July 13, 2018
Newspapers tucked behind a mirror above the living room fireplace led Connie Rath to surmise that her stately red brick Victorian in Logan Circle might be older than she had been told. When she was having the plaster around the mirror painted, some of it crumbled, revealing newspapers from 1869. However, the date on the permit to build the house on file with the city is May 1883. The 14-year difference is a mystery, but perhaps those thrifty builders saved their newspapers.
The house was designed by noted Washington architect Glenn Brown for Thomas P. Simpson, a patent attorney and scion of a prominent Washington family. Simpson’s grandfather came to Washington in 1783 and was clerk of works, a sort of deputy to the architect of the Capitol and White House. His uncle Walter Lenox was mayor of Washington and a regent of the Smithsonian Institution.