CBMSOP_151031_017
Existing comment:
The building at 437 - 441 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC

Clara Barton first moved into this building in June of 1861. She sublet her room from Edward Shaw, a friend and fellow government copyist, who rented the entire third floor from the landlord, Susan Ireland. Between 1853, when the building was erected, in 1865, the third floor consisted of six rooms. In 1865 an addition was added to the rear, which increase the capacity of the boardinghouse and allowed for a shared dining room, kitchen and indoor pretty.

The present-day layout of the third floor has the three rooms at the very front of the building (Room 7, Room 9 and Room 11) as one large space with the original dividing walls removed. A partition blocks off a small section of the north end of Room 11, which was likely Barton's private area. This large room was the location of the Missing Soldiers Office, the three rooms across the hall (Room 8, Room 10 and Room 12) retain their original sizes, but Room 10 has been recently modified to allow a secondary access to the rear addition.

A light well was incorporated between the original building and the 1865 addition to allow light into the interior rooms. Presently, there is a modern walkway across the light well connecting the original and 1865 sections. Two of the rooms in the addition have been recently modified. The north room is the location of a modern stairway. The original kitchen and the indoor privy area have been removed in order to install an elevator. However, the original pass-through cabinet between the kitchen and dining room has been retained.

"For eight years, beginning with the outbreak of the Civil War, she had lived in rooms on the third floor of the business block. The two flights of stairs and the unpretentiousness of the surroundings had not kept her friends away."
-- William Eleazer Barton, in the Life of Clara Barton, Founder of the American Red Cross, Vol. 1, 1922.

"... and next I was to leave everything else and fit up my little parlor with its cabinet of relics and my business... I must see people if I would get their interest and I must have a suitable place to see them in and where they wouldn't enter into the spirit of my enterprise."
-- Clara Barton diary, December 22, 1865
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