Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Wardman or not a Wardman? That is the Question.

And the answer is most likely: Not a Wardman. Of course, I'm talking about Harry Wardman (right), a builder in Washington, DC beginning about the turn of the twentieth century. Real estate agents often are to blame, advertising just about any house in DC with a front porch and hardwood floors as a Wardman.

Most houses by far are not, however, and I'm wondering why my clients that have been told that through real estate advertising and open houses don't sue the damn real estate agents that are making false claims and perpetuating the myth that the guy built nearly everything in Washington. I would.

Relatives of the builder and his chief architect are also behind perpetuating the myth, along with a few historians here and there. Wardman went broke more than once, and officers in his company were brought up on all sorts of financial charges, before the Great Depression when he went broke for good. You won't find those aspects highlighted by relatives.

Now that more documentation has emerged about builders in DC, its been proven that there are equally prevalent builders, many of whom built more houses in DC than Wardman. I'm looking forward to the day when real estate agents begin advertising "built by Warner, built by Blundon, built by Groff, and built by Middaugh & Shannon," for example.

Having completed about 1,500 individual house histories in Washington, DC to date, I always wondered why less than 10% of them happened to be built by Wardman. Now I know for sure.

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