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Year Built


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D. Vogt, 2022


Owner (former FBRA Secretary) Margaret Franzen memo to GWU Grace Watson, memo FBRA beginnings 8/23/1994

"RLA Gets Renewal Plan for Foggy Bottom" article

Owner (former FBRA Secretary) Margaret Franzen Letter to Peter Roe, 8/11/1994

Janet Walker's recollections of living at 4 Snows Court (2000-2016), 10/2/2023


Numbers 1-7 Snows Court are seven original red brick (now painted) row houses, built in 1890. They maintain their historic facades as well as original brick rears. The houses are 13 feet wide and 28 feet deep. They are 2 1/2 stories, with stairs leading up to a first floor door. Segmental arches are present above the door and all windows. A simple brick motif cornice runs the length of all seven buildings. All units have cellar windows on the lower right side of the façade. In 2022, this house had 2 beds and 2 baths. The total sq. ft. was 972.

They were built by James H. Grant for developer Samuel Norment. (Norment was the same developer responsible for the yellow corner Fitzgerald (840-844 New Hampshire Ave.) and adjoining row houses.) This grouping of homes helps us visualize how the entire alley must have looked during the late 1800s. In 1905, these very basic dwellings with four to five rooms rented from $6.50 to $9.30 a month. They may have been occupied by at least two families and additional boarders.

Starting in 1952, new residents and developers started buying and renovating the neglected Snows Court row houses, following the example of the nearby Georgetown neighborhood. In 2022, these small, but geographically desirable, homes sell in the $800 - $900k range. "... The 93 year old dwellings, which had deteriorated into scarcely more than hovels, each occupied by 10 or 12 unfortunate Negros, were stripped back to the bare walls. All interior partitions were removed, and ne" w flooring was laid over the old. Gas, electricity and inside plumbing, which none of the houses had before, were installed," according to an article about Snows Court in the Washington Star in 1953.

From 1954 to 1994, the house was owned by Margaret L. Franzen, who served as the Secretary of the original Foggy Bottom Restoration Association. From 1957 to 1986, she rented the house, while she worked abroad from AID. in 1994, she sold it to Peter Roe.


11/1958 - Betty May, Mae Holthaus
1958 - 1994 Margaret L. Franzen
1994 - Peter Roe
2000-21016 - Janet & Tony Walker


Letter from house owner, Margaret Franzen to Peter Roe, August 11, 1994 (See Document 3 below for the complete letter)
"I bought the house in 1954 when I worked with A.I.D. I went oversees in 1957 & rented the place for 29 years to a friend who kept it in mint condition. Since that time it has had 4 different sets of renters including 2 years that my nephew lived there on assignment to D.C. . . .
I enjoyed living in Snows Ct. and always felt fortunate that the house backed onto a church so that there was no crowding the the back. I was one of the founders of the Fogg Bottom Assoc. & still get the newsletter. It was the first non-segregated neighborhood association in D.C.
Letter from Franzen to Roe, Oct. 31, 1994:
"As I mentioned to you in my previous letter to you through Tom Murphy, I had it (4 Snows) for 40 years having bought it with my mother in early 1954. We enjoyed being there when the entire Foggy Bottom was starting to be restored. Exciting times. . . .I was one of the Snows Court dwellers who started the Foggy Bottom Restoration Assoc.-- and it was the first integrated neighborhood association in D.C."

Recollections from Janet Walker, Oct. 2023 (See document 4 below for the complete document)
My husband and I purchased #4 Snows Court in the year 2000 and owned it for 16 years. Over that time, I was continually delighted and sometimes frustrated with our very special Alley Home in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood.
From my first visit to 4 Snows with our Realtor, the small width of the staircase to the second floor was always part of my fascination with the property. When you entered through the front door, the staircase was immediately in front of you, so you couldn’t avoid seeing it. And to see it, you were reminded of the age of the place because the steps were well-worn and not quite perfectly square. But most importantly, the small width of the staircase was a unique and outstanding feature. I would refer to the stairs as Dollhouse sized.
While the staircase was charming, the size made it a challenge to get furniture to the second floor. In addition, we found that we did a lot of painting along the wall where every trip up or down seemed to add additional scuff marks from the baggage we carried. . . .
Now, 7 years after selling 4 Snows Court, I still have many warm memories of our experiences at this unique property in Foggy Bottom. It was a great lesson in “living small”!

Source Material 

FBA History Project, FB Historic District Walking Tour, "Snows Court Row Houses ."
Foggy Bottom Association News, Feb. 1961
Rhea Radin, "From the Bottom Up," Foggy Bottom News, June 1959; and June 1958
George Beveridge, "City's Foggy Bottom See Test Ground of Urban Renewal," Evening Star, Oct. 23, 1955
Isabelle Shelton, The Washington Star, Nov. 8, 1953
Snows Court, "FBNew, November 1958

The lower level of the house with exposed brick walls and ceiling joists. ( Bright MLS, 2022)

A 1947 view of the rear facades of the seven rows with the two gas tanks above their rooflines. (GWU Gelman, Unknown, 1947)

Winter 2022 of the rear facades with the condo building in the distance. (D. Vogt, Dec. 2022)

1-7 Snows Court houses (before 2015) (Ellie Becker Collection, DC Hist Cent)

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