A great new map put out by the DC Historic Preservation Office can tell you exactly when your house was built (sort of).
Go to this site and use the map to find your house (or whatever house you’re interested in) and click it. A box will pop up telling you information about the property. Typically this includes the date the original building permit was issued and to whom. For some properties it has the original resident or its purpose.
This is fantastic information, especially because on most DC records, if a house was built before 1900, it simply lists 1900 as the year of construction. You see that a lot in real estate listings. This should improve upon that.
But here’s where the “sort of” comes in. The box lists a “construction” date, which appears to always be the same year as the permit was issued. This may be correct in a lot of cases, but not always. For instance, the original builder of GM’s house, D. Haggerty, was issued a permit on April 15, 1895. In fact half the homes on GM’s block were covered by that same permit. But contemporaneous survey maps indicate that as of at least 1903, one home hadn’t been built yet. So keep in mind that the date of permit issuance is not necessarily the date the home was built. Referring to real estate maps can help verify. But this is a quick way to get a fairly good idea of when a home was built.