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Welcome to Mount Vernon Square, a small residential neighborhood and commercial city square in Washington, D.C. Centered around the prestigious Carnegie Library of Washington D.C., Mount Vernon Square is bounded by North Capitol Street to the east, Penn Quarter to the south, Downtown to the west, and Logan Circle and Shaw to the north. Originally part of a larger square called for in Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s 1791 urban plan for D.C., Mount Vernon Square was effectively formed in the early 1800s by the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and New York Avenue. Eventually replaced by the Carnegie Library in 1903, the former Northern Liberty Market stood along 7th Street in modern-day Mount Vernon Square from 1846 to 1872. Vendors would gather in this square to sell goods in what was one of the city’s busiest areas at that time, attracting residents from nearby neighborhoods and districts. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous furniture and department stores opened along 7th Street, adding to Mount Vernon Square’s overall foot traffic and popularity among D.C. residents. The neighborhood’s proximity to upscale shopping in Penn Quarter and its modestly priced Victorian and Revival townhomes attracted middle and upper-class families to relocate here. The Carnegie Library, D.C.’s first fully desegregated public library, served as the central library for the city until 1972. During those years, Mount Vernon Square was more or less known for being the home of this Beaux-Arts white marble work of architectural and intellectual excellence. The neighborhood fell into a period of decline following the Great Depression but came roaring back to mainstream popularity in the 1990s following the opening of the Mount Vernon Square subway station on the Green Line of the Washington Metro.
Mount Vernon Square is seen today as one of the best places to live in Washington, D.C. for numerous reasons, namely its proximity to a multitude of attractions and entertainment venues. Mount Vernon Square is marked by historic landmarks, such as the Carnegie Library, the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, and the American Federation of Labor Building. However, the neighborhood’s more modern structures draw the largest crowds today. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center, a 2.3-million-square-foot convention center built in 2003, has hosted numerous presidential balls since opening its doors, brought immense foot traffic to the area, and encouraged numerous restaurants and local stores to open shop in Mount Vernon Square. Due to the presence of these enormous convention centers, bars, restaurants, and hotels blanket the area, providing a plethora of options for those wanting to experience a bit of D.C. nightlife. The housing stock in Mount Vernon Square primarily consists of apartments and condos in newer buildings. You can still find some Victorian townhomes and historic 19th-century buildings with rooms for rent scattered throughout this highly developed area. Mount Vernon Square is a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with easily accessible thoroughfares and one subway station, making it the perfect area for professionals that commute to work.