Built in 1902-1903, the Ethelhurst was one of the earliest multi-story apartment buildings in Washington and is historically notable as a product of T. Franklin Schneider, an architect and entrepreneur who pioneered luxury multi-story apartment buildings in D.C. Upon its construction, the Ethelhurst was among the tallest of its kind at eight stories tall and measuring 103 feet in total height. It occupied one corner of an intersection that originally hosted three T. Franklin Schneider apartment buildings, built between 1896 and 1906 before Schneider retired from public life due to advancing blindness.
A highly regarded businessman and designer, known as the “Young Napoleon of F Street,” Schneider was prolific in his work, designing over 2,000 homes, businesses, and apartment buildings in an eclectic mixture of styles. The stylistic detailing of The Ethelhurst was in keeping with Beaux Arts-influenced architecture that profoundly marked Washington's architecture in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, particularly in financial districts and downtown. The Ethelhurst was of particular note because of its height, fireproof construction, luxurious interior appointments, and proximity to downtown, which promoted a live-work lifestyle in an increasingly commercialized area.
The Ethelhurst was designed to attract wealthy clients, specifically those who worked in high-income downtown jobs. This clientile marks the apartment building as a significant representative of the demographic forces that affected the development of downtown at the turn of the century. It is also representative of turn-of-the-century architectural trends related to the McMillan Plan, and exhibits close stylistic ties to nearby landmarked buildings such as the Riggs National Bank Building (1899-1902) and the Willard Hotel (1915).
In 1958, the building was converted from apartments into an office building. The Ethelhurst is clad in painted brick with cast stone and cast-iron architectural details. Despite interior alterations, the exterior of the building is largely unaltered, and retains sufficient integrity to convey its significance as an early twentieth century apartment building.
Today, the building is known as The Architect hotel, located in the downtown district, only a few blocks from the White House.
DC Inventory: October 23, 2014
National Register: June 26, 2019