There are many large, stately apartment buildings to look at as one travels north on 16th Street NW from downtown. But among the monoliths with classical facades and columns, one, just above Meridian Hill Park, looks like something out of the Middle Ages.
The Warder Mansion at 2633 16th Street NW (map) isn’t quite that old by DC standards — it was built in 1888 — but has a storied history nonetheless. In 1925, the building, originally a luxurious single-family home, was moved from K Street to its current location in a Ford Model T, piece by piece. The mover preserved as many historical details as possible — most of the arches, fireplaces and the turret made it to 16th Street intact.
The work of architect H.H. Richardson, the building typifies a Romanesque style that harkens back to Medieval times, and even in 1925 the building was acknowledged as architecturally significant. The individual that moved the building from its K Street location was an architect himself who took two years to reassemble the home rather than let it be razed to the ground to make room for an office building.
Several different tenants went on to call the building home over the next century, including apartment dwellers, the National Lutheran Council and Antioch College of Law. In the 1990’s, the building fell vacant and was occupied by squatters.
The Warder was not that well maintained over the years, and by 2000, it was in danger of crumbling due to neglect. Luckily, United Housing LLC turned it into luxury apartments. Now the mansion is back in good shape, and those that live there pay a premium; the rents on the 38 one- and two-bedroom units range from $1,700 to $3,200 per month.
Inside a unit
Because the building is so unusual, the units are all cut up differently. Some have lofts, some 25-foot ceilings, some balconies, and the units in the turret have rounded walls. The apartment at the top of the turret, a one-bedroom with a loft, has a rounded living room with a peaked ceiling. “I always think of that fairy tale Rapunzel when I think of that unit,” said property manager Linda Speer. There are no vacancies right now, Speer tells us, though three apartments opened up briefly this past spring.
The courtyard is furnished with a couple patio tables and a few grills, and according to resident Ashley McGlamery it is a place where her baby loves to run around. McGlamery and her husband became building residents two years ago after moving to DC. Initially, the couple lived in one of the more distinctive one-bedrooms, which had exposed beams, but moved to a plainer two-bedroom on the lower level when the baby arrived.
“You get to know everybody,” McGlamery said, noting that the yearly holiday party serves as a handy meeting venue. She also said the underground parking, which is available for an additional fee, is quite convenient.
“People love the historical past, and that it’s not a typical high rise,” Speer told UrbanTurf. Besides the architecture and history, noted Speer, “it’s homier, more personal” than other DC buildings.
That appeal comes with a price; besides the relatively high rent, parking is pricey. While many of the reviews online are positive, some complain about the in-unit combined washer/dryers, which are apparently not too effective. There are also some complaints about negligent staff, although later reviews mention that those staffers may have been removed.
In addition to its proximity to Columbia Heights and Meridian Hill Park, the Warder Mansion offers a chance to live in a distinct, historic building that remains standing despite several close calls.
This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/warder_mansion_from_opulence_to_squatters_and_back/5705
Most Popular... This Week • Last 30 Days • Ever
The H Street Corridor once epitomized DC's development boom, but construction activit... read »
UrbanTurf is taking a look at what we think will be the three metrics that will deter... read »
The new home also has an owner's suite that spreads out over 3,300 square feet.... read »
Built in 1840, the home has been home to members of Congress and presidential cabinet... read »
Over 8,000 apartments were absorbed in DC in 2021 for the first time.... read »
UrbanTurf is re-running its primer on property taxes which outlines a few things that... read »
UrbanTurf has compiled virtual looks at large new developments around the DC region.... read »
The Shaw pipeline is starting the year off hot.... read »
The upzoning would mandate additional Inclusionary Zoning units for developments alon... read »
Is U Street regaining steam as the development center of gravity in the neighborhood?... read »
With this weekend's DC houseboat tour a day away, UrbanTurf thought it only fitting t... read »
President Obama travels to Denver this morning to sign the stimulus bill that has bee... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader wonders if there is a rule for h... read »
As The Wharf prepares to begin construction, DC's houseboat community heads to its ne... read »
In this week's installment of Ask An Agent, a reader asks a fairly common question th... read »
DC Real Estate Guides
Short guides to navigating the DC-area real estate market
We've collected all our helpful guides for buying, selling and renting in and around Washington, DC in one place. Visit guides.urbanturf.com or start browsing below!
Intro guides for first-time home buyers
Awesome and unusual real estate from across the DC Metro