PBS Unusual Spaces Video: The Forgotten Space Below Dupont Circle

The Forgotten Space Below Dupont Circle from PBS Digital Studios on Vimeo.

From Unusual Spaces – PBS Digital Studios:

“Each day, thousands of residents, commuters and visitors traverse Washington DC’s Dupont Circle, one of the most historic and iconic neighborhoods in the nation’s capital. Below its well-traveled streets, however, lies a secret unknown to many who pass above: 75,000 square feet of abandoned tunnels that have remained inaccessible for most of the last 50 years.

Built in the 1940s to alleviate traffic concerns in the growing metropolis above, the tunnels allowed for trolley cars to pass under Dupont Circle and pick up passengers at two below ground stations. Following the closure of the DC’s trolley system in the early 1960s, the tunnels were abruptly abandoned. Apart from a brief, unsuccessful venture in the mid-1990s to install a food court on the western side of the tracks, the space below Dupont has been largely forgotten by the world above. In the mid-2000s, a new organization called the Arts Coalition for the Dupont Underground was formed to pursue a new use for the space as a cultural destination. After years of petitioning, the Arts Coalition signed a 5-year lease with the city in late 2014 that will provide an opportunity to test out possible future uses for the space.”

Ed. Note: Last month we spoke about the future plans for this space.

3 Comment

  • They opened stores down there in the 1990s but they didn’t fly. So is it correct to say the space has not been seen in 50 years?

    • Technically it doesn’t say 50 consecutive years…

      It also looks like that brief food court thing in the 90s only used some of the space. I think it’s fair to say the space has been basically neglected and inaccessible for a long time.

  • I have lived here long enough to remember that underground food court (mostly fast food restaurants). It was kind of cool, and I loved to eat at Pic-A-Pita after my workout at the WSC (this was before Results and Vida). I’m happy to hear that this space may be used again! It’s hidden gems like this that make DC a great place to live.

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