The property just west of Cardozo High School bordered by Clifton Street to the north and between 13th and 14th Streets was once the location of Belmont, the castle-like home of the Barber family.


Belmont was built in 1883 by Amzi L. Barber, who was known as “America’s Asphalt King.” Barber was known for heading the Education Department at Howard University at the time of its founding in 1867, purchasing land from the university to build LeDroit Park, and later entering the asphalt paving business which he came to dominate nationally. Barber was also involved in developing the Columbia Heights neighborhood.

Upon Barber’s death, Harry Wardman purchased the property. Wardman ultimately razed Belmont to construct the Wardman Courts apartment complex in 1915. As the third of the three buildings was nearing occupancy in December of 1915, Wardman exchanged Wardman Courts to Mrs. Henrietta Halliday for the Brighton apartments located at 21 and 23 California Street, NW. The real estate deal was valued at $1,000,000.

Wardman Courts was renamed to Clifton Terrace in 1921. The name was returned to Wardman Courts when it reopened as condominiums and rental units in 2003, after years of neglect and mismanagement.

Images from the Library of Congress collections. More images below.


Belmont hallway

Entry hall

Barber parlor


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 served as the Commission’s Chair since 2013. 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.