2504 Commonwealth Avenue

2504 Commonwealth beautifully preserved and retaining its classic foursquare configuration. The ornate balustrades are possibly not original.

The story of 2504 Commonwealth actually begins a continent away, in April 1862 in Hanover, Germany, with the birth of Ernest Meyer. He trained as a baker and emigrated to the US at 17, settling in Washington, DC. There he married Marylander Anna Rothstein, herself the daughter of German immigrants, in February 1884. In July she gave birth to daughter Anna, In February 1909 Anna married Tennessean James Titcomb, a machinist and that December she gave birth to daughter Elizabeth. The three generations, Ernest and Anna Meyer, and James, Anna and Elizabeth Titcomb, set up housekeeping in a house on Guiney Street in DC. They were joined in October 1915 by the birth of son James Jr.

In the meantime the house at what would become 2504 Commonwealth was sold from the company to Shelton Groves, son of company founder James, in 1917 and he, in turn, sold it to his sister Christine the following year. It appears to have served as a rental property all that time.

In 1918 Christine sold the house to the Titcombs and by January 1920 it would have been full, with not only the four Titcombs and two Meyers, but also Herman Rothstein, Anna's father. Tragedy struck in March 1922 when Anna Titcomb came down with pneumonia and died after a 12-day struggle, aged only 37.

With Anna's death widower James sold the house to her parents and moved to DC, leaving, strangely, the two children with their grandparents. The household, two Meyers, two Titcombs and a Rothstein, filled the house through the 1920s. Ernest died in February 1929 of kidney failure at age 67. Anna's turn came in November 1932 when she succumbed at the hospital to peritonitis and appendicitis at age 71.

By Anna's will, written a year earlier, she left her house to her granddaughter Elizabeth, who had recently married Milton Miller, a pressman. In March 1933 Elizabeth gave birth to Joann Ernestine and in January 1940 to Milton C. The Miller family stayed in the house until September 1944, when they sold it to Doris and Edna Riley. That closed the books on 26 years and a remarkable four generations of Meyer/Titcomb/Miller family.