SIGStory #4

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The Cairo

Washington, DC

The Cairo apartment building, located at 1615 Q Street NW in Washington, D.C., is a landmark in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. Designed by architect Thomas Franklin Schneider, it was the District’s first residential skyscraper and is the District’s tallest residential building.
Upon its completion in 1894, at 12 stories and 164 feet, outraged local residents lobbied Congress for help.
The resulting Height of Buildings Act restricts building height in the District to the width of the adjacent street plus 20 feet. Subsequently, Washington has evolved as a city of streets filled with natural light, protected by a strong historic preservation movement.
Around 1900, the building was renamed the Cairo Hotel and became a center of D.C. society, with its ballroom frequently the center of social and political gatherings. Its guests and tenants have included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Edison, and other powerful political figures. The Cairo was also the home of ladies of the night who made their living entertaining members of the U.S.Congress.

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