History

The houses on 14th Street’s east side here were built by Harry Wardman in 1908 and designed by Albert H. Beers, who was Wardman’s chief architect during the years this developer built much of Columbia Heights. As local architectural historian Sally Berk has noted, floor plans for houses along 14th “were wider and more highly ornamented than those on the side streets,” and by introducing small variations to the exteriors, “Beers’ masterful designs avoided the visual monotony inherent in the row house,” designing houses that “were at once unified and unique.” Many were originally built with front porches that have since been removed as lower floors were converted to commercial use.

 

“Anyone fond of a good, roomy home…will appreciate this offer,” states a 1909 advertisement for one of the brand new houses on this block. Another ad boasts these houses’ “great success lie not only in the fact of their supreme location, but also that they contain all of the GRAND HOME FEATURES that were heretofore found only in the homes of the wealthy.”

 

As Columbia Heights filled with houses, it also became a thriving urban center. Streetcar service along 14th Street extended north of Park Road in 1907, and the Arcade building, with food stalls, a bowling alley, and a skating rink, opened in 1910 where DC USA now stands.