Awesome (Sad) History – La Tomate Restaurant in 2009 and 1900

Photo by PoPville flickr user NCinDC

NCinDC writes:

“From an article by Paul K. Williams in The InTowner:
“Though a major commercial corridor today, Connecticut Avenue north of Dupont Circle and the Circle itself was originally developed as a fashionable residential neighborhood beginning in the early 1880s. The large triangular lot at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue, R and 20th Streets is today occupied by a distinctive triangular building built in 1922, now housing the popular La Tomate Restaurant. Before that, however, it was the site of a spectacular brownstone mansion built by Senator Philetus Sawyer in 1888…”

12 Comment

  • justinbc

    Wow, that place was gorgeous. What a shame.

  • I personally do not understand this fascination with mansions, particularly old mansions once owned by millionaire politicians. Maybe I speak only for myself, but I much prefer the present Connecticut Ave.

  • The mansion only stood from 1888 to 1922?

  • I remember when that location was the Food Emporium. Not very memorable fare, but cheap.

  • Could be worse. Does anyone remember when that site was occupied by a dry cleaner? For years and years. It was a relief when the restaurant moved in.

  • They should get that Shepard Fairey abomination out of the window. That’s the real tragedy. (And just to clarify, not because it’s Obama, but because it’s Fairey.)

  • I don’t think this is a particularly sad story at all; I think it represents how a neighborhood transitions as a city grows.

    At one time this was a fashionable residential area; as the city grew in size and sophistication, the neighborhood became a fashionable commercial area. The house was grand to be sure, but the 1922 building is also quite handsome. Look at the beautiful panels in the upper level and the decorative stonework at the top. I’ve also always admired how delicate the building is, on a site that might otherwise be a massive office building, like on the south side of the circle. I might think this were sad if we had lost the great houses of Dupont, but that era the neighborhood’s history is still well represented; this building is a representative of a different era in Dupont, and as such is important in its own way.

    • +1. I like the current building and the old mansion was a bit gaudy for my taste. I will agree with the comment above, though — why such a short tenure for the mansion?

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