Zalmon Richards (1811-1899) devoted most of his life to furthering the development of public education. Known primarily as the founder and first president of the National Teachers' Association (today's National Education Association), Richards was also largely responsible for the Congressional Act which in 1867 established a national educational office.
The end house in a row of identically designed brick structures, the Richards House has an untrimmed, recessed arched main entrance doorway, with transom, approached by a flight of cast-iron stairs on the west side of the first story. A three-sided wooden bay with tall narrow arched windows, and paired decorative brackets occupies the center of the narrow front, on the ground and first story levels. A similar bay in the center of the east wall overlooks a small yard, enclosed with a cast-iron fence.
The brick house is painted red, and all the trim, including drip moldings around the second story windows, the bays and the brackets and cornice, are painted white. On the rear of the house, the present owner has removed a two-story porch addition seen in the 1965 photographs, and is repairing and renovating the house, which had been used as a rooming house until recently, when he acquired it. The little house to the rear (north, 1636 13th Street) is not part of the Richards House property.
National Historic Landmark: December 21, 1965
National Register: October 15, 1966
DC Inventory: July 24, 1968