Streets of Washington, written by John DeFerrari, covers some of DC’s most interesting buildings and history. John is the author of Historic Restaurants of Washington, D.C.: Capital Eats, published by the History Press, Inc. and also the author of Lost Washington DC.
Shepherd’s Row, circa 1880. The Shepherd Mansion is on the left. (Source: Library of Congress).
The stately former mansion of “Boss” Alexander Shepherd on the northeast corner of Connecticut Avenue and K Street NW was one of the most prominent of the great houses that lined K Street during the Gilded Age. Designed by famed architect Adolf Cluss, the house was an emphatic expression of wealth and power. While Shepherd lived there for only a few years, its prominence in Washington’s social life endured for another half century as diplomats and industrialists made it their home and held lavish parties in its ornate reception rooms. “Palatial in size and fittings, magnificently furnished, an example of the union of great wealth and noble tastes,” The Washington Post concluded in 1899.
The rise and fall of Alexander Robey Shepherd (1835-1902), one of the most important figures in D.C. government in the post Civil War era, is a well-known story, but only recently has a complete biography of this complex individual been published. John P. Richardson’s Alexander Robey Shepherd: The Man Who Built the Nation’s Capital offers a balanced and clear-eyed view of a man who has been vilified as often as he’s been celebrated. (more…)