Home > History > Designated Districts and Sites > Hillcrest / National Presbyterian Church Historic District > Hillcrest Center (Washington City Orphan Asylum)

Hillcrest Center (Washington City Orphan Asylum) Washington, D. C.

  • Year Built: 1926
  • Architect: Appleton Clark; landscape architects Rose Greely and Horace Peaslee
  • Built By: Chas. H. Tompkins Co.

The Washington City Orphan Asylum was established prior to the Civil War by a group of prominent women including Marcia Van Ness and Dolley Madison to provide care for the city’s orphans. It occupied a number of sites until the 1920s when it purchased land at the corner of Nebraska Avenue and Van Ness Street once part of Grassland, the Loughborough property.

Only four of the of the originally planned seven Tudor-Revival style stone cottages were built. Intentionally designed as small scale and domestic rather than institutional in character the cottages fit in with the residential architecture of the area. With the new location, the institution was renamed the Hillcrest Center.


The Center operated at this site until the late 1960s when it sold the property to the National Presbyterian Church. In 1969, the orphanage buildings reopened as the National Presbyterian School, a primary school for students from three years through sixth grade.



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