Warder-Totten House – Washington, D.C. - Atlas Obscura

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Warder-Totten House

The last remaining building in Washington, D.C., built by H.H. Richardson, one of America's most iconic architects. 


Also known as Warder Mansion, this is the last surviving building in Washington, D.C., built by H.H. Richardson, one of “the recognized trinity of American architecture,” which was rounded out by Richard Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Henry Hobson Richardson was a prolific American architect who was famous for his work in a style that became known as Richardsonian Romanesque: an eye-catching admixture of 11th- and 12th-century European elements, medieval influences, and other design concepts that were at once reflective of the past and demonstrative of new and exciting looks.

His primary building types were public libraries, commuter rail stations, single-family homes, and commercial buildings. His best-known works are Trinity Church in Boston, the Richardson Olmstead Complex in Buffalo, and John J. Glessner House in Chicago.

The Warder Mansion was built between 1885 and 1888 for Benjamin H. Warder, a wealthy farm equipment magnate who died in 1894, after which his widow occupied the property until 1921. In 1923, the mansion was slated to be razed, but architect George Oakley Totten, Jr. bought the house and transported it piece by piece from its original location at 1515 K St. NW to its current resting place on 16th Street.

Totten converted the place into an apartment building that later housed the National Lutheran Council and the Antioch College of Law. Antioch College vacated the premises in 1986 and the building sat empty for over twelve years before escaping the fate of the wrecking ball for a second time.

After a full renovation in 2000-2001, the building emerged as Warder Mansion, a 38-room apartment complex that retains the beautiful Richardsonian elements that have made it one of the gems of 16th Street for over a century.

Know Before You Go

Warder Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

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July 18, 2022

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