Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Lost Washington: The Stoneleigh Court Apartment at Connecticut & L Streets, NW

The large house owned by John N. Forbes on the southeast corner of Connecticut Avenue and L Street and several others were replaced by the Stoneleigh apartment building in 1903.  It was designed by James G. Hill, and built by Secretary of State John Hay (1838-1905), right, who has assembled the various parcels necessary.[1] 
The building was built at a cost of $600,000, and featured 90 apartments all furnished with elaborate wood paneling and the latest of conveniences.  It was the first apartment building to separate the usual bank of two adjoining elevators to decrease the time spent waiting for egress.  The building was set back from Connecticut Avenue, which it faced, with a central courtyard for vehicular access.  Hayes relatives sold the apartment building in 1926, when the courtyard was filled in for commercial storefronts.           

Harry Wardman became its owner in April of 1927, purchasing it for $1.6 million; just five months later, he sold it to out of town investors for $2.6 million.  Following the stock market crash of 1929, the building was sold at public auction in 1933 for just $800,000 to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. 

In 1962, the building sold for $4.5 million or $150 a square foot, which set a record for Washington real estate at the time.  It was razed in 1965 and replaced by the Blake Building, which has been refaced since its original construction.    

Copyright Paul K. Williams

[1] Hayes, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division; Stoneleigh Court via Smithsonian Institution.