On June 22, 1892, builder Ernest Heisley applied for and was granted Permit No. 2787 to build a brick home for owner Thomas Whyte at 1329 R Street, N.W.
Heisley indicated on the permit (below) that Joseph Johnson would serve as the architect for the home. Unfortunately, relatively little is known about Johnson. He was first listed in the City Directory in 1888 as a partner in a firm coined “Johnson and Gibbs” in the Corcoran Building. It was the only year that the firm was listed, the other partner being Charles E. Gibbs, who had first been listed in the City Directory in 1881 as a draftsman. Johnson became an architect in 1882, but following the economic depression of 1893, worked as a cashier at the Ebbitt House restaurant. From 1889 to 1890, Johnson had a listing of “Johnson and Company” continuing to be located in the Corcoran building. Johnson was listed as a sole architect there from 1891 to 1901, the last year he was listed in the City Directory. He then resided at 407 T Street, N.W.
As mentioned earlier, builder Ernest Heisley built 1329 R Street, N.W., beginning in June of 1892 for owner Thomas Whyte, who lived at 1340 Rhode Island Ave., N.W. Whyte was the co-owner of National Cornice Works with his brother. The company was located at 300-304 13th St., N.W., and was a manufacturer of galvanized iron and copper cornices. The mystery of the unusual copper bay window was solved! They also held their own patent on a ventilating skylight. An advertisement in a City Directory for the Whytes’ business is seen below.
The first recordation of Whyte living at 1329 R Street, N.W., comes via the 1894 City Directory, while the first details of the Whyte family at 1329 R Street, N.W., come via the 1900 census. In the census, Whyte is listed as head of household, although the census taker misspelled his name as “White.” The census indicates that Whyte was 40 years old, was born in Indiana and had been married for 15 years to his wife, Rose, originally from Michigan. Rose’s father was born in Scotland, while her mother was born in Canada. Also living in the home were the Whyte’s two sons, Clifford and Russell, Thomas Whyte’s sister-in-law, Florence McMillan, and his brother-in-law, George McMillan.
On April 7, 1963, Dr. Byrom was one of three women to receive a citation from the Gamma Chapter of Iota Phi Lambda Sorority. She received the “Outstanding Woman of the Year Award” for years of service as the only African-American woman dentist in Washington, D.C., and for her work to help improve the health of Washington’s children.
By 1954, the home was also occupied by Dr. Byrom’s husband, Harold G. Covington, an employee of the State Department. The couple had one child, Bettye. A sign at 1329 R Street, N.W. in reference to Dr. Byrom’s dental practice is seen here.
Copyright Paul K. Williams