I was out walking the dog tonight and found myself staring up again at the banners that appeared along the 200 Block of N Street NW promoting the area as Truxton Circle. Truxton Circle? Where is Truxton Circle? There is no Truxton Circle. There was once a revolutionary war hero named Thomas Truxtun (with a "un" not an "on") and the area did once have a misspelled Truxton Circle located at the intersection of Florida Avenue (then known as Boundary Street) and North Capital Street, which was wiped off the map in the 1940s. I'm not sure when Truxton Circle first came about, but it's not shown on my 1867 map of the District, and it is not part of the L'Enfant plan of the city. According to the great research by In Shaw (part 1 and part 2), it was considered more of a landmark than a neighborhood. The primary civic associations in the area are the Bates Area Civic Association and the Hanover Civic Association, and the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association takes in a little piece of its southwest corner. No Truxton Circle civic association, although Truxton Circle does have an informative website.
Ok, so there's no Truxton Circle. Well, how about Mount Vernon Triangle? Where's the triangle? There's a Mount Vernon Square that goes back to the original L'Enfant Plan. There's a Mount Vernon Square Historic District. There are numerous little triangle parks known as reservations throughout the area, but none of them is called Mount Vernon. Truth be told... there is no triangle. The name refers to the triangular piece of land, formerly (and still to a degree) filled with surface parking lots, between Massachusetts and New York Avenues NW and New Jersey Avenue and 7th Street NW (at Mt. Vernon Square). The name was a little marketing genius to promote the area as a new and upcoming neighborhood.
So, what will stick? Will Truxton Circle gain more widespread usage, despite the lack of an actual circle? Might DDOT actually reconstruct a Truxton Circle at some point? I've seen speculation online (I bet that will happen rights after they implement the decade-old New York Avenue Corridor Study). Any interest in spelling the 'ol Commodore's name correctly this time? - I think he'd appreciate it. Will the Mt. Vernon Triangle name survive after all the condos are built and sold? Or will the area generally become known as Mt. Vernon, Mt. Vernon Square, north Penn Quarter, or simply referred to by its condo name - i.e. CityVista? I guess only time will tell.
Until then, take a left at Mt. Vernon Triangle, then go around Truxton Circle onto North Capital Street.