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Round House Nominated for a DC landmark status in Brookland

Photo by PoPville flickr user Lalaroo

Some interesting info from the Brookland listserv on this oft nominated House of the Day:

Working with John Feeley, I have researched the history of the Round House (1001 Irving) and nominated it as a DC landmark building. The nomination was filed by the DC Preservation League. The building is protected from major changes (to the exterior only — the nomination is only for the exterior of the building) until the city’s Historic Preservation Review Board actually hears the case, and at that time the protection becomes permanent or disappears. Some cases are heard fairly soon and some wait for years. The owner, a local developer who has begun a good restoration of the building anyway, and the ANC, all are consulted before the hearing, naturally, but the Board will base its decision largely on the historical and artistic aspects of the building itself. The building permits already issued to the owner remain in force, because they were validly issued. Visiting the place recently, the developer seems to be maintaining not only the exterior as it was but also the interior. (There were three rooms surrounding a central spiral staircase that goes to the second floor. A skylight tops the house.

The house was built in 1901 by a prominent Brookland builder, John C. Louthan, who lived in another house he himself built at 12th and Irving (now gone). His architect was a very busy designer of modest houses in the city, Edward Woltz. This was one of only a handful of larger buildings Woltz designed. Over its life the house has seen only four owners; Mrs. McKinney, who died last year, had lived there since about 1950. There is no information about why Woltz and Louthan chose the odd shape for their house — octagon and round houses were a short fad in the US in the 1850s but had stopped being built by the Civil War and revivals of this style are rare. Nonetheless, that is what Woltz seems to have done. There are no other round houses in Washington.

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