DC Embassy Row is the informal name for a street or area of a city in which embassies or other diplomatic installations are mostly concentrated. Washington's Embassy Row lies along Massachusetts Ave, N.W., and its cross streets between Thomas Circle and Ward Circle, however the vast majority of embassies are found between Scott Circle and Wisconsin Avenue.
Considered Washington's premier residential addresses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Massachusetts Avenue became known for its numerous mansions housing the city's social and political top elites. The segment between Scott Circle and Sheridan Circle gained the nickname "Millionaires' Row".
The first embassy on Embassy Row, and still one of the most prominent in DC, was the British Embassy, directly adjacent to the large United States Naval Observatory. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens to combine the offices and the residence of the British ambassador, resembling an English country house in the Queen Anne style of architecture.
The street began to lose it's luster in the 1920s, and some neighborhoods east of Scott Circle started to decay as the Great Depression caused many to sell their fancy homes. Fashionable living shifted from Massachusetts Avenue to 16th St NW. The main impetus for the strip's re-characterization was the rise of the United States standing in the aftermath of World War II. Nations competed to build or maintain grand residences to represent their nation's significance in the capital of the new World superpower, and the very expansive old estates proved well-suited for use as embassies and also as lodges of social clubs.
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