From Such Great Heights

How Washington became skyscraper-free.


The Cairo stands tall at 1615 Q St., NW.

The Cairo stands tall at 1615 Q St., NW.

The brilliant blueprint for the nation’s capital, created by Pierre L’Enfant in 1791, was enhanced and perfected one hundred years later by two events: the construction of hundreds of beautifully designed apartment buildings and the height limits set in place that make it possible for Washingtonians to see and enjoy these architectural treasures. As it turned out, these events were directly related: the construction of one of the remarkable new buildings inspired the height limit laws that keep Washington skyscraper-free and therefore unique among U.S. cities.

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