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James Ormond Wilson and Richard Morsell Residences, 1890
James Ormond Wilson and Richard Morsell Residences, 1890

James Ormond Wilson and Richard Morsell Residences (46)

1439-1441 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Constructed ca. 1869, demolished 1950s

Research on the houses at 1439-1441 Massachusetts Avenue NW is incomplete. Cluss may have been the architect for this double house for James Ormond Wilson and Richard Morsell. Wilson was a member of the Board of School Trustees when Cluss and Kammerhueber were chosen architects for the Franklin and Wallach Schools; he was Superintendent of Schools in Washington, D.C. when Cluss designed his other public schools (see No. 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, and 63). Richard Morsell was a lawyer. Laura Morsell sold their house after her husband's death in 1885, but Wilson still lived in his house with two daughters in 1910.

In the same block of Massachusetts Avenue, Cluss built residences for Thomas Ferguson, Spencer F. Baird, and Baird's sister Mary Biddle. Nearby also stood the Portland Flats apartment house and Ferguson Row.

The whole block of row houses was set back from the main road (Massachusetts Avenue) on a slight elevation. A service road called Highland Terrace ran in front of the houses, creating the effect of a boulevard with shaded trees separating the residences from the busy street.

This block of houses on Massachusetts Avenue clearly reveal Adolf Cluss's prominent clients and social contacts.




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