Archive for the Hotels Category

Lost Washington: The Raleigh Hotel

Posted in Hotels, Lost Washington, Penn Quarter with tags , , , , on July 17, 2009 by Kent

Raleigh Hotel ca. 1915The Raleigh Hotel got its start in 1893 when the Shepherd Centennial Building on the northeast corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 12th Street, NW, was converted from commercial use into the hotel by Washington architect Leon E. Dessez.

The hotel expanded quickly. In 1897 three additional floors were added. In 1898 New York architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh designed a major addition in the center of 12th Street to the north of the original building. The building was enlarged by Hardenbergh again in 1905. By 1911, the original building was considered too dated and razed for Hardenbergh’s new, Beaux Arts, thirteen-story main hotel building facing Pennsylvania Avenue.
Raleigh Hotel at Night

The builder’s demand for height  caused Congress to change the height limit for Pennsylvania Avenue froom 130 feet to 160 feet in 1910.

The Raleigh was well know for good food, drink, and entertainment. It was equally regarded for the beauty of its architectural details, such as the decoration of the gold-and-white ballroom on the top floor.
Raleigh Hotel

It was a prosperous hotel, though it lost some of its business to the Mayflower Hotel when it opened. One of the factors that made the Raleigh such a success was its manager, Curt C. Schiffeler, who  managed to create a warm and informal atmosphere that pleased the guests. Schiffeler remained at the Raleigh until he retired in 1954. By then newer hotels were drawing patronage away. The Raleigh was razed ten years later in 1964.

More images after the jump Continue reading


The National Hotel, ca. 1922

Posted in Hotels, Lost Washington with tags on May 28, 2009 by Kent

National Hotel ca. 1922This is the first photograph I’ve come across of the old National Hotel that was originally located where the Newseum is now. You can find a brief history of the National Hotel at this earlier post.

Lost Washington: National Hotel

Posted in Hotels, Judiciary Square, Lost Washington on May 7, 2009 by Kent

national-hotelThe 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. Continue reading

Another Image of Tunnicliffs

Posted in Capitol Hill, Hotels, Lost Washington on March 20, 2009 by Kent

Here’s another image of Tunnicliffs, which appears to have been taken shortly before it was razed in 1931. I featured it some time ago in a Then and Now, which you can see here. tunnicliff-3(Historical Society of Washington, General Photograph Collection, Tunnicliff’s Tavern/Hotel on Ninth Street SE near Pennsylvania Avenue., #CHS 02387)

Lost Washington

Posted in Federal, Greek Revival, Hotels, Latrobe, Benjamin Henry (1764-1820), Lost Washington on March 19, 2009 by Kent

Built in 1820, the Saint Charles Hotel was located on the corner of Pennsylvania avenue and 3rd street, NW. Its most important feature was the main entrance, which was comprised of a series of three columns with lotus capitals and two pilasters and a cornice designed by Benjamin Latrobe. These had been removed from the Capitol after it was burned by the British and the building was the opening of the Ebbitt House, Riggs House, and Arlington Hotel, many prominent congressional patrons stopped staying at the Saint Charles, and it became chiefly a residence of Native Americans visiting Washington to negotiate treaties.

Around the turn of the century its name started to change frequently. It became the Capital Hotel, the Hotel Belvedere, and finally the New Capital Hotel which was its name when it was razed in 1926. (Image, Library of Congress, #npcc 33284)

The Occidental Hotel

Posted in Hotels, Lost Washington, Penn Quarter on March 1, 2009 by Kent

occidental Hotel facadeThe Occidental Hotel was built in 1903. Designed by Hill & Kendall, it was located next to the Willard at 1411 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. The hotel was an eight-story building combining elements of Beaux-Arts classicism, Renaissance Revival, and Second Empire styles.

The Occidental restaurant was opened next to the hotel by Gustav Buchhoz in 1906.

The Occidental was still standing, though empty and not long for the world, in December 1979. The Willard Office Building now occupies this site.

The image of the facade is ca. 1926. (LC, #npcc 27540)

The postcard below of the restaurant is from roughly the same period. It shows the walls filled with the autographed photographs of Washington’s movers and shakers that it was known for. The back of the card states the following: 3 room apartments $6.00, room with bath $3.00. We would rather serve lots of people at a small profit than a few people at a large profit.


Lost Washington: The Powhatan Hotel

Posted in Downtown, Hotels, Lost Washington on February 26, 2009 by Kent

Powhatan HotelDesigned by architect Frank Pierce Milburn, the Powhatan Hotel was built in 1911. It was located two blocks west of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue, located on 18th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and H Street. It, along with other hotels no longer in existence, was one of the better hotels in the city.

It had an excellent view of the city from its roof deck which appears to have been popular. By the time buildings grew up around it obscuring its views, the Powhatan was dated. Ultimately, it was razed in 1977.

More photographs of the Powhatan from the Library of Congress collection follow.

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