Lost Washington: The Leiter House
The residence at 1500 New Hampshire Ave. was designed by architect Theophilus Chandler and built in 1891 for Levi Leiter, a Chicago real estate and department store millionaire. The Leiter house was a white brick, classically inspired mansion with a red tile roof located at the intersection of Dupont Circle, New Hampshire Avenue, and 19th Street. Considered the finest private residence in Washington at the time it was built, the mansion was three stories with fifty-five rooms.
Levi Leiter, along with Potter Palmer, entered into a partnership with Marshall Field to create the department store Field, Palmer and Leiter in 1865. Palmer retired form the firm in 1867 to persue other interests. As Leiter began spending all of his time investing in Chicago real estate, he sold his interest in the department store toField in 1881, which were worth $6 million. After his death in 1904, his wfe became a leading Washington hostess with elaborate parties held in the house until World War II.