The B.F. Saul Building, constructed in 1924 at 925 15th Street NW, is a five-story, Classical Revival style building designed by notable local architect George N. Ray for the B.F. Saul Company, a major local real estate firm as a combination bank/office building.
The B.F. Saul Company was established in 1892 by B. Francis Saul as he sought to sell off his family’s extensive landholdings near Brightwood—the site of the former nurseries begun by his father, John Saul in the mid-19th century. In the process, B.F. Saul established the foundation for the growth of his firm as a mortgage bank which he incorporated in 1903. B.F. Saul specialized in mortgage loans, but also dealt in real estate insurance, fire insurance, automobile insurance, rent collection and estate management.
The firm initially established its offices downtown at 11th and D Streets, but in 1921 moved to McPherson Square, following the northern migration of the city’s financial district to the area. In that year, B.F. Saul built its first McPherson Square office at 14th and I Streets, but within just a few years, built its combined bank/office building at 925 15th Street and the adjacent five-story office building at 923 15th Street NW (later known as the Colonial Mortgage Building). The B.F. Saul Co. likely recognized an opportunity to move its offices to larger quarters and to simultaneously profit from the speculative commercial development. The B.F. Saul Building replaced two earlier dwellings on the site.
Upon its opening, B.F. Saul occupied the first floor banking hall and mezzanine, and rented the upper floor offices. Early tenants included M. & R.B. Warren—a group of realtors and builders specializing in cooperative apartments who worked with B.F. Saul—and the C.H. Small & Company, also engaged in real estate. The growth of real estate companies around McPherson Square contributed to the growing reputation of the area as part of “Washington’s Wall Street.”
DC Inventory: July 28, 2016
National Register (received August 19, 2016)
Within Financial Historic District