Built in 1905, the Champlain brought apartment living to the prestigious neighborhood surrounding K Street and McPherson Square. In order to fit into the neighborhood, the building was constructed with a marble veneer exterior, the only one of its kind in D.C. before 1945. Its Beaux-Arts style and refined features by architect Harold Clinton Smith created a refined and elegant building for all of its residents, despite the lack of homeownership by those living there.
The Champlain was a construction venture by Redfield Proctor who, in addition to being the president of the Vermont Marble Company, was also a senator of the same state. While privately owned when completed, the Champlain was converted to government office space in 1975. In the 1960s, the building was renamed to the Orme Building. These changes reflect the evolution of the surrounding area from a residential to a commercial neighborhood. Despite Washingtonians' suspicion of apartment living in the early twentieth century, the Champlain exemplified the ability to create a luxurious apartment building in a high-end neighborhood.
DC Inventory: January 17, 1990
National Register: September 7, 1994
This site is a stop on the D.C. Apartment Buildings tour as an example of a Conventional Mid-Rise apartment building.