The Porter was built in 1925-26 by Morris Cafritz and the Cafritz Construction Company, with an original address of 3608 Connecticut Avenue, N.W. The Porter was among the first of more than seventy-five cooperative apartment houses built in Washington between 1923 and 1929. Before then, only two apartment buildings had been built in the city as co-ops, one in 1891 and the other in 1909. The building photographs were taken at NCB’s (National Cooperative Bank’s) expense and donated to the Coalition. We greatly appreciate and thank them for their many years of continuous support of the Coalition and the District’s housing cooperative community.
Apartment living, in both co-ops and rental units, became very popular after World War I because of serious inflation and a growing population. Other co-ops built during this period include 1701 Lanier Place, N.W. (1923); the Cleveland Park at 3018-3028 Porter Street, N.W. (1924); 1661 Crescent Place, N.W. (1925); and Tilden Gardens (1927).
To protect traditional residential areas, the D.C. zoning law of 1920 restricted certain neighborhoods to single-family homes. Later amendments allowed apartment buildings in these neighborhoods, but only along a single street. The best example of this regulation is Connecticut Avenue.
In 1926, the nearly-completed building was converted into a corporation (incorporated in the state of Delaware), and shares of stocks were sold. The purchasers of the stock, known as shareholders, were issued shares according to the size and location of their apartments. The original mortgage was paid off in 1954. The corporation owns the building and the land outright.
The four-story brick building sits on three-tenths of an acre. There are 28 units, arranged in seven floor plan tiers (e.g., 01, 02, 03). There are four efficiencies, 21 one-bedrooms and three two-bedrooms. Twelve of the units originally had open porches which were later enclosed.
Because of its small size, The Porter continues as a community where residents know one another and take pride in their direct oversight of the building, which still maintains much of its old world charm. Its Cleveland Park location has been a particular asset since the completion of the Metro in the 1970s. Additionally, the neighborhood features first-class amenities of restaurants, shops and other commercial establishments.