Dupont Circle is located in the “Old City” of Washington, D.C, the area planned by architect Pierre Charles L’Enfant but remained largely undeveloped until after the American Civil War, when there was a large influx of new residents. The area that now constitutes Dupont Circle was once home to a brickyard.
The neighborhood is centered around the traffic circle, which is divided between two counterclockwise roads. The outer road serves all the intersecting streets, while access to the inner road is limited to through traffic on Massachusetts Avenue. Connecticut Avenue passes under the circle via a tunnel; vehicles on Connecticut Avenue can access the circle via service roads that branch from Connecticut near N Street and R Street.
The popular park within the circle is maintained by the National Park Service. The central fountain designed by Daniel Chester French provides seating, and long, curved benches around the central area were installed in 1964. The park within the circle is a gathering place for those wishing to play chess on the permanent stone chessboards.