The Carroll Family
The tract of land where the Capitol stands in Capitol Hill was once owned by the Carroll Family. They were descendants of a prominent Maryland family whose patriarch signed the Declaration of independence.
There was also a long-running myth that a man named Thomas Jenkins used to pasture livestock on the grounds, but the Capitol HIll Historical Society disproved that in 2004, discovering that his land was seven blocks east—still in the neighborhood of Capitol Hill.
The L’Enfant Plan and the Hill’s Naming
The engineer and architect behind Washington, DC’s initial city plan was a man named Pierre Charles L’Enfant. (Fun fact: the French-American went by Peter when stateside). His L’Enfant Plan, published in 1791, was a basic layout for downtown DC, with a diamond-grid pattern bisected by a long park. He chose to put the congressional buildings atop a hill to the east of that park, claiming the hill to be “a pedestal waiting for a monument.
In 1793, Thomas Jefferson named the area near the congress buildings Capitol Hill, potentially referencing Rome’s Capitoline Hill.
In the early 1800s, the neighborhood of Capitol Hill began to develop as a boarding house community for the growing number of federal employees who worked at the new congressional buildings on Capitol Hill as well as in the booming Washington Navy Yards.
Today’s Capitol Hill
Today’s Capitol Hill maintains its historic charm with loads of new attractions, great restaurants, and unique shopping destinations. It’s also home to an exceptional, luxury boutique travel experience here at the Capitol Hill Hotel.
Discover More of Capitol Hill
Get the insider’s guide to Capitol Hill DC—from the best places to eat to the must-know shops—on our DC destination blog!