Lost Washington: National Hotel
The National Hotel was located on the northeast corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 6th Street, NW. The use of the site for accommodations dates to 1816, when Roger C. Weightman built a range of six brick Federal houses, known as Weightman’s Row, on Pennsylvania Ave. Weightman agreed to sell his row of homes in 1826 for the establishment of the 200 room National Hotel to John Gadsby. Gadsby also purchased the Decatur House for his residence.
Upon Gadsby’s death in 1844, the hotel was sold to the Calvert family. In that year, the hotel was greatly enlarged and rebuilt to four full stories in an interpretation of the Federal style. By 1857, the hotel had been enlarged again by the addition of two stories, surmounted by a shallow masonry pediment and lantern in the Greek Revival Style.
The hotel was still considered fashionable into the early twentieth century, but a serious fire in 1921 caused it hardship from which it never recovered. By 1929, the city government purchased it for eventual demolition. It was then used in turn as the District of Columbia Armory and the headquarters of the city’s Selective Service System. Deemed a fire hazard, it was finally razed in early 1942.