Dear PoPville – What’s up with 1402 12th Street, NW?


Dear PoPville,

Curious to know if you know the story with this house at: 1402 12th St, NW. Certainly not horse’s ass status, but the facade has looked like that for as long as I’ve known it. I had heard a rumor that it was covered in copper, which was stolen/stripped(?), but even if that’s true, I don’t know why it’s been left like this. Any idea?

This was actually nominated for a horse’s ass award back in July 2010.


13 Comment

  • Super weird. I’ve wondered about this one, too. Wouldn’t the lack of finish (paint, brick?) cause the exposed wood to warp and decay due to exposure to the elements?

    Also, is that a retail space on the 1st floor? I’m so confused….

  • you should see the inside. The first floor is a ballroom. The rest of the house looks like something out of Charlie and the Chocolate factory with strange cat walks and cavernous rooms. It was renovated in the 70s and was kind of a rooming house in the 80’s. I had friends that lived there then. It looks exactly the same as it did then.

  • How odd. From looking at the July 2010 Horse’s Ass Award nomination, I get the feeling that they just left it the way it was in that photo and that eventually the Tyvek wrap started coming off. Hence the current sorry appearance.

  • It is AMAZING on the inside. Don’t judge a book by its cover. 🙂

  • It’s been like that for years – as anonymous indicated, it is (or was) really cool inside – old gears and machinery incorporated into the architecture, big ballroom, catwalks, secret rooms, etc. A guy named David and his partner lived there in the 1970s and 1980s – partner died of AIDS, David tried to keep the place together for a number of years (including hosting big gay parties, prequel to Lizard Lounge, except more abundant drugs) until he finally succumbed – they were true pioneers in Logan Circle. After David passed, a DC cop bought it – Marion Barry was a frequent lunchtime visitor – I remember his car sitting outside (idling, of course)…

    from article:

    “My favorite Marion Barry story took place in May 1995.
    His buddy “Reverend Burruss,” was running an illegal after-hours club out of his home on 12th Street, NW. DC Police raided the joint and found the mayor among the revelers. The Rev denied that he was running a club even though a line of people holding tickets wrapped around the block. Inside was a fully stocked cash bar along with a live band slapping out some bumpin’ Hip Hop. Not an illegal nightclub, just another house party in Chocolate City. Not to be outdone by the Rev, Mayor Barry explained that he was not there partying. “Like anybody else,” he intoned “I just stopped by a friend’s house to change clothes and have a sandwich.”

    He’s one of a kind, my Mayor for Life. I miss him terribly.”

    • Too weird and funny. I’d love to check this place out.

      There’s an old afterhours club in a townhouse in Le Droit Park. Apparently they closed it about 6 or 7 years ago, but they recently had a one-off reunion party a few months ago. The same interior is still the sane – the place looks like a mad funhouse covered in chintz, red velvet, antique lamps, and filled with oddities.

      No idea why they aren’t selling these unique places and leaving them in near-abandoned conditions.

    • Change clothes and have a sandwich… hahahahaha

      You can’t make this stuff up.

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