Dear PoP – “Where do I live?” Vol. 37

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“Dear PoP,

I am fairly sure that we live in Shaw, but my husband says that we live in NOMA….A friend thinks we are downtown, yet another friend thinks we are covered by Logan Circle. For reference, we live at 12th and M NW. Heeeelp!”

Some might even say Mt. Vernon Square! But I agree with you, and say you are firmly in the southern border of Shaw. I think M is actually the border with Shaw to the north and downtown to the south. I’ve never had a clear grip of Logan’s borders. What do you guys think are the borders of Logan Circle?

46 Comment

  • I lived at 13th and Mass from 2000-2003 and always thought of that area as Logan Circle…

  • Dupont Circle, without a doubt.

  • Mt Vernon Square, without a doubt. I lived a block over for a couple years and have to agree with GoogleMaps labelling on this one.

  • Logan Circle I guess. It’s almost downtown.

    Dupont Circle?! It’s like a mile from there!

  • If you live at 12th and M, you are 2 blocks from Thomas Circle. That’s closer than Logan, Dupont or Mt Vernon. Downtown stops at Mass Ave. Logan stops at N. Shaw stops at 11th. You’re in Thomas Circle.

    • Thomas Circle isn’t considered a neighborhood though. I think you can use it as a point of reference when you direct people where you live, but not to label your hood.

      It’s obviously Shaw, but Logan Circle is a neighborhood within Shaw, like the U Street Corridor area. Yet your are very close to Mt Vernon Square….which is also part of Shaw (as I understand it and from the signs in the street in the area). I understand your predicament, but I think you could say any one of the three – Logan Circle is probably the biggest stretch.

  • You live in Shaw. Suck it! Go old school and call in Midcity if you want, but no circles for you.

  • Either Logan or Mt. Vernon. I feel shaw is stricktly single digit streets.

    • Wrong. Shaw is a huge neighborhood with lots of sub-neighborhoods in it. Once an area becomes gentrified (like Logan Circle) they try to take themselves out from under the Shaw umbrella, but technically they’re still in it.

  • I lived at 10th and M for a couple of years and always referred to it as the southern border of Shaw or Mt Vernon Square area.

  • I have never heard of Thomas Circle being a neighborhood, just like Foggy Bottom is not called Washington Circle.

    I would say Logan Circle or Mt. Vernon, when people think Shaw they don’t generally think of the area around 12th and M.

    Also, I think (hope) that the reference to Dupont Circle is probably a joke. For those of us who have recently shopped for real estate (or ever rented an apt. in the city) its pretty common to see houses well over a mile from Dupont be listed as “Dupont” as a neighborhood, most people who are new to the city have no idea what the boundaries are or that DC can change from block to block.

    • Realtors and landlords have been doing this type of creative naming of neighborhoods for years now. I remember when realtors and landlords wouldn’t dare say a house was located in Logan Circle. It was “Dupont East.”

  • I think that;s Logan Circle. There are houses on 10th (b/w N and M) that are designated as being in the Logan Circle Historic District.

  • Logan circle east? NONOMA? West Mt. Vernon? North of the White House?

    Why not just say 12th and M? Or M at 12th if you read yesterday’s thread.

  • Logan Circle all the way. 1 block west and 2 blocks north and you’re on the circle. Ditto what Rich said above, though Thomas Circle is geographically closer, people don’t understand it as a neighborhood designation. I live at 14th and N and can’t tell you how many times I used to tell people I live just north of Thomas Circle and was met with a blank stare. Then I’d say I live near Logan Circle and they immediately understood.

  • You’re on planet earth.

  • Heidely-ho, neighbor! I live at 13th and N, and consider my location Logan Circle. Pay no attention to PoP; instead, pray he gets a geography lesson – soon! Okely-dokely-doo!

  • I’m pretty sure it’s the nexus of the universe.

  • The DC Citizen Atlas says 1212 M STREET NW is in Mt Vernon Square. I’d say that’s as definitive an answer as you’ll get.

    • How did you get that? I was only able to find a reference to a neighborhood cluster … which contained several neighborhoods.

      • I’m probably too late for you to see this, but click the Real Property tab, search for an address, and click the address link in the results. The page then shows City Neighborhood and Assessment Neighborhood.

        You can get to the same data by zooming to the neighborhood, changing the Mouse Action radio button to Identify, and then clicking the light blue dot that identifies a property.

