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District of Columbia (geography)

The District of Columbia, apart from its obvious coexistence with the U.S. capital city of Washington, can also be described by historical, municipal, and physical geographic characteristics, many of which aren't well documented. This notion of the District being a distinct entity is notable within the city of Washington, as most residents refer to the area simply as "D.C."

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The district has several distinct historic neighborhoods, which include Georgetown, Tenleytown, Capitol Hill, Anacostia, and Congress Heights. Out of these neighborhoods, Georgetown was originally an incorporated city of the State of Maryland.

The District of Columbia originally also included land from the State of Virginia, but this land was returned in 1846. This land in Virginia makes up the modern cities of Arlington and the old part of Alexandria, Virginia, both which are suburbs of Washington. In fact, the Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon complex are both located in Arlington but are largely tied to the federal government in Washington. Between 1790 and 1846, Alexandria was referred to as "Alexandria, D.C."

The Georgetown neighborhood was originally part of Maryland and was the only significant population in the area that would become the District of Columbia. Georgetown became part of D.C. in 1790 when the Federal City was first created, but Georgetown remained an independent city, referred to as "Georgetown, D.C.", until 1871.

Tenleytown is a historic name for a general area of northwest D.C. In 1790, the area was called Tennally's Town, named after resident John Tennally and his tavern. The area became known as Tenleytown in the 19th century. Tenleytown is the second oldest neighborhood in D.C., being surpassed in age only by Georgetown.

Anacostia makes up much of the southeast corner of the District south of the Anacostia River[?], which the area is named after. "Anacostia" comes from the Nanchotank[?] Indian word anaquash, which means "village trading post". Frederick Douglass built his homestead in Anacostia and lived there until he died.

Physical Geography

The physical geography of the District of Columbia is very similar to the physical geography of much of Maryland. The District has three natural flowing bodies of water: the Potomac River, the Anacostia River[?], and Rock Creek. Both Anacostia River and Rock Creek are tributaries of the Potomac. There also also two man-made reservoirs: Dalecarlia Reservoir[?], which crosses over the northwest border of the District from Maryland, and McMillan Reservoir[?] near Howard University[?].

The highest point in the District of Columbia is 410 feet (664 km) above sea level at Tenleytown. The lowest point is just south of the terminus of the Anacostia River where it flows into the Potomac River.

Municipal Geography

The District of Columbia is divided into eight wards and 37 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) within these wards. The total number of named neighborhoods is 127.

Ward 1
Adams MorganMount Pleasant
Columbia HeightsPleasant Plains
Howard UniversityU Street/Cardozo
Kalorama Heights
Lanier Heights
Le Droit Park

Ward 2
Burleith/HillandaleMount Vernon Square
Dupont CircleShaw/Logan Circle
Foggy BottomChina Town
Fort McNairSouthwest-Waterfront
GeorgetownWest End

Ward 3
American University ParkMassachusetts Heights
Cathedral HeightsMcLean Gardens
Chevy Chase (not city in MD) North Cleveland Park
Cleveland ParkPalisades
Forest HillsPinehurst Circle
FoxhallSpring Valley
Friendship HeightsTenleytown
Glover ParkWesley Heights
HawthorneWoodley Park

Ward 4
Barnaby WoodsManor Park
Brightwood ParkQueens Chapel [1]
Colonial VillageRock Creek Gardens
CrestwoodShepherd Park
Fort Totten [1]Takoma
Lamond Riggs [1]

Ward 5
ArboretumIvy City
BloomingdaleLamond Riggs [2]
BrooklandMichigan Par
Carver LangstonNorth Michigan Park
EckingtonPleasant Hills
EdgewoodQueens Chapel [2]
Fort LincolnSouth Central
Fort Totten [2]Trinidad

Ward 6
Capitol HillSursum Corda
Kingman ParkStanton Park
Lincoln ParkUnion Station
Navy Yard

Ward 7
Benning HeightsHillbrook
Capital ViewKenilworth
DeanwoodLincoln Heights
Eastland GardensMahaning Heights
Fairfax VillageMarshall Heights
Fairmont HeightsNaylor Gardens
Fort Davis ParkPenn Branch
Fort Dupont ParkRandle Highlands
Good HopeRiver Terrace
Grant ParkSummit Park

Ward 8
AnacostiaGarfield Heights
Barry FarmKnox Hill
Buena VistaShipley Terrace
Congress HeightsWashington Highlands
Fair Lawn

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