For more than a century the True Reformer Building has graced U Street with its eclectic fusion of classical revival and Romanesque architecture. Designed by John A. Lankford, the first African-American to be registered as an architect in Washington, D.C., it was one of the first buildings that was conceived, designed, financed, built, and owned by the African-American community after Reconstruction. The first owners, the United Order of True Reformers, financed and insured fledgling African-American businesses.
The numerous civic and cultural institutions that resided in the Building throughout the years supported local African-American community development and fostered a thriving commercial and cultural center. The Building also provided a venue for events, celebrations, and concerts, including Duke Ellington’s very first paid performance. In recognition of its importance, the Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.
The Public Welfare Foundation purchased the building in 1999 and began revitalizing it in 2000, taking special care to preserve the building’s character.
Stout & Teague is honored to be selected by the Public Welfare Foundation to manage this historic and iconic building.