During the late-19th century, builder Harry Wardman was able to construct a higher quality of design to houses for middle class residents. Now, one of his projects in Washington, D.C., has been designated a new historic landmark.
The 28 two-story Victorian rowhouses, known as Wardman Flats, were approved for a historic designation, thanks to all but two being built in 1902. The architect behind the project was Nicolas R. Grimm.
At the time that it was built, Wardman Flats was Wardman’s largest project and a model for the type of home he would continue to build in the following decades. Wardman Flats is also considered by the Historic Landmark application to be Wardman’s first major development.
According to the Historic Landmark application, the buildings are “representative of the city’s early 20th century development patterns,” further representing a higher standard for lower-middle class residents’ homes.
The address is Square 519, which includes 301, 303, 305, 307, 309, 311, 313, 315, 317, and 319 R Street NW; 1708, 1710, and 1712 3rd Street NW; 1709, 1711, 1713, 1715, 1717, 1719, and 1721 4th Street NW; and finally 300, 302, 304, 306, 308, 310, 312, and 322 Florida Avenue NW.
Wardman is also known for having constructed homes in Columbia Heights and Dupont Circle. His works are so expansive in the nation’s capital that there’s actually an architectural style named after him.
In 1922, lawyer Julius Peyser described Wardman to the House District Committee as “the savior of Washington,” further adding, “If we had no men like Harry Wardman in 1916, 1918, and 1920, we would have had panic, riots, and insurrection. When it was a hard job to get a preference permit from the Treasury Department, Wardman went ahead and built, and built, and built.”
The Buffalo Evening News also reported in 1925 that Wardman “solved the housing problem” in D.C. Meanwhile, the Wardman’s Washington website described Wardman as being “responsible for more landmark buildings in the nation’s capital than any other developer before, during, or since his time.”
• Application for Historic Landmark or Historic District Designation [Historic Preservation Review Board]