From The Location, by Kim Bender. Contact her at thelocationblog[AT]gmail.com.
No discussion (or debate) about DC’s Height Act is complete without mention of T.F. Schneider’s Cairo Apartment Building on Q Street NW. The 1894 construction of the gorgeous building was the catalyst for the building height restrictions we know and love today. It is fortuitous for Schneider that the building caused such an impression.
He’s lucky that we remember him for this lovely building and for the fantastic tree-lined block of Q Street row-houses between 17th and 18th Streets that he built as a speculative venture for well-to-do families when the area began to thrive. Because we could remember T.F. for the chilly murders committed by his crazy brother Howard in 1892 on that same Q Street block or for Howard’s subsequent sensational trial and execution:
“It was at 8 o’clock on the evening of Sunday, January 31, 1892, that [Howard J.] Schneider shot his wife, Amanda Hamlink Schneider, and his brother-in-law, Frank Hamlink, almost in front of their father’s door, on  Q Street between Seventeenth and Eighteenth. Schneider was a young electrician when he met Amanda Hamlink, in the summer of 1891. He was of good family, not a bad-looking young fellow, who dressed well and drove fast horses. He made love to the young lady, became engaged to her, and one day in June when they were out driving he produced a marriage license and threatened to shoot himself unless she married him at once. Miss Hamlink yielded, and a minister in Hyattsville performed the ceremony.
“The marriage was kept a secret until fall, when the young woman’s father discovered it. Then there was a scene, the father suspecting at first that the marriage had been a fraud, and requiring Schneider to produce the certificate. After that Schneider went to the Hamlink house to live. His cruelties made the life of his wife an unhappy one. More than once he threatened to shoot her. Finally he began staying out late at night, and after due warning was locked out from the Hamlink house.”
To read the rest of the story and find out more on T.F. Schneider’s legacy go to The Location.