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The Fascinating History of 5 Iconic Capitol Hill Buildings

Capitol Hill is an iconic destination and residential enclave for many reasons. If you are thinking of buying a home in Capitol Hill, you will marvel at the historic row houses that line the town’s streets and give it its character. The buildings, in classic Victorian and Federal styles, include not one but two houses of Congress and other key government, cultural, and historic buildings. And the magic doesn’t end there. A stroll down the streets of Capitol Hill reveals many exciting landmarks with a story to tell. Here is a look at five fascinating examples you can visit.

United States Capitol

You cannot talk about Capitol Hill homes for sale or to visit without mentioning the Capitol. Construction of this historic building began in 1973 following a competition initiated by then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson, who christened the soon-to-be-constructed building “Capitol” in a publication, called for architects and designers to submit proposal designs for a $500 prize. Famous French architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant initially won, but his design was turned down because it was too expensive. The Capitol, as we see it today, was the result of a late entry by William Thornton.

Hiram W. Johnson House

Another Capitol Hill gem, the Hiram Johnson House, was built between 1817 and 1822. The Second Empire, a Federal-style home, is most famously associated with its most famous owner, US senator, California governor, and Progressive Party founder, Hiram Johnson. It is also called the Mountjoy Bayly house, after the second Sergeant at Arms of the Senate and the man who built it. Located at 22 Maryland Ave., NE, the iconic home was named a National Historic Landmark in 1976 and currently belongs to Stewart R. Mott.

Marine Corps House of the Commandants

The Marine Corps House of the Commandants was built in 1806. However, the building was conceived in 1801 by Lt. Colonel William Burrows and President Thomas Jefferson, who chose what is today Eighth and I sts., SE. as the location for the home of the US Marine’s highest-ranking officer. The home maintains its rich military connections and remains available to the Marine commandant and his family. It is also widely thought to be the oldest continually occupied building in Capitol Hill.

Friendship House

Another building with a military history, Friendship House, was initially used as a hospital for wounded soldiers during the War of 1812. The home was built between 1795 and 1796 and bought by lawyer, author, and poet Francis Scott Key a year after he wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” (1815). Since then, the home has had different owners, including the Friendship House Association in 1936, and was turned into a condominium complex in 2012. Its most famous visitor was George Washington.

Sewall-Belmont House

Named after suffragist Alva Belmont, this house was built in 1800 by the Sewall family. The building was bought by the National Woman’s Party and remains a symbol of women’s equality, having been declared a national monument for women’s equality by President Obama in 2016.

Explore Capitol Hill Real Estate with Thomas Kolker

Often primarily associated with the United States Congress, Capitol Hill is home to many wonders. It is one of the largest historic residential neighborhoods in the state and home to over 35,000 vibrant people. If you are ready to become one of them, consider investing in Capitol Hill real estate. Contact Local real estate expert Thomas Kolker, who, in addition to these iconic buildings, can show you the luxury condos, Victorian estates, and other properties currently available for sale in Capitol Hill.