Built between 1927 and 1929 by Harry Bralove and Edward C. Ernst, The Broadmoor was one of Connecticut Avenue’s first luxury rental apartment buildings, and remains among the most distinguished residences in the Nation’s capital today. It was designed by notable Washington apartment house architect Joseph H. Abel, a proponent of the “International” style, and was the first luxury residence on Connecticut Avenue north of Rock Creek.
An early brochure described the Broadmoor as the “home of prominent business executives, senators, representatives, Army and Navy officers, and of a select cross-section of official Washington.” Its public facilities – most notably the dining room, known prior to 1938 as the “Silver Grill” – became a popular site for wedding receptions, school proms and other large social functions. Amenities included a beauty shop, a barber shop, a pastry shop, a valet and laundry service, a newsstand, elevator operators, round-the-clock switchboard operators and one of the first underground garages in any Washington apartment building.
Since 1948, the Broadmoor has been a functioning residential cooperative, a Delaware corporation located on approximately five acres of land that it owns. It was the first Washington cooperative to be organized on a membership, rather than a stock-ownership, basis. Unlike many other cooperatives and condominiums, it is self-managed, and does not employ an outside management company.
The L-shaped building is approached through brick entrance gate posts by a brick sidewalk laid in herringbone pattern alongside a curvilinear brick wall and is characterized by projecting towers and bays leading to a brick porte-cochere. The decorative elements are of Indiana limestone and vary from hand-carved heraldic tower accents to applied decorative balconies with limestone cross motifs.
The foyer and lobby areas contain an interesting mixture of different elements from different periods. The lobby, originally Tudor in style, was later changed to Art Deco in a substantial remodeling job undertaken in 1938-1939 . Fluted columns and recessed dome ceilings were added, as were Art Deco motifs, which can still be seen in the door and the wainscoting. During World War II, when housing in Washington was scarce, rooms and baths were built on the ground floor of each wing of the building, and alcoves near the elevators were closed in to create additional rooms. There are 194 apartments in the building, which vary greatly in size and layout. There are also five guest rooms for use by guests of Broadmoor residents.
Every year, cooperative owners elect a Board of Directors with the legal responsibility for management of the corporate assets. Each unit owner is entitled to an equal vote, despite the widely varying assigned capital values of their units. The Board is charged with providing good management, maintaining the property in good repair and keeping the corporation financially sound. It also fixes the rate of assessment and the charges for various services. The Board is accountable to the membership and is required by law to meet the statutory and contractual obligations of the corporation. Governing documents provide the framework for the operation of the cooperative and form, in essence, a representative democracy.