My friend Ashley saw my recent post on sidewalk stamps, something she admitted she hadn’t given much thought to in the past. But when she was visiting Washington, D.C. the other day, she noticed this awesome bronze sidewalk plaque set into concrete.
I love how old fashioned the font is, and how pebbly the concrete surface has become over time. It’s clearly old, but I had no idea it was probably installed in the 1930s. According to the Ghosts of DC blog, Miller-Built houses were developed by W.C. and A.N. Miller. Most of the Miller-Built houses constructed in the 20s and 30s were built in the American University Park, Spring Valley, and Wesley Heights neighborhoods in Northwest DC – neighborhoods north and west of the Cathedral, for those of you who don’t know DC very well. The Ghosts website has a cool advertisement from 1939 describing Miller-Built houses. According to a 1940 article in the Washington Post, also cited on the Ghosts blog,
“For 28 years ‘Miller-Built’ has been synonymous with fine architectural design and home construction, standing for quality in structural fitness, durability, meritorious architecture, comfort, convenience, livability, charm and good taste.
With developments of Wesley Heights and Spring Valley, the company has given to Washington a ‘Garden of Beautiful Homes.’ Today, these are established communities of character where residences of impressive proportions find perfect settings. Nature provided the land with rolling contours and an abundance of large trees, even brooks and streams. the developers planned the highways to blend into this environment and each home is designed to coordinate with contour, location and compass bearings of the lot.”
These were some of the most elegant modern houses built in DC in the 1910s, 20s and 30s, and they were priced accordingly. Needless to say, they attracted wealthy Washingtonians who were interested in tasteful homes in carefully planned communities.
Right after college I lived in DC, not to far from Wesley Heights. I used to take long walks around Wesley Heights and AU Park admiring the old houses, which were admittedly not quite as old as those in Georgetown but seemed to have been designed to blend with their lush, wooded environment. Who knew all these years later that I’d learn more about the developers of those neighborhoods thanks to a sidewalk stamp!
Amazingly, the W.C. and A.N. Miller company is still in real-estate development after 102 years. They build and manage shopping centers in the DC area, and their designs incorporate Colonial details such as Flemish bond brickwork, Georgian-style windows, and stone or cast stone string courses and balustrades.
If any of you come across any interesting sidewalk stamps, send them my way! I’m always interested in “collecting” more.