The house was designed by Arthur B. Heaton (1875-1951) and built in 1912. Somebody told me that the original architectural drawings of the house should be available at the Library Of Congress, but only by appointment. I’ll post the drawings, should I find them.
Arthur B. Heaton (1875-1951)
Heaton, a prolific architect and designer with over 1,000 commissions during his career, worked in the DC metropolitan area between 1897 and 1947. His designs include commercial and apartment buildings, private homes, and theaters. Heaton was supervising architect for the Washington Cathedral for between 1908 and 1928, and the Associate Architect for the plan of the George Washington Campus in the 1920s.
In all, Heaton designed 28 apartment buildings between 1900 and 1940, with the Altamont at 1901 Wyoming Avenue cited as his best example. Among his commercial designs is the National Geographic Society on 16th and M Streets, NW; the Washington Loan and Trust Company (now demolished) on 17th and G Streets, NW in 1924; and the Park and Shop complex in Cleveland Park, considered the first planned neighborhood shopping center in the US.
The first owner of the house (1914-15) was Dr. Henry H. Hazen, a dermatologist and Georgetown University professor. It is thought that the gas nozzles in the coatroom were part of Dr. Hazen’s home laboratory.
The house was sold in 1915 to the Weaver-Fox family, who owned the house until 1981. Edmund K. Fox (1875-1933), his wife, and two daughters occupied the house. Fox was in real estate and owned the third automobile in Washington DC. He was also the first American businessman to own and fly his own airplane.
Fox also wrote a book, In the Shadow of the Dome, which was made into a silent movie in 1920. An interesting fact about Fox was his unusually large hat size, which earned him a free hat from the local haberdasher and a mention in the local newspaper (The previous owner took it with him when he left, and did not allow us to make a copy- I’m currently searching for the article).
Upon Fox’s death, his widow, Florence lived in the house until her death in 1942. Grace Fox, their eldest daughter and author and professor inherited the house and lived alone in it until 1981. Before selling the house, she allowed it to be photographed for Washington: Houses of the Capital.
I’d rather not go into the details of the person who owned the house before we did. It is sufficient to say that the purchasing process was not pleasant, and he took a lot of the sentimental and historic objects (original fixtures in several rooms, antique real estate signs from Fox firm built into the basement for storage, the newspaper article, etc.) that he promised would convey with the house, and have no value or meaning outside of it. (Tip: always put everything in writing! Never trust a person’s word in a real estate deal.)
For more information of Arthur B. Heaton:
- The House History Man
- The InTowner, Scenes From the Past
- Heaton Architectural Drawings at The Library of Congress
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