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13th Street: 1925

13th Street: 1925

Washington, D.C., circa 1925. "1008-1010-1012 13th Street." View full size. National Photo Company Collection glass negative.


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My neighbors

I live very close to this location, and I walk by here every day. The firehouse, Engine 16, Tower 3, that is now located here is actually quite lovely. And, I believe they won an award for the best firehouse (responder?) in DC last year.

The Donald

This row of buildings, dating from ca. 1890, are beautiful variations of Victorian brick rowhouses. The masonry of the facade is made of pressed and molded brick, a smoother (and more expensive) form of masonry typically reserved for the street-facing sides of city rowhouses. What I find most curious about this photo is the matched carved-stone door portals: the buildings are each unique but the portals are identical.

At the time of this photo, this row of houses were combined as a small residential hotel: The Donald Hotel. Thus, the matching awnings on all the units.

Prior to service as a hotel, these houses saw use as residences of several congressmen (still trying to figure out which ones).

This entire row was razed in the 1930s to make way for a new firehouse. Now this location is in the heart of the K-street lobbying district.

Washington Post, Jun 9, 1889
Building Permits: Emmons & King, four brick dwellings, 1010 and 1012 Thirteenth street northwest, and 1010 and 1012 alley in rear of same, $12,000.

Washington Post, Feb 17, 1929
Adam A. Weschler purchased 1008-10-12 Thirteenth street northwest from Clara B. Campbell. Mr. Weschler will establish his place of business at this location in a new building.

Washington Post, Aug 27, 1930
Three lots at Thirteenth and K streets northwest were brought by the District yesterday for $120,000 as a new site for a fire house to replace two now located elsewhere in the downtown area. Engine Co. No. 16, now at Twelfth and D streets northwest, and Truck Co. No. 3, now at Fourteenth street and Ohio avenue northwest, will share the building to be erected on the newly acquired site at 1008 to 1012 Thirteenth street.

The land, on which now stands the old Donald Hotel, was bought from Adam A. Weschler through the Munsey Trust Co., after considerable negotiation by Maj. H.L. Robb, Assistant Engineer Commissioner, who weighed the merits of three proposed locations at length before final selection of the site was made.

Washington Post, Feb 23, 1975
Alice Fenwick Fleury, 88, who helped operate two family-owned hotels in Leonardtown, Md., and Washington, died Thursday of congestive heart failure.

Along with her husband and daughter, Mrs. Fleury managed the former Donald Hotel in Washington. From about 1915 to 1934, [sic] the small residential hotel was located at 1012 13th St. NW. The family then moved the hotel to 1523 22d St. NW, and operated it until 1956, when it was sold.


The Mason work on the facades of the buildings is absolutely magnificent. An art that certainly isn't practiced in today's architecture. I'm also digging that Mansard roof on the far right. Has that Norman Bates look.

Any vacancies?

I'd love to move right in. This is a great picture, the building, the awnings, even the boy idling on the steps!

I'm sure those awnings darken the rooms, but they'd definitely help keep things cooler!

Awning Chasm

This was before air conditioning, so I imagine those awnings served a very real purpose. I would think they came down with the change of seasons.

Awnings and Car

Those awnings, and of course, the Model T really help date this image. Without them you might think it was taken in the 19th Century. I must say, however, that the awnings sure spoil the dignity of the architecture, managing to make it look like a pretty lady in a frumpy and rumpled dress.

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