Bill Lebovich, former National Park Service historian, architectural historian and photographer, and former adjunct college faculty member, gives weekday and weekend tours of Lafayette Square, Embassy Row, Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill, Georgetown, historic downtown and museums, and custom tours.
To schedule a tour, get additional information, reviews, or ask questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (301) 467-2831.
Designed by Jules Henri deSibour, one of Washington,DC’s finest architects of the early 20th century, 1785 was home to Andrew Mellon when he was Secretary of Treasury. It is believed he occupied the entire top floor. The British Art Dealer Lord Duveen rented the floor below and displayed his art collection. He invited Mellon to view it and the approach worked. Mellon bought the collection, which became the basis of National Gallery of Art.
The building was the headquarters of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. As the Trust was selling the building, the Trust hired me to photograph the building for the HABS Collection at the Library of Congress. I took more than 200 4 x5 black and white archival processed negatives and an archival print of each negative.
The American Enterprise Institute bought the building, joining Brookings, John Hopkins,and Carnegie Institute as some of the think tanks along this section of Massachusetts Ave., between 17th and 18th Streets.
The first photo (black and white) is from April 2014. The second photo is from November 2016.
The current building for the Willard Hotel, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave.,N.W., 2 blocks east of the White House, dates from 1901 and it was designed by the prominent NYC architect,Henry Hardenbergh. But earlier,more modest versions of the hotel date to the early 19th century.
With its mansard roof, formal lobby,and grand corridor (“Peacock Alley”) running nearly a block to a secondary entrance on F St.,the hotel evokes Parisian architecture and planning.
On another major avenue, Connecticut Ave, in 1925, the Mayflower Hotel was built, and while its lacks French architectural detailing, it also has a grand promenade running from its lobby to a rear entrance. This hotel also has a formal lobby and is an entire block in depth. (It differs from the Willard in that the rear section of the Mayflower was originally apartments.)
The Mayflower was designed by the same architects who were responsible for New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, Warren & Wetmore.
Other surviving hotels (seen in next posting),built only a few years later, do not occupy entire blocks and, therefore, lack the promenades that define the interiors and to a large degree, how these two hotels are perceived by guests and visitors.
First three photos:Willard last two photos:Mayflower (c)Bill Lebovich,2016
One American architectural tradition that continues since the early 20th century Beaux Arts glory days is building powerful libraries,often with great interiors, by prominent architects.McKim,Mead and White’s Boston Public Library with addition by Philip Johnson; Mies van der Rohe’s firm in Washington,DC; Rem Koohlaas in Seattle; Thomas Beeby did the Harold Washington Library in Chicago;Carrere and Hasting’s 42nd Street Library in New York City; and Carnegie Library in Washington,DC by Ackerman and Ross. Andrew Carnegie was a benefactor for the last two libraries,along with numerous small town libraries throughout the US.
(c)Bill Lebovich,all rights reserved,2014
Adjacent to Union Station, also by Burnham,the Post Office and its neighbor form two blocks of powerfully monumental Beaux Arts Buildings of the early 20th century. 1st photo:Post Office, now National Postal Museum (part of Smithsonian); 2nd photo: Union Station
(c)Bill Lebovich,all rights reserved,2014
The firm might be best known for its NYC subway stations, but its Cathedrals in NY and Washington,DC as well the Metropolitan Club near the White House are worthwhile examples of their late 19th century Beaux Arts and H.H. Richardson,for whom they worked, architecture. The photo of St. John the Divine shows the front of the church,which was designed by Cram,who replaced Heins and Lafarge after they completed the chancel end and crossing of the church. Washington’s Cathedral of St. Matthew The Apostle ‘s is very much in the Richardsonian style. The funeral for JFK was held at this church. (3 photos of St. Matthew The Apostle, 1 photo of Metropolitan Club, and 1 photo of Cathedral of St. John the Divine)
(c)Bill Lebovich,all rights reserved,2014t