History of the Westmoreland

The Westmoreland Cooperative, one of Washington's "Best Addresses", celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary in 2006. The building originally opened as a rental property in 1906 and was converted to a co-op in 1948. The building was designed by architects Edgar S. Kennedy and Harry Blake in 1905.

James M. Goode, in his book Best Addresses (Washington and London, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1988, pp. 77-80) wrote the following:

Resembling a Maltese cross, the six-story buff-brick and limestone beaux-arts Westmoreland was one of several early apartment houses erected on California Street with a commanding view of the city from the crest of Kalorama heights.... The developers originally planned to call the building the Waverly but changed the name before construction was completed. When it opened in 1906 the Westmoreland contained fifty-five apartments. From the beginning, a public dining room, the Westmoreland Cafe, was operated on the top floor of the east central wing, serving three meals a day. The manager often lived in an adjoining apartment until the cafe closed in 1932, during the Great Depression. At that time a covered passageway was built between the Westmoreland and the adjoining Highlands, so that Westmoreland residents could use the public dining room there without needing protection from the weather. The old passageway was torn down in 1948 when the Westmoreland became a co-op... When changed from rental to cooperative status in 1948, the building included a lawn with a rose garden on the west side. This gave way in 1962 to a parking lot for the residents, now holding thirty cars. Because of the building's high elevation on California Street, the city water system was originally not powerful enough to furnish water pressure to the top three floors. As a result, a large storage tank was built at the top of the staircase in the rooftop penthouse...