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Ridge Top Apartments

Western Branch, National Home for Disabled Veterans Solders National Historic Landmark

Historic Structure Report & Rehabilitation

The Ridge Top Apartments rehabilitation project adapted Buildings 1, 2, 3, 4 and 61, located at the Western Branch, National Home for Disabled Veterans Solders National Historic Landmark, to provide one- and two-bedroom apartments for low-income, veteran transitional housing. A fitting use for historic domiciliary buildings originally constructed to house Civil War veterans.

Buildings 1-4 share nearly identical floor plans with three primary sections: a central pavilion, flanking wings, and a hip roof. Within the central pavilions the tarrazo floors and stairs were cleaned and restored. New elevators were installed within each building using existing shafts from a 1950s renovation to make all levels accessible. Plaster walls were restored and previously removed plaster ceilings were replaced with sympathetic dry wall ceilings. The brick masonry walls and limestone foundations were cleaned and restored. The remaining historic wood windows were restored and where historic windows had been removed they were recreated with wood sash windows. Exterior storm windows were installed to provide additional thermal efficiency.

Previously installed metal fire escapes were removed from the front façade and the front porches were restored. Historically, these porches were used by the Civil War veterans to rest and get fresh air. Residents of the new apartments can access the porches through the wings with the use of key cards. The non-historic front doors were replaced with double, stile and rail wood doors with beveled glass transoms to match historic the configuration.

Building 61 was originally built as a physician’s residence. The two-story, three-bedroom brick house was rehabilitated for use as a single family rental home. The limestone foundation and exterior brick masonry were repaired and repointed. The wood floors, wood stairs and plaster walls were restored as part of the rehabilitation. Existing historic wood windows and doors were retained and repaired. The historic porch was retained and repainted, with the wood railing and balusters restored.

The project was completed in 2013 and meets the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for Rehabilitation.