CLICK HERE TO DONATE
The Cleveland Park Clubhouse was an early construction of John Sherman’s Cleveland Park Company. It was designed by architect Robert Head. The building permit (below) to build “one cottage” was issued on February 15, 1900. At the time of construction, the land had yet to be subdivided.
Interestingly, the heating for the house was not a boiler/radiator system common in most Cleveland park homes of the time, but a hot air system, which the house uses today.
DC attorney Byron Ulmer Graham was the first owner of what was then 3228 Bridge Street. Bridge Street later became Reno Road, but at the time was the “path” that crossed the Newark Street ravine, and led down to Klingle Ford Road to the John Sherman stables behind what is now 2932 Macomb Street. From there, people could pick up the trolley to downtown DC.
The house was on the market for a whopping $6500!
The Grahams lived at the house for thirteen years before moving to a new custom built house in Bethedsa (a house designed by noted local architect Arthur B. Heaton, Highland Place neighbor, and founding member and future president of the Cleveland Park Club). The future Clubhouse, now addressed as 3228 Reno Road, was deeded to Mrs. Graham’s mother, Mary Binford, a California resident, who used it as a rental property.
On June 23, 1922, Ms. Binford, still living in Los Angeles, sold the property to Cleveland Park resident Margery Huntress, who lived around the corner at 3208 Highland Place. Her husband, C.B. Huntress, a former newspaper man from Indiana, was a Washington D.C. public relations professional and a handler for Warren Harding.
On January 4, 1923, less than two months after the incorporation of the Club, the Huntresses sold the property to a neighbor, Agnes Miller, who resided at Woodlawn, the Miller estate on Highland Place (between NCRC and Ashley Terrace).
Ms. Miller, along with her brothers William (W.C.) and Allison (A.N.), and sister Sara Birney, were integral to the founding of the Cleveland Park Club. The Huntresses were also founding Club members. Contrary to local mythology, however, Agnes Miller did not gift the property to the newly formed Cleveland Park Club. The Club purchased the property from Agnes Miller for approximately $12,000, taking out two mortgages, one to B.F. Saul and another to Agnes Miller.
The myth likely arose from the gifting of adjacent land when the Club purchased the property. This land, now 3220-3318 Ordway Street, was owned by W.C. and A.N. Miller. The Millers put a condition to the deed that is must used for the development of tennis courts and putting greens. The gift was conditional, “as long as the [land] is used by said Club for club purposes; and upon the discontinuance of such use by said Club, or the dissolution of said corporation, the said property shall revert,” to the Millers. In 1930, not having the funds to develop the land, and incapable of paying the property taxes, the land was deeded back to the Miller brothers. The Club holds free and clear title to the deed of the clubhouse, the last mortgage having been paid off in 1967.