In the years after the Civil War, Washington experienced a population and building boom; As people poured into the city, the need for housing increased. Development moved west and north from the center of the city and speculative building flourished. Architect-builder Thomas F. Schneider designed and built the 22 houses in the Schneider Triangle for John W. Paine on a speculative basis. This type of speculative residential building preceded the turn-of-the-century development of once suburban areas, such as Mount Pleasant and Cleveland Park. The houses in the Schneider Triangle were designed to appeal to professionals and civil servants requiring spacious dwellings both reflective of their social position and convenient to urban amenities such as fire protection, water and sewer services, paved streets, and street lights, and to their places of employment.
Thomas F. Schneider, one of Washington's most important late-nineteenth/ early-twentieth century architect/builders, designed the rowhouses of Schneider Triangle in his personal interpretation of the popular Queen Anne and Richardsonian Romanesque Revival styles. The twenty-two houses (twenty-one remain), built in 1889, stand as a virtually unaltered example of an imaginative and successful adaptation of Victorian residential architecture to the 1791 L'Enfant plan for the Federal City. Every house within the complex was individually designed to be distinctive, while at the same time containing elements that contributed to a unified whole. Schneider achieved a remarkable balance of variety within a cohesive entity through the application of rich and differing detail and the consistent use of materials, facade heights, and building vocabulary. The resulting group of houses stand as a reminder of the once-residential character of Washington Circle and is an excellent example of the city's Victorian heritage.
DC designation: November 21, 1978
National Register listing: December 13, 1982