You are here

Toutorsky House (Henry B. Brown House)

-A A +A
Henry B. Brown House
1892–1894, William Henry Miller. 1720 16th St. NW
  • Toutorsky House (Henry B. Brown House) (Library of Congress)
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)

Miller, who conducted a fifty-year architectural practice in Ithaca, New York, was, in 1872, the first student to graduate from Cornell University's School of Architecture. He worked in a variety of late Victorian styles, primarily influenced by contemporaneous developments in England, a common practice among provincial American architects of the period. In his Brown house, Miller employed a vocabulary associated with Flemish architecture, whose revival was popularized in England by Richard Norman Shaw. Three major vertical masses intersect at right angles and relate to the house's corner site and its plan, which has two major entrances and a biaxial arrangement of rooms. Each of the three-and-a-half-story brick masses (one facing 16th Street and the others Riggs Place) has a stepped gable, and each is composed using different fenestration patterns. The scrolled stepped gable on the 16th Street facade surmounts a wall with tall vertical windows that span its five-bay width, while the gables facing Riggs Place are angular and less ornate in outline. Continuous rock-faced brown sandstone belt courses circumscribe the house, merging with window sills and lintels on all stories. These strong horizontals blend with the deep red of the brick and subtly balance the vertical thrust of the numerous, compactly placed, deeply set windows. Although picturesque in outline and arrangement of masses, Miller's composition is totally controlled and coherent when viewed from 16th Street and hierarchically spread out as its masses diminish in size and importance on Riggs Place.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Toutorsky House (Henry B. Brown House)", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 305-305.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.