Then and Now: Logan Circle

by Michele Molotsky

Logan Circle’s businesses feel new and that’s because 45% have been in business for less than 10 years but that means the majority of businesses on 14th Street have been here more than 10 years.  Ten have been in business for more than fifty years!

Of those 10, three include churches anchoring the neighborhood for decades: National City Christian Church, Luther Place Memorial Church and John Wesley AME Zion Church.  

The other businesses are Besson Cleaners, Crown Pawnbrokers, Monarch Novelties, Phillips Seafood (moved from the Wharf), Stoney’s and the Washington Plaza Hotel.

And, all of these businesses have been in business for over twenty-five years:  Barrel House Liquors, Black Cat, Conte’s, Case Design, Crew Club, Lustine Realty, Manny & Olga’s, N Street Village, Paragon Title, Pacers, Studio Theater, Vegas Lounge, Vida Fitness/Bang Salon, W. Millar and Co Catering and Whitman-Walker.

One group of stores I really miss were the backbone of Logan Circle’s retail: Pulp, Go Mamma Go! and Home Rule.

Pulp DC – I still have my Michelle Obama – First Lady of Fashion magnetic dress up doll set from there.  The owner was Ronald Henderson, tireless AIDS activist and neighborhood icon.  It’s now McEnearney Associates.

Go Mama Go! – It had everything from everywhere owned by another beloved neighborhood icon Noi Chudnoff.  It was impossible to not find a present for someone and a little something for yourself.  It’s now Current Boutique  

HomeRule – The house good stores recently closed after twenty years in business.  It had everything I ever wanted and didn’t know I wanted (goldfish shower curtains) and the best window displays founded by another great neighbor Greg Link.

How about some then and now photos?

Miss Pixie’s was AYT Auto and the Sette Osteria was a parking lot.  Dolcezza was the Mid City Fish Market (photo by Luis Gomez).  I never made it to the Mid City Fish Market but I get to Dolcezza fairly regularly.

Shake Shake was Caribou Coffee which was a 7-11.

My vote for the most changed corner is the SE corner of 14th and R.  It changed from the Central Union Mission to apartments with Shinola and Filson on the ground floor..  I like that they kept up the neon Come Until Me sign.

Barrel House Liquors was two store widths and then the barrel was covered and cutting the store in half.  The barrel was recently uncovered and the owner’s interested in developing the parcel someday.

Whitman Walker consolidated its properties and became part of a mixed-use development, La Liz, which opened late in 2019.  The backstory on why the Whitman Walker Clinic was named for Elizabeth Taylor is that the director at the time hoped Ms. Taylor would be honored and be moved to make a sizable donation.  I heard she didn’t.  Anyway, I like the new name.

In addition to apartments, La Liz brought a Sephora, a Bluestone Coffee, a public sculpture, and coming soon… an Amazon Go.  Truthfully, I didn’t initially like the sculpture but it’s grown on me.  I like the idea of public art and De Gustibus Non-Disputandum Est. 

Speaking of rumors, 1618 14th Street was allegedly a male, nude wrestling club.  I don’t know.  I was never invited.  I have to admit I didn’t shop at J. Crew either and now it’s gone.  I wonder what will be next?

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