Home to first black woman with $5 million DC dental office listings

Distinguished Homes for Sale in the DC Area

Logan Circle Townhouse | The 1892 townhouse, designed by architect Joseph Johnson, was home to DC’s first black woman with a dental office. The home is listed at just under $5 million. (HomeVisit)

Some houses are filled with so much history and historical features that they look more like museums than houses. You can’t imagine someone with young children in such a house.

But this stately townhouse in Washington’s northwest Logan Circle neighborhood has been home to a family of four for more than a decade. James Iker and her husband Hayes Nuss moved into the house in 2008 and raised their now 12-year-old twins there.

“It doesn’t live like a museum at all,” Iker said. “It’s designed to work for a family. It is a very functional house. It’s a big house, but we use every part of it.

Iker pulled out a shopping bag filled with information about the house passed down from previous owners. According to a report by Paul Kelsey Williams of Kelsey & Associates, the house was built in 1892. Architect Joseph Johnson designed the house for Thomas Whyte, owner of National Cornice Works. The distinctive copper cornice and bay window are a nod to Whyte’s business. The Whyte family remained in the house until 1904.

In 1946 Westanna OI Byrom bought the house. Byrom, who graduated from Howard University School of Dentistry in 1933, was the first black woman to have a dental practice in Washington. She ran her practice from the lower level of the house. A sign “Dr. WOI Byrom, Dentist” remains above the door.

After graduating from Howard, Byrom returned to her home state of Tennessee, where she opened a dental practice. She also worked in public health, treating needy children while taking her portable dental equipment from school to school.

Byrom returned to Washington in 1941. In addition to her private practice, she spent 24 years with the DC Public Health Department’s Office of Dental Health, working in free dental clinics throughout the city.

Among the many papers in the shopping bag were Byrom’s certificate of membership in the Robert T. Freeman Dental Society; an award from the Howard University Dental Alumni Association; a letter from the US Treasury Department’s War Finance Committee thanking her for her fundraising efforts; and a letter from the head of the DC Bureau of Dental Health, wishing him well in retirement. A family photo album contained several photos of Byrom and his family in the house.

Byrom and her husband, Harold G. Covington, a State Department employee, lived in the house with their daughter Bettye. When Byrom died in 1982, Bettye inherited the house. Bettye died four years later, leaving the home to Ruben S. Martin. After his death in 1994, the house was sold to Robert and Christine Young in 1996.

The Youngs undertook an extensive renovation in an effort to preserve its character. Although many period features survived, some, such as the ornate woodwork on the staircase, had been repainted. According to Iker, dental tools were needed to remove the paint that had reached the narrow crevices.

Todd Harmon Turner bought the house in 2004 but sold it four years later.

Iker and Nuss continued work started by the Youngs, but also extended the house with the help of architect Jon Hensley and builder John Allen of AllenBuilt. During the two-year renovation that was completed in 2017, they added a top floor with an expansive rooftop terrace and installed an elevator. The former dental office is now a one bedroom apartment. The 1,200-square-foot rooftop terrace features a grilling area, hot tub, fire pit, and monument views.

“The roof terrace is definitely my favorite part of the house, especially in the morning,” Iker said.

Even with the modernizations, many period features have been preserved, including the fireplace mantels and tile surrounds in the living room, drawing room and library. The living room, living room and dining room are separated by pocket doors. They also kept a “talking tube”, an old intercom system, which is in the upstairs hallway.

Behind the house there are two parking spaces with an electric car charger.

The seven-bedroom, 10-bathroom, 6,600-square-foot home is listed at $4,995,000.

1329 R St. NW, Washington, D.C.

  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 7/10
  • Approximate area: 6,600
  • Lot size: 0.05 acres
  • Features: The 1892 townhouse was designed by architect Joseph Johnson. The copper cornice and bay window are a nod to original owner Thomas Whyte, owner of National Cornice Works. The kitchen with dining area has an island and two dishwashers. The paneled library has a fireplace and a bay window. The upper level features a veranda with bathroom, a 1,100 square foot rooftop terrace with grilling area, hot tub, fire pit, and monument views. The two parking spaces behind the house are equipped with an electric car charger.
  • Listing agent: Daryl JudyBeautiful Washington Properties

Comments are closed.