The Waggaman-Ray Commercial Row exemplifies an unusually coordinated effort on the part of developers, architects, and merchants during the 1920s to transform Connecticut Avenue into an exclusive shopping area, deliberately modeled after Fifth Avenue in New York City. The three buildings comprise an important assemblage of the work of two well-known and respected local architects: Clarke Waggaman and George Ray of the firm of Waggaman & Ray, who, more than any other firm, were responsible for the architectural restyling of Connecticut Avenue in variations of the Classical Revival style during the early 20th century. The buildings also illustrate the history of important Washington business firms, including the exclusive merchants who became the trademark of Connecticut Avenue.
The construction of the Waggaman-Ray Commercial Row and the development of the Connecticut Avenue shopping district are inseparably linked. The row is located in the section of the avenue which was the first to become commercial; their construction and uses anticipated later changes to the area farther north. The location was to become the heart of the shopping district.
DC Inventory: November 23, 1993
National Register: February 24, 1995