Happy 100th Birthday to 2701 Connecticut Ave. NW

September 2020

 

Happy Birthday to 2701 Connecticut Ave. NW, which celebrates its centennial on Sept. 27.

The building was designed by noted DC developer Harry Wardman and architect Clarke Waggaman (whose father was a prominent land developer in the city).

Wardman began his career building row houses, and earned a reputation for using high quality materials and construction in his homes, many in the Eckington, Columbia Heights, Bloomingdale and Fort Stevens Ridge neighborhoods of the city.

His success enabled him to move into developing apartment buildings, using tenets of classical design that were the trademark of his single family homes.  He and Waggaman designed buildings that define many corners along Connecticut Ave.

An application to designate Woodley Park a historic district with the National Register of Historic Places notes that these buildings were designed “using the many of the same architectural design elements and result in a rather cohesive enframement of Connecticut Avenue.”

That same application describes 2701 Connecticut as having a “modillioned cornice projecting boldly over the classical motif of the entablature. A noble air is given the entrance by a giant order pilasters.”

Wardman also built the Wardman Park Hotel, which opened in 1918 and is across the street from 2701 Connecticut. The hotel went through a few owners, and now is the Marriott Wardman.

Prominent residents of 2701 Connecticut include John Earley, who invented a process for producing colored and more durable concrete architecture and design Meridian Hill (aka Malcolm X) Park and the Department of Justice building in DC. Wilbur Mills, a powerful Arkansas congressman who chaired the House Ways and Means Committee lived there. Mills is probably better known for a 1974 incident, when he was found intoxicated in his car by the police with his mistress, stripper Fannie Foxe. Foxe attempted to flee by jumping into the Tidal Basin, and later adopted the “Tidal Basin Bombshell” as a stage name.