844 NEW HAMPSHIRE AVENUE NW
Click photo below to see full sized image.
The Fitzgerald House is the largest historic house in the Foggy Bottom Historic District (842-844 New Hampshire Ave.). It has a two story main building, with two tower projections. Built in 1886, it was used as a grocery store and residence from the 1890s to the 1950, and now houses apartments. Its two-story brick construction and architectural details are typical of the neighborhood, but it is built on a more massive scale. There are two front entrances on New Hampshire Avenue and one entrance on I Street. For as long as anyone remembers, the house has been painted yellow. The house's large landscaped yard features peonies, roses, and hollies.
The Fitzgerald House duplicates the same architectural motifs - a decorated cornice and segmental arches with beaded moldings over the openings - as the adjoining row houses to give the block symmetry. It anchors a 16 unit group of row houses on I St. and New Hampshire Ave. that were built by J.H. Grant for developer Samuel Norment in 1886. The brick is laid in a "stretcher bond" pattern in which the vertical joints are staggered each time by half a brick. The recessed entry door in the middle of two bays on each side the design gives a grander presence than its neighbors.
D. Vogt, 2022
1892 - Fitzgerald
1958 - Burch
1986 - Timlin
It is called the Fitzgerald House after the family that owned it for nearly 60 years. Irish immigrant James F. Fitzgerald (1863-1889) took up residence by 1892. On Sept. 10, 1895, he married 25-year old Irish immigrant Kate M. Kelleher (b. 1869) at St. Stephen's Church. (That church building was replaced by a modern church in 1961, but remains nearby at the same location at 2424 Penn. Ave. NW). By 1895, the Fitzgeralds operated a grocery store, the M&J Market (named after their children Mary and James). Tragically, James died in 1899 at age 36. Like many Irish Catholics, including his neighbors in Foggy Bottom, he is buried in D.C.’s Mt. Olivet Cemetery.
The 1900 Census shows that Kate, now known as Catherine, maintained the grocery store and lived with her children James (age 2) and Mary (age 1), and Nellie Deady (b. 1885) a 15-year old Irish immigrant who worked as a nurse, likely helping Catherine with the household. A 1901 register of government employees shows Deady working at nearby Columbia Hospital for Women and lying-in Asylum as a dining-room maid. In 1905, Deady worked at Tudor Place as a domestic and may also have worked there as a servant waitress in 1910. Catherine Fitzgerald apparently remarried and became Catherine Kelly in approximately 1912. She continued to operate the grocery store through 1916.
The house remained in Fitzgerald family until 1958, but it was rented to other families who continued the grocery store operation. Renters/store operators including Gladstone Shoul (1915), Nathan Book (1920), Isidore Pernut (1923),nd Samuel and Ida Chernikoff who lived there with Esther (a typist) (1937). In 1950, Jesse S. Shiwa, who was born in Okinawa, Japan, and his family lived there and operated the store.
In 1958, it was purchased by Benjamin Burch, a developer who renovated a number of Foggy Bottom row houses. Restored in 1960, it was converted into several apartment residences.
Steve Timlin, a licensed DC tour guide, and devotee of Foggy Bottom and its history, lived there from 1986 to 2008. A paralegal, he was the advertising manager for the Foggy Bottom News. He did extensive work to upgrade the house in a historically sound manner in 1987 and received an Environmental Improvement Award from D.C. Timlin maintained the garden of the very visible house, and it remains in good condition. Timlin passed away in 2016 and long time neighbors still refer to the iconic property as the "Steve Timlin House."
“Foggy Bottom is a delightful neighborhood with a lot of friendly people here, a historic little part of the city that we want to protect as best we can. [The Historic District] will preserve our little old town houses for future uses as residential buildings. . . . I've become somewhat of an information center on this corner.”
Resident Steve Timlin, quoted in the Hatchet, Dec. 1996
"Foggy Bottom Friends: Steve Timlin, Keeping up with the Neighborhood," GWU Hatchet, Dec. 1996, at 9.
DC Recorder of Deeds Office
FBA History Project, "Foggy Bottom's Grandest House." Clio: Your Guide to History. https://theclio.com/tour/2098/2
FBA History Project, "Architectural Variety on New Hampshire Avenue." Clio: Your Guide to History https://theclio.com/tour/2098/1
EHT Traceries, historic survey 11/1983
Boyd’s Directory of the District of Columbia, 1892, 1895, 1896, 1905, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1920, 1937
U.S Census for the District of Columbia 1900, 1910, 1950
Official Register of the United States, 1901
Find a Grave.com
FBA Arts in Foggy Bottom 2021, Robin Bell, "Readymade Rainbow"
Thibadeau Mortuary Service, obituary, 2016
Corner view of house, showing the I St side. (D. Vogt, May 2022)
The sidewalk view at the corner of the house, showing NH Ave side. (D. Vogt, May 2022)
A Timlin house/yard group photo for neighbor Jane Brown's memorial, June 30, 2011 - Photo includes Dennis Diavatis, Jackie Lemire, Paul O'Leary, Ken and Jackie Durham, Steve and Ester Timlin, Ellie Becker, Denise Vogt, Bob Vogt, Janet Farbstein, Dorothy K. House owner Steve Timlin (far right back) (D. Vogt, collection)
FBA Arts in Foggy Bottom 2021, 844 NH Ave, Robin Bell "Readymade Rainbow" (Photo by Nancy Daly)
James F. Fitzgerald's tombstone, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, D.C. (FindAGrave.com)