Senator Oscar W. Underwood resided in this north-facing, mansard-roofed, 19th-century, brick rowhouse form 1914 to 1925. Built c. 1870s, the house stands amid similar houses on the corner of G and 20th Streets, NW. After Underwood left the building, the National Law Center inhabited it and years later, the Art Department of George Washington University took over the space. Its street facades remain little altered, but it has received a three-story brick wing at the rear. Inside, the original halls, stairs, and window trim remain; but the stair wells have been sealed between floors for fire protection and some of the original rooms have been partitioned for offices. Still, the building retains the ambiance--especially externally--of Washington residential living in the early 20th century.
A strong driving force behind the Underwood-Simmons Tariff of 1913, Alabaman Oscar Underwood was elected to Congress in 1896 and was vaulted into national prominence after the 1910 elections when Democrats regained control of the Congress and made him House Majority Leader. As a result, Underwood became a leading contender for the 1912 Democratic Presidential nomination; the first resident of the South to be seriously considered for that high office since the Civil War. However, he did not get a majority of the votes at the convention but would go one to serve in the U.S. Senate in 1914 and prove invaluable to the Wilson administration.
National Register listing and National Historic Landmark designation: December 8, 1976
DC Inventory: March 3, 1979