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Shepherd's Row

Shepherd's Row (38)

1701-1705 K Street at Connecticut Avenue, NW
Constructed in 1873, demolished 1952

In 1873 Cluss designed three elegant row houses on the north side of Farragut Square. The Connecticut Avenue corner house was for Alexander Shepherd, who was at the time the Governor of the District of Columbia, the chairman of the Board of Public Works, and Cluss's boss. The other two houses were owned by Hallet Kilbourn, a lawyer and real estate broker, and by Cluss, who built the middle house for himself, apparently as an investment.

Having promulgated the city's new building regulations, which restricted the use of projecting bays to not more than four feet beyond property lines, Cluss now aggressively took advantage of the exceptions for which that document provided, creating an important precedent for local architects.

In 1874, Alexander Shepherd was investigated by a committee of the United States Congress for financial mishandling during his time as Chief of the Board of Public Works. In May 1874, Cluss, who was the most important witness against Shepherd in the investigation, borrowed substantial sums, probably to pay Shepherd and Kilbourn his share of the project's expenses. Despite the depression of the 1870s, Cluss sold his Shepherd's Row house in 1875 for $50,000

At about the same time, Cluss designed the Sumner School two blocks north of Shepherd's Row on 17th Street, and four years later the Academy of the Visitation a block north of Shepherd's Row on Connecticut Avenue.

In the 1880s, Shepherd's Row became the location of the Russian and Chinese Embassies, and later provided homes for the Senator from California, Leland Stanford, and U.S. Representatives William L. Scott and Edward de Veaux Morrell, both of Pennsylvania.

All three houses lent themselves to entertaining. The original Shepherd house, the largest of the three, included "five large rooms that can be thrown open forming almost one apartment. One of these is a great salon the length of the house, another a roomy ballroom with wide stairs..."




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