The bureaucratic sands of time ran out yesterday for the old Alexander Shepherd house, a brick dwelling at 1125 10th St. NW that a citizen group wanted to preserve as a historic landmark.

A wrecking crew showed up yesterday and demolished the structure, once the home of "Boss" Shepherd, territorial governor of the District of Columbia in the U.S. Grant administration and acknowledged father of modern Washington, with its paved, tree-lined streets and granite curbs.

Because the D.C. Joint Committee on Landmarks had, for a variety of reasons, been unable to hold hearings on the structure's preservation, the restraints against demolition of the dwelling by its owners, Morris Katz and his family, expired. Robert Moore, D.C. housing director and historic preservation officer, authorized a demolition permit, according to Edward J. Black of the Logan Circle Citizens Association, who voiced frustration at the action.

Although people involved in the matter could not be reached for comment yesterday, members of the landmarks panel and both citizen and business groups have voiced dismay that Mayor Marion Barry has failed to appoint enough members to the landmarks unit to fill vacancies and permit it to assemble quorums for hearings and meetings. Past scheduled hearings on the Shepherd house have been repeatedly canceled for lack of a quorum. The latest hearing had been scheduled for July 14.