The structure that became known as the Little Green House, at 1625 K Street, NW, started out its history innocently enough. In 1880, Mr. J. B. Edmonds of Iowa purchased the property and erected a house of green stone for $17,000. Mr. Edmonds was a retired lawyer.

The Edmonds family lived in the home until Mrs. Lydia M. Edmonds passed away on November 18, 1912. At that time, the Edmonds estate was valued at about $550,000.

The house took on a level of notoriety during the administration of Warren G. Harding. When he took office in 1921, and the Ohio Gang followed him to town, the house was leased by an Ohio politician turned lobbyist who also happened to be a friend of Harry M. Daugherty, Harding’s Attorney General.

In the next two years the home was the scene of Presidential poker parties and revelry of a more spectacular sort (some even went so far as to suggest orgies). One writer of the time described the home as a rendezvous where shady political-business deals were consummated over bottles of confiscated liquor.

The whole thing came to public notice when the Harding administration suddenly collapsed. Time and again during Senate committees and before courts of law, the Little Green House was named as the place where less than above board Government deals were made.

In the final years of the house it had a quiet existence. It was vacant for several years and eventually was a home for several fraternities. In 1931 it was remodeled as a business office.

The home was eventually razed in April of 1941 to make way for a $500,000, 1,260,000 cubic ft. office building. The Commonwealth building (top right) was built in 1943, with renovations in 1996 and 2002, and is still there today.

Tagged: dc, history

Kent Boese posts items of historic interest, primarily within the District. He’s worked in libraries since 1994, both federal and law, and currently works on K Street. He’s been an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner serving the northern Columbia Heights and Park View neighborhoods since 2011 (ANC 1A), and is a candidate for the DC Council, Ward 1. He has a MS in Design from Arizona State University with strong interests in preservation, planning, and zoning. Kent is also the force behind the blog Park View, DC.