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Dupont Circle History

Dupont Circle is a place where feminists first fought, gay residents felt welcomed, capitalist entrepreneurs embraced innovation, and the cutting-edge, progressive thinkers of the city gathered. Right now, the BID is focusing on the future while celebrating the past of this iconic place. Did you know that “Dupont Circle” also refers to a historic district and a circular public space managed by the National Park Service?

Dupont Circle Park

The Army Corps of Engineers began construction of Dupont Circle in 1871, and it was formerly called Pacific Circle. To honor Rear Admiral Samuel Francis duPont for his Civil War service, a bronze statue was installed in the center of the circle in 1884. The Circle itself is managed by the National Park Service and is widely regarded as one of DC’s most iconic public spaces.

Dupont Circle Fountain

In 1921, the bronze statue was replaced by a double-tiered white marble fountain designed by sculptor Daniel Chester French and architect Henry Bacon. The three statues encircling the fountain’s central shaft symbolize the Sea, the Stars, and the Wind.

To view historic resources on the neighborhood, visit the following:

DC Preservation League, Dupont Circle Historic District
National Park Service, Dupont Circle Historic District
PBS/WETA, History of Dupont Circle (video)