Lewis Giles, Sr., (1894-1974) was an important and influential Washington architect beginning in the early 1920s.
Giles was born in Virginia and moved to Washington with his parents Lewis and Hattie Giles. The family lived at 1200 Linden Place, NE. His father was a police officer. Giles graduated from Armstrong Technical High School in 1908 and studied architecture at the University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign, before leaving to serve in the U.S. Army in World War I (1914-1917). After the war he returned to Washington to work with Isaiah Hatton. In 1921 Giles opened an office at 1200 U Street, NW, and worked there until 1929, when he relocated the office to the house he designed for himself in the Colonial Revival/Craftsman style in Deanwood. Starting in 1957 he also had an office in the Deanwood Professional Building, designed by his son, Lewis Giles, Jr.
The elder Giles designed houses in all quadrants of the city, including Sterling Brown's house, 1222 Kearney St., NE, in Brookland. He also designed a number of small apartment buildings and churches, including Rock Creek Baptist Church, 4201 Eighth St., NW, and New Mt. Olive Baptist Church, 58th and Grant streets, NE. Giles worked often with other local architects and builders, and numerous houses can still be seen throughout Deanwood that were built according to the plan Giles developed for his own house.
Ruth Ann Overbeck, “Deanwood,” in Kathryn S. Smith, ed., Washington at Home: An Illustrated History of Neighborhoods in the Nation's Capital (Northridge, CA: Windsor Press, 1988), 155.
Dreck Spurlock Wilson, “Lewis Wentworth Giles, Sr.” in Wilson ed., Biographical Dictionary of African American Architects, 1865-1945 (New York: Routledge Press, 2004), 170-172.
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