The home is one half of a duplex, a 3-1/2 story structure, with walls of brick and a brick foundation, and a slate mansard roof providing a full fourth floor. The two building units have virtually identical exteriors, with a three-bay ground floor with the entrance in the left bay, and two bays in each of the upper floors. Ground floor windows are set in rounded-arch openings, as are third-floor windows, which rise into the elongated mansard roof's steep section. The short fourth floor is capped by an edge at the transition between the roof sections.
The Blanche K. Bruce House was built in 1865 and is fairly typical of the Second Empire architecture then popular; its designer is unknown. It was the home of Blanche Bruce, who represented Mississippi as a United States Senator from 1875 to 1881. Bruce was the first African-American to serve a full term in the Senate; during his tenure he also briefly served as the Presiding Officer of the United States Senate in 1879, the only former slave to do so. During his term, Bruce advocated for the integration of the United States Army, and for policies supporting the needs of poor (and recently freed) African Americans. Bruce remained in Washington after his term ended in 1881, serving as the districts recorder of deeds, and as a trustee of Howard University.
DC Inventory: April 29, 1975
National Register: May 15, 1975
National Historic Landmark: May 15, 1975
within Blagden Alley/Naylor Court HD