The Harrison Apartment Building is the earliest known surviving example of the rowhouse apartment building in Washington, DC. Late-nineteenth century Washington did not readily accept apartment buildings, and their development lagged behind that of other cities. The reluctance to adopt the apartment building as the ideal residential type encouraged Washington architects to employ the rowhouse form in the 1880s and 1890s, in hopes that its familiarity would lead to the acceptance of the apartment building. The brick Harrison illustrates DC's vernacular style architecture. It has five stories and seventy-nine units and originally incorporated a barbershop and drugstore with direct street access.
It exemplifies the transference of rowhouse form to the new building type. The building itself is red brick with a Romanesque Revival facade and rhythmic bays for light and air. The Harrison was built in 1888 after designs of Johnson and Company, architects. An addition to the building followed in the early twentieth century.
DC Inventory: January 17, 1990
National Register: September 7, 1994