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Lost Washington: Wisteria House

Once located on the northwest corner of Massachusetts Avenue and 11th Street, NW, the Wisteria House was built during the Civil War (ca. 1863) for hardware merchant William Thomas. Thomas added a two story portico in 1869. The Wisteria was brought to Washington from China and was a gift to Thomas by a naval officer.

Wisteria House ca. 1920Wisteria House detail
Click on an image to enlarge.

In 1878, Thomas moved to Saint Louis. The new owner was Gustavus Ricker, a businessman with investments in marble, iron, and railroads. Ricker removed the original gable roof and added a third story with a flat roof in 1882.

Upon Ricker's death, his widow continued to live in the home until her death in 1922. The house was razed in 1924 to make way for the Wisteria Mansions Apartments.

Kent Boese posts items of historic interest primarily within the District. He's worked in libraries since 1994, both federal and law, and currently works on K Street. He's been an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner serving the northern Columbia Heights and Park View neighborhoods since 2011 (ANC 1A), and is the force behind the blog Park View, D.C.


Hey thats funny! Im moving in there in like 2 weeks...

by Ben on Jun 30, 2009 4:35 pm • linkreport

always amazes me how many houses, including our row of 10, were built during the Civil War when there was such a shortage of wood and cement. all the trees in Rock Creek Park were even cut down for the war effort. that house, like mine, probably used lumber from the recently torn down 11 St. RR bridge and had "mortar" which was mostly sand like mine too.

by Tom Coumaris on Jun 30, 2009 9:35 pm • linkreport

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