Room & Board in D.C., 1914

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Here’s an interesting item I found on the wonderful DC history resource, Ghosts of DC. It is a pocket directory of apartments, as printed by The Washington Times paper, from 1914.

Several of these apartment buildings still exist today -- but you could expect to pay about $2500/mo in rent. Source: www.ghostsofdc.org

Some of these apartment buildings still exist today — but don’t expect a bargain rent. Source: http://www.ghostsofdc.org

Emmett lived in the Congress Hall Hotel, which catered to congressmen, and was an easy commute. It was right across the street from Emmett’s office in the Cannon House Office Building. Our guy could just roll out of bed and be at his desk in under 10 minutes if he wanted. No worries about about traffic or Metro delays.

Congress Hall Hotel, about 1914. Emmett lived here during his entire tenure as Congressman. Source: LOC.gov

Congress Hall Hotel, about 1914. Emmett lived here during his entire tenure as Congressman. The Longworth House Office Building is now on this site. Source: LOC.gov

The going rate for a room at the Congress Hall Hotel was $2.50 per day; it included amenities such as shoe shine service, maid service, private bath. Meals were extra.

Emmett was paying about $80 a month (about $2100 in 2014 dollars) to live at the hotel — almost twice as much as some of the rents listed in the apartment directory. Not inexpensive, especially on a congressman’s salary of $125 a month back then.

Things haven’t changed that much; i.e., it is still expensive to live in D.C. Today the average rent of an apartment in the city is about $2500 a month.

Several of the apartment buildings listed in the 1914 directory, such as The Chevy Chase, The Biltmore, and The Eckington, still exist today, in excellent condition.

Chevy Chase Circle fountain; the Chevy Chase  apartment building is the white building to the right. Source: www.townofchevychase.org

Chevy Chase Circle fountain; the Chevy Chase apartment building is the white building to the right. Source: http://www.townofchevychase.org

Update 12/30/2014: Just out of curiosity, I went through the list to see how many of these apartment buildings are still around, and most of them are! I love old buildings, and it makes me feel good when others also see their value and care for them so that they are around for at least 100 years!

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