Built in 1898, The Olympia is the only remaining apartment house from the first wave of construction along upper Fourteenth Street in Columbia Heights, spurred by the opening of the electric streetcar line in 1892. As is typical of most late-nineteenth century apartment buildings, The Olympia was designed with special amenities for its residents. The building included a billiard room, a barber shop, storerooms, laundry and bicycle rooms in the basement, a coat room, a large public parlor, reading rooms, and a café on the first floor.
With the new convenience of public transit uptown, The Olympia and surrounding buildings created the city’s first apartment corridor. Stylistically, The Olympia is notable as a transitional mixture of Victorian and Beaux Arts design, reflecting the period from about 1895 to 1905 when monumental classicism returned to favor in DC. In architect Albert B. Morgan’s design, the stark vertical hexagonal bays contrast with the horizontal layering and design motifs of a classical facade.
DC Inventory: February 28, 2002
National Register: June 9, 2003