The Ponce de Leon Apartment Building located at 4514 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. has five stories and forty-nine units and is an example of a Conventional Mid-Rise Apartment Building. Its construction was made possible with the February 1, 1928 issuance of D.C. Permit to Build #5826. Located on the corner of Appleton Street and Connecticut Avenue, the Ponce de Leon faces east onto the avenue. It is situated in one of the more architecturally significant blocks in the apartment building corridor which runs along Connecticut Avenue. It is an H-shape building with projections and an irregular side which steps along the oblique axis created by Connecticut Avenue. The brick building presents a restrained Spanish Revival style as characterized in the distinctive use of multi-colored, diapered brickwork, limestone ornamental balconies, and decorative Moorish arches.
The Ponce de Leon's irregular mass emphasizes two corner towers on the Connecticut Avenue elevation (140 feet) . Appleton Street received the secondary facade (152.5 feet). The building employs a poured-in-place post and beam concrete frame with exterior masonry bearing walls. It is faced with scored tapestry brick, being a mixture of dull dark blue, mottled reds, and golden yellow. The first story is outlined in a limestone water table, belt course, and quoins.
The limestone entrance portico is set back from and forms an oblique angle with the Avenue. It is one story high, one bay deep, and three bays wide and suggests a small arcade. Its arches are comprised of vossoirs which form a round arch for the opening and a pointed arch as the upper edge. The mandrels are accented by car touches. The wall behind the portico is stuccoed and scored to match the arches. The portico's floor is comprised of terra cotta chips. The portico and steps feature wrought iron railings. The entrance door is arched with a single glass and wood paneled door under an arched fanlight.
The 1928 building was one of the designs that established Stern's reputation as an architect of merit in Washington, D.C. The choice of the Spanish Revival style and its skillful execution represent a significant increase in the sophistication of Stern's work up to this time. Stern, whose career lasted over fifty years, was especially active in the design of apartment buildings in Washington, D.C. More than eighty apartment buildings have been credited to him, the majority having been designed in partnership with Frank Tomlinson. Of these, seventy-six were designed in the 1920s, representing more than ten percent of all apartment buildings constructed during the decade that witnessed the most apartment construction in Washington's history. Stern is best remembered for his luxury apartment buildings constructed in the late 1920s, during the decade in which the greatest number of apartment buildings were constructed in Washington.
Built 1928, David L. Stern, architect
DC designation January 17, 1990
National Register listing September 7, 1994