  • Shaw has shrunken to a fraction of its former size – U Street used to be a part of Shaw, and so did Logan Circle. Today, they’re distinct neighborhoods. At this point, I think the borders of Logan Circle run from 15th to 11th and Mass Ave/M St up to R or S.

  • It looks like it’s in the Shaw historic district if you believe that signs on the lampposts.

    (The lampposts in my part of town say there’s a “fourteenth street heights.”)

  • Realtor: Dupont East

    Seriously, you’re a block and a half from Logan Circle, that seems pretty clear cut. It’s logan.

  • For what it’s worth, the Logan Circle Community Association purports to represent the area bounded by 9th, 16th, L & S Streets, so 12th & M can certainly consider itself within Logan Circle by that metric. (The western blocks of the LCCA territory are also claimed by the Dupont Circle Community Association, but that’s another matter). Back in the 1950s and 1960s, “Shaw” was considered to encompass just about anything between 7th, 16th, M and U. Shaw was also a “Model Cities” area in the 1960s. Since “Model Cities” areas were considered a euphemism for “slums,” Shaw was a moniker avoided by the gentrifiers from the ’70s on; as a result, it has moved increasingly further east, so that areas not originally included in Shaw (i.e. 5th St.) are now thought of as being in that area, presumably on the grounds that even “Shaw” sounds better than “Old City.”

  • The following link ( is for the Shaw borders per the National Capitol Planning Commission. This is prior to DC Statehood. After DC statehood, what the City government began to call and geographically determine where a neighborhood was and what it was going to be called appears to follow the same lines as Wards and SMDs, which follwed census enumeration district lines. Also if your brain can handle something being two things at the same time Logan Circle can be Shaw. I’ve got some 1970s pamphlet from a group trying to establish the Logan Circle Historic District and they say they are a part of the Shaw Urban Renewal Area.
    OR you can make up something and get a whole bunch of people to agree with you and disregard the historical evidence.

    • Forgot to add. 12th and M is just barely in the NCPC’s map borders for Shaw. If you’re on the North side of the street, Shaw, southern side, Mt Vernon Sq.

  • It sure as hell isn’t NOMA, even though you are North of Mass…

    Has NOMA always been called NOMA, or is that a recent developer term?

  • Georgetown East-East

  • Mt Vernon Square via Historic Shaw via Old City #1

  • What neighborhood is Scott Circle? Seems right at Dupont/Logan/”Downtown” border?

  • The more important issue is whether you call it 12th and M or M at 12th.

  • please alert you husband to the noma website. you can debate the shaw/logan thing to death, but you’re definitely, definitely, definitely not in noma.

    (as an aside, this is a prime example of why a name like noma is stupid. massachusetts avenue extends from southern avenue to western avenue. are we going to have people who live near westmoreland circle claim to be in noma, or people in fort dupont? dumb, dumb name.)

    • when we say u street neighborhood people know we’re talking about u only from 7th to 18th.
      when we say h street people know we’re talking about 3rdne to 13th ne
      when we say penn quarter people know we’re not talking about the whole length of pennsylvania avenue
      when we say waterfront, people know we are not talking about all the areas of dc that touch water
      when we say foggy bottom, we are not talking about the entire bottom of riverfront land

      • yes, and all of those places are already geography limited by their name. noma clearly doesn’t work the same way as the others if someone near thomas circle can be confused by it.

        (and the H street neighborhood goes all the way to 15th, not 13th)

        • how is it that Penn Quarter is “geographically limited” by its name, but Noma isn’t?

          how is the h street neighborhood geographically limited by its name? there are places on h street in dc that are not in the h street neighborhood.

  • You are definitely in Logan Circle (neighborhood name).

    I agree that NoMA is a silly name… reminds me of SoHO or some other catchy name of a neighborhood/borough in Manhattan (or Hong Kong) — trying to hard to be like some other place or city. How’s SoLo — South of Logan? EaConn– East of Connecticut? or NoPA?

  • other dc names trying to be like other places:
    West End
    the Palisades
    Michigan Park
    manor park

    if not more others.

    basing names on other places is nothing new.

  • Good neighborhood map of the District of Columbia at:

    • Wiki does a good job in breaking the n’hoods down. The whole thing is funny to me as I moved to DC 8 years ago to 10th & S NW; my friends thought I lived in the ghetto….formally known as Shaw. Now “Logan” to the southwest and “U St” to the north, all still Shaw to me…and proud of it!

      Wonder what ppl will call 7th St in 5 years when it looks like 14th St does today? I’ll still call it Shaw.

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