The well-known intersection of Florida Avenue NE and New York Avenue NE, also known as the “Virtual Circle” or “Dave Thomas Circle,” will soon be transformed to make it safer for pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers, and improved to include an inviting trio of thoughtfully-landscaped urban spaces for the community to enjoy.
In the coming weeks, the public will be invited to submit nominations to determine the overall name for the trio of new public spaces resulting from the FL-NY Intersection reconfiguration.
For inspiration, refer to the below historical background and some keywords to consider as you brainstorm. What you see below reflects the history of this part of the District that is known and recorded, but we recognize that there are many people and populations whose stories are not as well known, and we invite the public to consider and elevate the stories of those that might not otherwise be a part of this process. In fact, the suggestion for the name of NoMa’s Alethia Tanner Park (named after local historical figure Alethia Tanner) was brought forth as part of a similar community naming process, and the park has become a preeminent setting to tell Alethia’s story.
To return to the previous page for more information on the project, and for instructions on submitting a name, click here.
New York Avenue NE/Florida Avenue NE Intersection History
1791 – New York Avenue was planned as one of the original streets in the L’Enfant Plan – the original design for Washington D.C., while Boundary Street (later Florida Avenue) would serve as the boundary of the new federal city.
1792 – U.S. surveyor Andrew Ellicott would later revise and finish the L’Enfant Plan surveying the boundaries of the federal district (Territory of Columbia) and the smaller federal city (City of Washington). The New York Avenue NE/Florida Avenue NE intersection would fall immediately outside of the original federal city plan at its northeast border, neighboring what would become the Eckington neighborhood.
1815 – The Joseph Gales estate – the pre-existing Eckington/NoMa area, whose home, Eckington Manor, is its namesake, is subdivided into five (5) subdivisions: High View, McLaughlin’s Subdivision, West Eckington, Center Eckington, and Eckington (the future neighborhood name).
1878 – A building permit for a 2-story brick property was issued in the future tax parcel: Square 709, Lot 5 (the site of the future Wendy’s). The property owner Michael Esch, who resided nearby at 107 Florida Avenue NE, opened a Florist shop in the space.
1887 – Modern Eckington was platted as a residential subdivision in 1887 and developed by real estate entrepreneur George Truesdell. Eckington served as Washington’s first streetcar suburb on the Metropolitan Railroad line. As the second street railway line in DC, it served as the core of Washington Railway and Electric Company (WR&E) operations.
1890 – Boundary Street was renamed Florida Avenue.
1904 – An electric trolley line and railroad track converged at the intersection, serving as outposts of Eckington and Bladensburg, MD
1908 – The florist shop closed, and the building was converted to a station for the Washington Railway and Electric Company (WR&E).
1920s – With the decline of streetcar and trolley ridership and the rise of the automobile and buses, the station closed, and the site saw new life as Thomas J. Crowell’s fuel and auto body shop.
1949 – The fuel and auto body shop were converted to a Texaco gas station.
1980s – The property was acquired by another party, which turned the site into a restaurant leased by Wendy’s, owned/operated by a franchisee.
2010 – DDOT redesigned the traffic pattern of the intersection to operate as a partial traffic circle, or “virtual circle”, with one-way traffic on Florida Avenue NE, First Street NE, and O Street NE, and New York Avenue NE remaining as two-way traffic. The intersection would be unofficially known as “Dave Thomas Circle” by DDOT and locals – named after Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas and referencing Thomas Circle, 15 blocks to the west.
2019 – Mayor Muriel Bowser included $35 million in the District’s capital budget to complete the reconfiguration of the Florida Avene-New York Avenue NE (FL-NY) Intersection.
2021 – On Monday, September 20, 2021, the Wendy’s held its last full day of operation, closing doors the next day – Tuesday, September 21st, 2021. The operator vacated the property on September 30.
2022– As part of its annual mural festival, DC Walls, the NoMa BID commissioned local artists TRAV & EMJAY to paint a large-scale mural on the façade of the building.
“As D.C. Moves Forward on Redoing Dave Thomas Circle, Wendy’s Still Has Some Beef to Settle.”, Martin Austermuhle. DCist. September 22, 2021.
“Eckington: A Neighborhood History.” Eckington Civic Association. March 3, 2012.
“Florida Ave./New York Ave. Intersection.” District Department of Transportation. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
“Florida Avenue-New York Avenue NE Intersection Project (“Dave Thomas Circle”) Final Design Public Meeting.” District Department of Transportation. October 29, 2021.
“The end of ‘Dave Thomas Circle’ arrives as Wendy’s shuts doors at an infamous D.C. intersection.”, Luz Lazo. The Washington Post. September 21, 2021.
“What’s a Wendy’s doing there? The story of Washington’s weirdest traffic circle.” Dan Zak. The Washington Post. December 26, 2017.
Common Naming Conventions for DC Parks
- Named after the street the park/public space is on
- Named after a school or recreation center it is adjacent to
- Named after a neighborhood in which it is located
- Named after a historical figure of note
Click on the tabs below to review each category of naming suggestions.
|Thomas J. Crowell|
|Helen Shaw Fowler|
|Agatha Tiegel Hanson|
|Edwin B. Henderson|
|James G. Hill|
|Mamie “Peanut” Johnson|
|Charles Bird King|
|Loree Harris Murray|
|Washington Railway & Electric Company|
|Judd & Detweiler Printing|
|Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Company|
|National Capital Press Company|
|Woodward & Lothrop Services Warehouse|
|McKinley Technology High School|
|Metropolitan Branch Trail|
|Eckington Freight Yard|
|New York Avenue|
|U.S. Route 50|
|Railroad Ties||Buffer Stop|