The view is facing south along Connecticut Avenue from just below M Street. A street-level view from roughly the same location appears below.
Now let's take a look at each the buildings that line the left (east) side of the street in the original postcard view.
Half cut off on the far left is the Grafton Hotel, built in 1894, at 1139 Connecticut Avenue NW. The hotel was a venture of George A. Mills (1829-1901), a native of Baltimore, and his son, and it seems to have been very successful in this rapidly growing and fashionable neighborhood. An odd event that made The Washington Post in June 1903 was an outburst by a dishwasher named Robert Beverly. Beverly feared he was about to be fired by Robert Walsh, presumably the head waiter, and "threw a quantity of red pepper" in his eyes. Walsh was rushed to Emergency Hospital but suffered no permanent injuries. Beverly was fined $50 and sentenced to a six-month jail term.
In 1931, George C. Clarke (1890-1974) purchased the Grafton as the culmination of a unique ritual begun on his wedding day 7 years earlier, when he made his first real estate purchase, a small apartment building at 1322 L Street NW. Clarke had been an attorney at the Interstate Commerce Commission, and apparently he was able to sock away enough money to get into the real estate business by the time he got married. Every year on his wedding anniversary he would acquire a new property, at first expanding his original investment by purchasing adjoining buildings and later branching out into entirely separate properties, such as the Grafton. Clarke later also acquired the "New" Ebbitt Hotel at 10th and H Streets NW and ran them both as "dry" hotels despite the repeal of Prohibition. But by 1941 Clarke was in ill health and decided to reduce his business activities. He shut down the Grafton and leased the building to the British Government for war-related uses. The hotel never reopened. The building was torn down and the lot remained vacant for many years until the current office building was put up.
|The parlor of the Grafton Hotel, circa 1910.|
The Academy flourished here until 1919, by which time the property it occupied had become far more valuable than when the sisters had bought it. They decided to close the school, sell the property, and move their convent to Bethesda, Maryland. The building was torn down in 1923 to make way for the Mayflower Hotel.
|Postcard view of the Stoneleigh Court Apartments, circa 1904.|
Immediately behind the Stoneleigh Court you can see just the corner of Shepherd's Row, a set of three townhouse mansions on the north side of K Street NW facing Farragut Square. Constructed in 1873, these three grand Second-Empire houses were designed by Adolf Cluss to rival the finest houses in the city. The turreted mansion on the corner, just visible here, was built for Alexander "Boss" Shepherd (1835-1902), governor of Washington at the time. The mansion was designed with large open spaces on the first floor to accommodate the extravagant social events that were expected to be held there. Shepherd is famous for his extensive efforts to build up the infrastructure of the city during his tenure as head of the Board of Public Works and subsequently as governor of the newly designated territory of Columbia. However, he lived only a short time at the mansion on this corner, declaring personal bankruptcy in 1874. His mansion was subsequently home to a succession of distinguished tenants, including the Russian ambassador. James Goode notes in Capital Losses that "among the last great social events to be recorded here was the wedding of the daughter of American Ambassador and Mrs. William F. Draper to Prince Boncompagni of Rome in 1917. At the conclusion of the ceremony, performed by Cardinal Gibbons, thousands of live butterflies were released in the ballroom over the heads of the guests."
|Farragut Square in 1887, viewed from the south, with Shepherd's Row prominent along the north side.|
|Shepherd's Row circa 1921(Source: Library of Congress).|
|The Army and Navy Club, circa 1906 (Source: Library of Congress).|