It’s not only the low density of fast food joints, liquor stores and dry cleaning shops that make Capitol Hill East so serene and peaceful — it may also be the 67,000 or so quiet neighbors resting permanently at Congressional Cemetery.
Located at 18th and E streets SE, near the Stadium-Armory and Potomac Avenue Metro stops, the 35-acre burial site sits on the west bank of the Anacostia River. It has been the final resting place for many notable figures since the pre-Civil War period — filled with history, senators, diplomats and regular folk alike, just the like the Hill today.
When I first started selling homes on the Hill, Congressional Cemetery was a desolate place. What was then, in the early ’90s, just an afterthought to an almost forgotten neighborhood is now a large part of that neighborhood’s allure. While proximity to the graveyard was once a hurdle for home sellers and a deterrent to home buyers, it is now an amenity and a draw.
This transformation is most clearly evidenced by the cemetery itself. It’s gone from an almost-forgotten ruin to a sought-after private dog park with a waiting list that can take years (although for those who can’t wait, a 48-hour membership is available for $10 cash).
Residents of Hill East not only enjoy D.C.’s largest private fee-for-membership dog park, but also a newly paved bike trail along the Anacostia, a boathouse for canoeing and rowing on the river, DC United soccer games at RFK, roller derby scrimmages at the D.C. Armory, a walk-up pretzel bakery, circuit gyms and Curbside Cafe.
The average sale price for 3-bedroom homes on blocks immediately adjacent to Congressional Cemetery in the mid ’90s was around $90,000. Recently, one of that group at 1617 H St. SE, breeched $900,000 in a bidding war that took the price $105,000 above its asking price, to $930,000.
The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HillNow.com.