Logan Circle (July 31, 2020)
This evening we explored Logan Circle, accompanied by our good friend Ross who lives in the neighborhood. Speaking of Ross, we would like to give a shout out to Ross’s parents, Camille and David, who live in England. We are looking forward to seeing them both on this side of the pond again once the current madness ends.
We started at the circle that gives the neighborhood its name. The circle surrounds a massive equestrian statue of John A. Logan, a Union General during the Civil War.
Logan, known as Black Jack by his troops because of his dark hair and eyes, is regarded as one of the Union Army’s most successful generals. He took part in a number of battles and was wounded twice. General Ulysses Grant, in writing to President Lincoln, described Logan as “a most valuable officer and worthy of every confidence . . . There is not a more patriotic soldier, braver man, or one more deserving of promotion.”
The statue, dedicated in 1901, was sculpted by Franklin Simmons and the base was designed by Richard Morris Hunt who has designed a number of prominent American buildings, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
The Circle is surrounded by large townhouses including one where Logan actually lived.
Another interesting building on the Circle is The Old Korean Legation building. The building began its life in 1877 as the home of another American Civil War hero, Seth Ledyard Phelps. Phelps was a Union naval officer serving with distinction during the Mississippi River campaigns. He commanded squadrons of gunboats that played key roles in riverboat assaults on Confederate troops during various battles.
The Korean government bought the building in 1891 for $25,000 but did not own it for long. When Japan took power over Korea in 1905, it sold the building for $10 to an American buyer. In 2012, the National Trust for the Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Korea and the Cultural Heritage Administration purchased the building for $3.5 million. The building was renovated and now includes a Korea Garden and a granite “Eternal Youth Gate” also known as bulomun in Korean. The building contains a museum that is currently closed due to the pandemic.
There are a number of beautiful houses, rowhouses and duplexes in the neighborhood.
A number had beautiful front doors.
Some of the coolest places are tucked into the back alleys which where carriage houses once stood. This modern one particularly took our fancy.
Tucked into the same alley was the Kingman Boys and Girls Club which caught our attention with its bright green windows and doors.
The club offers children after school and summer-long daycare, cultural outings and celebrations, athletic and recreational activities, employment opportunities and life-skill workshops. It serves approximately 120 District kids from 6-18 years old.
We liked these brightly colored row houses with their watermelon mural.
Running through the middle of the Logan Circle neighborhood is 14th Street NW, which over the last few years has become one of the District’s hottest night time destinations, with numerous restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs, theaters and stores. Like the rest of the city, the street has been hit hard by the pandemic and many of the venues are currently closed. However, one place that apparently continues to go strong is the French bistro, Le Diplomat. Its terraces were packed. It even had expanded into one lane of an adjacent road.
Just down the block from Le Diplomat is one of Washington’s premier venues for contemporary theatre, the Studio Theatre, which was founded in 1978. The venue has four theatres and over the years, it has won over 72 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in professional theatre. We are not sure if it still does, but The Studio Theatre also used to offer acting lessons. We know this because, back in the nineties, Lauren took a couple of courses at the Studio and performed in a couple of student plays at the venue.
Due to the pandemic, the Studio is not currently showing any performances.
Despite the unpleasantly high heat and humidity that is a feature of the city’s Summer, we don’t often come across tropical plantings. Here is a rare exception.
We like this building with its wall of buddhas.
During our walks we have come across a number of quirky front yard installations but this was definitely one of the quirkiest.
According to Ross, The Barbie Pond on Q Street features a rotating cast of Barbies celebrating different themes depending on the time of the year. Can you guess the current theme? The pond even has its own Instagram page which you can check out at barbie_pond_ave_q.
As the night fell we made our way back through the darkening streets
To our car which was parked on the roof of the local Wholefoods market which by this stage of the night was totally empty.