The Greater 14th Street Historic District-Washington DC


Greater 14th Street Historic District
Photo courtesy of DC SHPO

The Greater 14th Street Historic District is significant for its representation of residential and commercial development resulting from the establishment of the 14th Street streetcar line. Fourteenth Street has been a transportation corridor since its earliest days when it served as a primitive route from the north into the Federal City; subsequently it functioned as a main city thoroughfare carrying a major streetcar line, serving its community as a residential and commercial destination; and finally, its automobile related business serving the Nation’s Capital and its suburbs. This major commercial and transportation corridor is flanked by rare ante-bellum dwellings, intact rows of Victorian housing and commercial buildings punctuated by important local churches and public buildings, grand and discreet turn of the century apartment buildings, and a rich variety of twentieth century auto-related buildings.

The Greater 14th Street area is a primarily residential area that surrounds a major commercial corridor. Initially developed during the mid-to-late 19th century, much of the area’s brick Victorian architecture remains intact. Early 20th century replacement architecture is found most notably along 14th Street.

There are several buildings located in the historic district that are also individual landmarks. The Gladstone and Hawarden Apartment Buildings NR at 1419 and 1423 R Street are among the earliest extant middle-class apartment buildings in the city and the first documented twin apartment buildings. The Queen Anne/Romanesque Revival facades illustrate the final phase of Victorian eclecticism. They were built (1900-1901) and designed by local architect George S. Cooper. The Alma Thomas House NR is located at 1530 15th Street. It was the home and studio of a nationally recognized artist. It was built in 1875; the architect is unknown.

The oldest church in the district is the Luther Place Memorial Church NR at 1226 Vermont Avenue at Thomas Circle. It is a distinctive Gothic Revival Church and a notable example of Post-Civil War architecture. It was built 1870-73, and originally designed by Judson York and later modified by Harkness and Davis. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church NHL was the city’s first independent African American Episcopal church. It was established in 1879 by Reverend Alexander Crummel, one the foremost African American scholars of the 19th century. It was designed in the Early English Gothic style by Calvin Brent, the city’s first African American architect and was built in 1876-79. The Mount Olivet Lutheran Church at 1302 Vermont Avenue was designed by R.G. Russell in the Gothic Revival style in 1882. The Grace Reformed Church, Sunday School and Parish House NR is located at 1405 15th Street. Theodore Roosevelt attended this church regularly during his presidency. It is a Gothic Revival church built of Cleveland greystone and bearing sculpture by James E. Early. The church was built in 1902-03 and designed by Paul Pelz and A.A. Ritcher.

The 14th Street Historic District is roughly bounded by S St., NW on the north; 11th and 12th Sts., NW on the east; N and O Sts., NW on the south; and the 16th St. Historic District on the west. The buildings listed above are not open to the public; churches are open during scheduled services. Metro stop: Dupont Circle