George M. Lightfoot House

1329 Missouri Avenue NW, Washington, DC


George M. Lightfoot House

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The George M. Lightfoot House was built as a residence in 1892 for Frederick Bex, a carriage maker in the small crossroads village of Brightwood in what was then still referred to as Washington County in the District of Columbia. The house was purchased in 1917 by George M. Lightfoot, a professor at Howard University, who resided in the home from 1933 until his death in 1947. Although George M. Lightfoot is not the original owner and builder, the house is named for him due to his associations with the house and the African American community, and due to his family's longtime ownership of the property. The Lightfoot House meets National Register of Historic Places Criteria A and C at the local level of significance. The house is eligible under Criterion A for two reasons: 1) It is one of only a few surviving houses of Brightwood that predate the area's residential subdivision and that reflect Brightwood's history as a rural village; and 2) it is associated with George M. Lightfoot, an African American Howard University professor of Latin from 1891 to 1939, who purchased the home around 1917. The home represents black homeownership at a time when few African Americans were able to purchase grand homes in Washington's suburban areas. Additionally, Lightfoot, devoted to the cause of classical education for African Americans, was noted for the salons conducted in his home attended by prominent black intellectuals such as Carter G. Woodson, WEB Dubois and Alain Locke. This was during the time when the practice of segregation of public facilities discouraged blacks from gathering in clubs and other public facilities where there might have been similar conversation and exchanges of ideas in comfortable social settings. The Lightfoot House is eligible under Criterion C as an excellent example of a 19th -century suburban -villa--a sizeable and freestanding dwelling built in the country, but accessible to the city and occupied by early -commuters.- The house is also notable for its distinctive architecture. The two-story, freestanding frame dwelling, by its massing and architectural features, reflects a fanciful Victorian eclectic style that is not common to the District of Columbia.

Posted to the NRHP 1-15-2014

Update Log 

  • August 14, 2014: Added by Dave King