If you’re looking for an urban community that’s peaceful and overwhelmingly neighborly, and is within walking distance of a great cup of coffee and world-class attractions, Washington’s Stanton Park neighborhood could be a contender.
The popular and increasingly expensive area on historic Capitol Hill in Northeast — named for the green two-block-square gathering spot at its center — has no shortage of fans.
“It’s extraordinarily family-friendly, and you can walk to everything — it’s all at your fingertips,” said Daniele Schiffman, a lawyer who represents the southern part of the community in the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission.
Schiffman pointed out the many attractions accessible to Stanton Park residents by foot or a short bus trip: the up-and-coming neighborhoods of H Street NE and NoMa, busy Eastern Market and Barracks Row, and the Mall and its museums. But all those sites are outside of Stanton Park, which is largely residential, leaving it quiet and peaceful.
Amy Rogers, a consultant who was drinking a beer outside her apartment on a recent sunny day, was similarly enthusiastic. “I like everything about this neighborhood. It’s safe, it’s green — it feels like a suburb in the city.”
Going upscale: Stanton Park is part of Capitol Hill, a large area that was one of the city’s first residential neighborhoods. The community was long home to a wide mix of people, from workers building the Capitol to Washington Navy Yard employees to freed slaves, merchants and members of Congress.
That variety is reflected in the neighborhood’s architecture, which includes both simple Federal-style rowhouses and large, ornate Victorians; the latter are particularly clustered in the southern part of the neighborhood and on its broad avenues.
Stanton Park’s status as a mixed, middle-income neighborhood began shifting in the 1970s, but change picked up speed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. That was when young, upper-middle-class professionals began moving into the area in droves, according to Patrick Crowley, treasurer of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society and a Stanton Park resident.
These days, Stanton Park is a highly sought-after community where houses frequently sell for $1 million. “It’s becoming so expensive — property values are just skyrocketing,” said Schiffman. That real estate pressure is reflected in at least two churches and a former hospital currently being repurposed as condominium or apartment buildings.
Child-centered: The area’s economic diversity may have decreased in the past few decades, but it’s still home to a wide variety of people. Many of the young professional couples who arrived in the past few decades stayed to raise their children, and the neighborhood is about as welcoming to families as they come, say residents.
“There’s been an explosion of stuff,” said Schiffman, listing off the many classes and parks and cultural events located nearby that are geared toward kids and their parents. Family support for public schools is strong, and the elementary and middle schools are some of the best in the city.
Plus, people just know each other and get along, hosting block parties and alley events and looking out for one another. The area “is far more close-knit than communities in the suburbs where a lot of my work colleagues live. It’s really easy to know your neighbors,” said Scott Price, another one of the community’s ANC representatives, who is now retired.
That neighborliness often translates into civic participation, from volunteer coaching for kids’ sports teams to fundraising activities for public schools and support for the newly renovated Northeast Library. “It’s really easy to get engaged in something if you want to be,” said Price. “There’s an awful lot of activity going on.”
Living there: Stanton Park, Zip code 20002, is bordered by F Street to the north, Eighth Street to the east, East Capitol Street to the south and Second Street to the west.
According to Lisa Lamont and Gary Jankowski, agents with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 15 properties in the neighborhood are currently for sale, at prices ranging from $269,000 for a studio condo to $2.7 million for a 5,500-square-foot East Capitol Street rowhouse with four bedrooms and five bathrooms.
Thirteen properties are now under contract, from a $588,700 two-bedroom rowhouse to a $3.3 million rowhouse with five bedrooms and six baths.
Over the past 12 months, 169 homes have sold, from a $225,000 condo to a $3 million five-bedroom, six-bath rowhouse.
Schools: Peabody Primary Campus, Watkins and Ludlow-Taylor elementary schools, Stuart-Hobson Middle School, and Eastern High School.
Transit: Union Station, with its Metro stop on the Red Line, is a short walk from Stanton Park, and the community is well served by bus lines. Stanton Park is also close to Interstate 395 toward Virginia and U.S. Route 50 to Maryland, but parking can be hard to find.
Crime: According to D.C. police, Stanton Park had two assaults, 24 robberies, 22 burglaries and 161 instances of theft in the past 12 months.
Amanda Abrams is a freelance writer.