Originally known as Kober Court and Sternberg Court, the eight-building multi-unit complexes were built in 1937 and 1939 by the Washington Sanitary Improvement and Washington Sanitary Housing companies, which built model housing in the District between 1897 and 1939. Former Surgeon General George Sternberg was its first president, and public health expert George Kober its first secretary. This was the last project built by the companies before the era of government-assisted public housing. The complex is the only multi-unit housing development in the Southwest Redevelopment Area that survived urban renewal. In 1967, it was converted to the present cooperative ownership.
St. James Mutual Homes is significant for its association with the development of Southwest in the 1930s, particularly in regard to the quadrant’s long struggle to develop high quality affordable housing despite natural and man-made impediments. Its construction as the Kober-Sternberg Courts represents a significant milestone in the development of planned housing for persons of moderate income and the evolution of the “sanitary housing” movement, an important force in the residential development of Southwest Washington and the city as a whole.
Nominated by the property owner and designated October 22, 2015