|Thomas Franklin Schneider was born in 1859 to the
family of a German printer, who emigrated to Washington, D.C. in 1830.
He graduated from high school in D.C. at the age of 16, and went to work at
one of the better known architectural firms in Washington (Cluss and
Schultze). After eight years with them, he opened his own office. He was only 27 years
old when Seymour Tullock asked him to design the resort
hotel at Forest Glen. However, he had already completed a number of architectural projects,
including Washington's Cairo Hotel, and some row houses on Q Street.
In addition to designing The Forest Inn, he played another important part in the history of the site: he introduced the Cassedys to the project at Forest Glen. He met them in 1891 through his new wife, Mary Osborne Beach, when they all happened to be on board a steamship traveling from Norfolk to Washington. One of the things they talked about was the hotel and the beauty of Forest Glen in which it was situated. Later, he corresponded with the Cassedys and when the business venture at the hotel failed, he alerted them that the property was available.
Schneider eventually designed about 2000 houses in the Washington area. One of the most important was his own residence "Schneider House," a magnificent mansion of 50 rooms at 18th and Q Streets, N.W. This mansion was built in the Romanesque style, and featured a ballroom with a 20 foot ceiling, an orchestra balcony and an elaborate fireplace and inglenook. The Schneider family moved out of this house when it proved a financial burden, and moved into the Cairo Hotel, which Schneider owned.
Schneider also developed a number of the finest apartment buildings in D.C., including the Rochambeau, the Stoneleigh Court, and the Ethelhurst. Another of Schneider's accomplishments was a wing of "Henderson's Castle" at Florida and 16th, N.W. Ironically, this location was also where there was a steep hill that caused trouble for another of Schneider's ventures -- Washington's first bus company.
This page was last maintained on 05/21/98.