Real estate developer William S. Roose constructed this three-story brick townhouse with raised basement in 1875. Owners during its early years included a reporter for the House of Representatives and a well-known Washington columnist. In 1912, Italian immigrants Alphonso and Anna Gravalles purchased the home and opened up a ladies' tailoring shop. When Mary McLeod Bethune purchased the home from Anna Gravalles in December 1943, the Logan Circle neighborhood was integrated. Aside from serving as NCNW headquarters, the house also was Bethune's D.C residence from 1944 until her retirement in 1949.
The house was built in the Second Empire style, an architectural style popular in the United States from the 1860s through the 1880s. Features of Second Empire include a mansard roof (tall, steeply sloping roof that allowed for added living space on crowded city lots), dormers (windows set into a sloping roof), hooded windows (windows with projecting molding above), decorative brackets, and balustrades.
Questions for Photo 1
1. How would you describe the house? What features of the Second Empire style can you identify?
2. Give a brief history of the house and neighborhood before it became NCNW headquarters. (Refer back to Locating the Site if necessary.)
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