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Phillips Row
Phillips Row, ca. 1929

Phillips Row
Phillips Row

Phillips Row (42)

1302-1314 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Constructed in 1878, demolished in 1948

Cluss and his partner Paul Schulze designed a row of houses for Samuel L. Phillips in 1878 at Connecticut Avenue and N Street NW. Samuel L. Phillips was a Washington lawyer, president of the Washington and Georgetown Railroad Company and later also of the Third Avenue Railroad Company of New York city. In 1894, he was elected president of the Metropolitan Railroad Company of Washington and charged with devising and building the underground electric system on 9th street and on F street northwest. Samuel L. Phillips is not to be confused with his contemporary Samuel Field Phillips, a well-known Washington attorney and one of the two lawyers who unsuccessfully defended the right of African-Americans to ride on streetcars with whites in an 1896 landmark United States Supreme Court case.

Phillips Row consisted of seven row houses with narrow unit fronts, to appear as a rhythmic sequence of intricately molded parts.

This type of housing was not new. In 1869, Cluss had introduced wide projecting fronts from which extended one story bays in his Franklin Terrace row houses. But Cluss fashioned the four-story bays of Phillips Row in a far less brittle way, taking full advantage of the variations in form that brick construction permitted, making the material itself an essential contribution to the decorative effect.

The prominence of Phillips Row, and perhaps the prestige of its architect, appear to have made it influential in the evolving vernacular of middle-class row houses in Washington. Largely the creation of small-scale, speculative builders, this work began to show a decisively more sculptural manipulation of form through the use of full-height brick bays by 1880. Above all in the newer sections of Washington, the timeless method of building, without a bereft of overt historical references, at once decorative and appearing to be rational as expression, gave the urban landscape a vibrant character that was particularly responsive to the spaces created by the diagonal intersections of Washington's city streets.

Almost at the same time as Phillips Row, emerged a neighboring building, Samuel Carter Residence; in the same location, in which Cluss, some years before, had also built Stewart's Castle.

Cluss's architecture not only helped implement the new infrastructure that distinguished the reconstruction of Washington, but also set the tone for many of the dwellings that were erected along the new streets.




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