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Door To Door: Logan Circle, D.C., And Seven Oaks Evanswood, Md.

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Resident Jean Cavanaugh standing in the Seven Oaks Evanswood neighborhood of Silver Spring.
Eva Harder
Resident Jean Cavanaugh standing in the Seven Oaks Evanswood neighborhood of Silver Spring.

It's our weekly trip around the region. This time we'll head to Logan Circle in Northwest D.C., and the Seven Oaks Evanswood neighborhood of Silver Spring, Md.

Logan Circle

Tim Christensen, 56, moved to Logan Circle in 1989 when he and his partner were looking to buy a home.

"We didn't know which way the trajectory would go," Christensen says. "Luckily for us it went up, and it's now one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Washington, D.C."

Christensen says Logan Circle has changed quite a bit over the years.

"Logan Circle was basically farmland until the Civil War," he says. "It began to grow in the 1870s when Boss Shepard was the city manager, and he put in the infrastructure that led to sewage systems, street lights, and electricity and made construction possible, and people started flocking to this neighborhood because it was almost like a suburb of downtown Washington, D.C."

After the Civil War, many freed slaves moved to the District, including the Logan Circle neighborhood. "We've always had an interesting mixture of race and ethnicity, and depending on when you visit throughout our history it may be primarily black or predominantly white, but there's a nice balance here," Christensen says.

He estimated the population of the neighborhood to be about 25,000, and says the key word to the demographics of Logan Circle is "diversity." Christensen says that in addition to a recent influx of young professionals, there are also empty-nesters, elderly folks, and young couples who are just starting their families. Logan Circle also has a considerable LGBT population.

"It's a very welcoming community, and we all live peacefully side-by-side," he says.

Neighbors enjoy events and landmarks in the town, such as the neighborhood's distinctive architecture and park. "One of the most stunning characteristics of the Logan Circle neighborhood is its beauty," he says. "We have, of course, our stunning Victorian architecture, the residential architecture. We also have some pretty amazing contemporary condominium developments, and then if you just look up the street at Logan Circle Park, it was refurbished by the National Park Service not too many years ago."

One of the most notable icons is the statue of Gen. John Logan, which stands in the center of Logan Circle Park. Christensen says the circle was called 'Iowa Circle' until 1930, when the name was changed in honor of the general who briefly lived in the area.

"Another icon in Logan Circle neighborhood is, of course, the fabulous Studio Theatre, which is part of the bedrock of this community," Christensen says. "We have great collaborations between the community and studio."

He says another attraction is the Logan Circle Holiday House Tour, which the Logan Circle Community Association hosts on the first Sunday of every year. Visitors can check out the neighborhood's trademark Victorian homes, and more recently, some of the area's contemporary condominiums that have sprung up in recent years.

Christensen says that the current hot topic in Logan Circle is the growing development along the 14th Street corridor. "We have hundreds and hundreds of residential units coming on line every year, and I don't see an end to that any time soon. We're also very protective of our small businesses, and we are certainly hoping that we can keep our small business in the neighborhood and not make them victims of their own success."

Christensen currently serves as president of the Logan Circle Community Association, which he says has worked tirelessly to improve and serve the neighborhood.

"The Logan Circle Community Association was founded in the 1970s to deal with a couple of very, very difficult problems, and that was prostitution and drug dealing. People rallied around that cause, and from almost the very beginning, the Logan Circle Community Association was very strong. Times have changed; the issues are different. People talk more about parking now than they talk about prostitution, but there are still issues that need to be dealt with, and they do draw the community together."

He says that the era following 1968, and continuing through the crack epidemic of the 1980s and '90s was rough for Logan Circle. But after the '90s, residents worked to reclaim the neighborhood by rebuilding homes and attracting new businesses.

"Everything that happens in Logan Circle happens because of the efforts of a very tenacious, small group of people," says Christensen.

He says he hopes that in spring 2013, Logan Circle will join the network of D.C. Heritage Trails. "The itinerary will include 15 stops along the route through the neighborhood, telling a lot about the intellectual and social history of the neighborhood, and a lot of it is black history.

"What I like best about Logan Circle is that everything I need is within a few blocks of my front door," he says. "Whether it's shopping, dry cleaning, hardware store, great dining, terrific theater, terrific bars, everything is right here."

Seven Oaks-Evanswood

Development is threatening the lush, green neighborhood of Seven Oaks Evanswood, according to local resident Jean Cavanaugh. Located near downtown Silver Spring, the community has easy access to the cultural activities that downtown provides, like the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center and the weekend farmer's market. But the neighborhood itself, which is home to a lot of families, is surrounded by dense greenery and an expansive tree canopy.

"Our tree canopy is something that defines the character of our neighborhood," Cavanaugh says. "We have about over a 60 percent tree canopy, and that is one thing I think most of the community fights to keep."

And according to Cavanaugh, development is one of the reasons keeping the community fighting. "There are a lot of things threatening the tree canopy," Cavanaugh says. "For example, we have a new townhouse development coming into our neighborhood, where they're gonna cut down most of the trees, so it's very sad to lose that."

But even with the changes facing the neighborhood, Cavanaugh says there are reasons to stay. "I think Seven Oaks-Evanswood is a very tight-knit community. I'm not sure you can find this in very many places in the Washington area," she says. "That's why I stay here."

[Music: "No, Girl" by John Davis from Title Tracks / "In a Mellow Tone" by Duke Ellington from The Best American Jazz: Duke Ellington]

Explore previously featured neighborhoods on our Door to Door map:

This map shows previous Door to Door segments, and includes links to photos and show audio. The yellow marker represents neighborhoods featured in Washington, D.C., the blue represents neighborhoods in Maryland, and the red represents neighborhoods in Virginia.


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