801 25TH STREET NW

Year Built

1890

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House History

Sometimes called "Foggy Bottom's Octagon House," the distinctive, multi-sided corner house (801 25th St.) features a turret-mansard roof combination – common in D.C. Victorian houses, but relatively rare in Foggy Bottom.

Ownership History

Built in 1880, the Budd family lived in this large house with their adult children and some of their spouses in the 1900s. During the 1920s-1940s, the house was occupied by laborers, messengers, a charwoman, a driver, and an undertaker.

In 1960, accomplished architect Melita Rodeck was hired to renovate the house - she liked her renovations so much that she moved there from nearby Potomac Plaza. Ms. Rodeck lived here for 43 years, moving out only when she became unable to navigate the flights of stairs. When she purchased the house, it was deteriorating and a risk to visitors. She made several changes to the improve the stability of the structure and create a more functional modern living space. The house still had a total of six rooms on three floors. Ms. Rodeck is same architect who designed the row houses on Queen Anne’s Lane.

She sold the house to novelist Thomas Mallon. His works include "Two Moons" (2001), a historic novel story set at the Naval Observatory in 1877. The observatory at that time was located in Foggy Bottom on the hill across 23rd St. from the State Department.

Recollections

Documents

Source Material 

FBA History Project, Foggy Bottom Historic District Walking Tour, "Story Book Row and Foggy Bottom's "Octagon" House." https://theclio.com/tour/2098/12

"Foggy Bottom's Octagon House," Foggy Bottom News, Feb., 1960

Mallon, Thomas, "At large and at small: A House in Foggy Bottom," The American Scholar, Vol. 73, No. 2 (Spring 2004), pp 5-9