920 SNOWS COURT NW
Built in 1914, Wilber Nash's large brick commercial livery stable rented horses and carriages to the community. The large three-story brick building is one of the few remaining livery stables in D.C.'s alleys, and the only one in Foggy Bottom. By 1914, the automobile was becoming more popular, reducing the need for stables. The building has functioned as a warehouse since at least the 1940s. It is a protected historic building and has the potential for future adaptive re-use.
During the 1870s to the 1910s, there were typically 40-70 livery stables in the City. Such stables rented out horses and carriages and sometimes also bought and sold or boarded horses. Customers could rent horses and carriages for business, funerals, weddings, or just rides in the city and its parks.
Wilber Nash was a prominent merchant and builder in Washington, and his projects included work on the White House stable in 1916. He died at age 92, in 1951, leaving an estate of $1.2M. The stable's architect was Thomas M. Medford. He was a prolific Washington architect and engineer who served both the District and federal Governments for 18 years. Medford designed a variety of commercial and residential buildings in D.C.
Between 1915 and 1919, the stable was used by the Department of Commerce, and their signage hung by the front entry. The stable later was used to house working dray horses or horses from nearby riding stables.
In Nash's stable, the horses were taken up a ramp to the second level (as indicated by the horse stall windows). The carriages were housed on the first level and hay on the top level. The top-level windows were also used for ventilation. The stable's office door is on the narrow side of the building, facing the alley. The office side features intricate wood trim pieces around the windows, door and roofline. Inside, the lower level ceiling has stamped metal ceiling tiles with a "square in square" pattern and decorative metal crown molding.
By the 1940s, the stable building was primarily used as a warehouse. It also housed an illegal all-hours crap game, until new apartments blocked the view of approaching police. In 1959, Marshall Coyne, the developer of Washington's Madison Hotel, bought the property and built the 925 (25th St.) Apartments. The company that owns the 925 building continues to use the stable for storage and the same company owns the short term Zip Car rental parking lot.
FBA History Project, FB Historic District Walking Tour, "Nash's Livery Stable." https://theclio.com/tour/2098/5
Kim Prothro Williams, The DC Historic Alley Buildings Survey, 2014,
Proctor Alley Livery Stable, Historic nomination,
DC Historic Preservation Office, Architects' Directory, DC Historic Preservation Office, DC Architects Directory
D.C. Property Records, 920 Snows Ct.
"Snows Court Tradition Imperiled," Foggy Bottom News, Jan. 1959
Mary E. Healy, "I remember...Foggy Bottom" Foggy Bottom News, Apr. 1981
"Nash leaves $1,280,000 to children," The Evening Star, Aug. 24, 1951 at p. 6
Collins, Herbert R., "The White House Stables and Garages," Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Vol. 63/65, pp. 366-385
DC Historic Preservation Office, DC Architects Directory
Crane Collection photo, from the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.
Interior view of the stable. (D. Vogt, July 2022)
When the building became unsafe and fell into disrepair, crews worked to repoint the brick, stabilize the walls, replace exterior trim and clear debris and furniture from the stable interiors. (D. Vogt, 2022)
Dept. of Commerce Stable sign on front of 920 Snows, 1915-1919 (D.C History Center, from the Public Buildings Commission Report, 65th Congressional Session, 1917-1918)
Front view of stable with windows in place (later boarded up) in 1983. (EHT Traceries, Nov. 1983)
A long view of Snows Court with the stable on the right next to the condo building. (D. Vogt, Dec. 2022)
Stable in the winter with the Dept. of Commerce sign on facade, 1915-1920s), Will Crane Collection