Orange Lines.

Foggy Bottom was also the name of a line of beer by the Olde Heurich Brewing Company, which was founded near Dupont Circle in 1873 by German immigrant Christian Heurich. In addition to its main brand, Heurich, Olde Heurich's most successful products bore such local names as Senate and Old Georgetown. During the 1950s, Heurich Brewing also sponsored the city's professional baseball team, the Washington Senators. Industry consolidation led the brewery to cease operations in 1956. In 1961–1962, the brewery buildings were razed to make way for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Heurich, Jr., and his two sisters donated a portion of the brewery land to the Kennedy Center in memory of their parents, and established the Christian Heurich Family as one of the Founders of the national cultural center. Although the firm was founded in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood, the modern beer was brewed in Utica, New York.


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Coordinates: 38°54′3.2″N 77°3′0.2″W / 38.900889°N 77.050056°W / 38.900889; -77.050056



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