Robert H. Muir: Manager of The Cairo

There were a couple of requests a short while back to do a post on The Cairo, the most famous residential building in the city. You can Google it or check it out on Wikipedia, so no need to do the building’s history. I want to dig up the more anonymous stories of people associated with the building.

So, here’s one that I came across about a guy named Robert Muir. He was the Cairo Hotel’s manager back in the 1910s, about a little over 15 years into its existence.

The Cairo advertisement (1915)
The Cairo advertisement (1915)

Robert was a very regular man, being a hotel manager (I’m not using that pejoratively, it’s just a bit of a challenge finding anything of substance on him in the newspapers).

He was born in New York on November 27th, 1873, a first generation American with parents from Scotland. In 1906, he married his wife Marie. He was 32 years old and she was 41 … a significant age difference. By 1910, he shows up in the U.S. Census, living at 1664 Columbia Rd. NW (the building is still there).

1664 Columbia Rd. NW
1664 Columbia Rd. NW

In September of 1917, a year and two months before the end of World War I, he registered for the draft. At the age of 43 — advanced for a potential draftee — he was listed as having moderate height, medium build, brown eyes and brown hair. He was living at 2518 17th St NW (this building is also still there). with his wife Marie.

Robert H. Muir's World War I Draft Registration Card (Ancestry.com)
Robert H. Muir’s World War I Draft Registration Card (Ancestry.com)
2518 17th St. NW
2518 17th St. NW

Sadly, in July of 1927 Marie passed away in her residence. She was 62 years old and poor Robert was now a widower. They must have been Catholics because the memorial was help at St. Aloysius’ Church at Gonzaga. Also, I came across Mrs. Muir in the police brief from May 3rd, 1916, stating that her rosary of blue stones (valued at $25) was stolen from her home on 17th St. NW.

Robert lived alone at 2518 17th St. NW, Unit 1, for four more years until he died on Thursday, November 5th, 1931. His memorial was held at St. Paul’s Church at 15th and V St. NW and he was buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery next to Marie.

The Cairo advertisement (1917)
The Cairo advertisement (1917)

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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