The Willard Hotel

With a history going back to 1816, The Willard Intercontinental Hotel, at the corner of 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, is one of the Nation’s Capital’s most storied buildings. The Hotel has added over 10 historic plaques to memorialize activities that took place at the Hotel.

With a history going back to 1816, The Willard Intercontinental Hotel, at the corner of 15th and Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, is one of the Nation’s Capital’s most storied buildings.

The original hotel was housed in a row-house built by Captain John Tayloe and leased to Joshua Tennyson as a hotel. In 1830, Henry Willard is hired to run the hotel. In 1847 the hotel is renovated and renamed the Willard City Hotel.

During the next 120 years the Willard welcomes many U.S. Presidents, including Lincoln who stayed there before being inaugurated in 1861 and moving to the Executive Mansion, and international delegations. Other guests include Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Dalai Lama.

One of the several plaques on the walls of the Willard Intercontinental Hotel, in Washington, DC
photo by Fiona Clem

In 1901 the building is torn down and rebuilt in the current Beaux-Arts style. However, the hotel closes in 1968 after declining revenue and the threat of tear-down by the Pennsylvania Avenue redevelopment plan.

After ten years it is decided that the Willard should not be torn down, and in 1977 the hotel is earmarked for preservation status. The newly renovated Willard reopened in 1986.

Outside the main entrance of the Willard Intercontinental Hotel are several plaques.

Julia Ward Howe, photo by FClem

This plaque, located on the front wall of the Willard Hotel, is in honor of Julia Ward Howe. It reads (in part):

.In Honor of Julia Ward Howe who wrote the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” here at the old Willard Hotel
November 21, 1961

“In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea /
with a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me.”

presented by the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic January 24, 1930.

Plaque memorializing the New Willard, Erected 1901.
The Peace Convention 1961
The Peace Convention , photo by FClem

The old Willard Hotel was the scene of the last major effort to restore the Union and prevent the Civil War at Virginia’s invitation. Delegates from twenty-one of the the then thirty-four states met in secret session from February 4 – 27, 1861. In a vain attempt to solve the differences between the north and the south. To honor those who worked for peace and unity. This memorial is erected by the Virginia Civil War Commission. February, 1961.

National Press Club Founding
Founding of the National Press Club, photo by FClem

At this site, at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in March 1908, The National Press Club, now located at 529 14th Street, was formed through the adoption of a Constitution and bylaws and the election of the Club’s first officers.

The National Press Club was founded to provide professional contact between news reporters. It has grown into one of the premier journalism organizations of the world with thousands of members and activities to promote freedom of the press.

Dedicated to the journalists who devote and risk their lives to edifying the public, exposing truth and defending free speech.

January 15, 201


Jean Monnet The Willard Hotel
Jean Monnet The Willard Hotel

Jean Monnet. Born in France, widely travelled, he died at the age of 90 near Paris, proud citizen of a united Europe he inspired and helped to create. Earlier, from his office in the Willard Hotel, he contributed greatly to America’s victory program for wartime production while a member of the British Mission in Washington during World War II. Erected in 1997 by the Jean Monnet Council

John J Pershing ROTC meeting
John J Pershing ROTC meeting

At this site on the 2nd of October 1922 General of the Armies John J. Pershing met with 140 World War I reserve officers and founded the “Reserve Officers Association of the United States.” At the meeting General Pershing said: “I consider this gathering perhaps one of the most important, from a military point of view, that has assembled in Washington or anywhere else within the confines of this country within my time.”

Army Reserve Brigadier General Henry J. Reilly was elected first national president and the Association’s mission was defined: “To support a military policy for the United States that will provide adequate national security and to promote the development and execution thereof.”

At this site on the 2nd of October 1922 General of the Armies John J. Pershing met with 140 World War I reserve officers and founded the “Reserve Officers Association of the United States.” At the meeting General Pershing said: “I consider this gathering perhaps one of the most important, from a military point of view, that has assembled in Washington or anywhere else within the confines of this country within my time.”

Dedicated to the reservists of the uniformed services of the United States on the 22 of October 1997. The 75 Anniversary of the Reserve Offices Association of the United States.

Danzanky plaque Willard Hotel

Joseph Baer Danzansky

1914 – 1979

“All my life I have had a love affair with the City of Washington”

Humanitarian…Businessman…Washingtonian

In a time of racial strife he brought reconciliation and mutual respect.
In the struggle between management and labor he worked for reason and moderation.
In a marketplace driven by self-interest, he served the public interest.

Erected by the Joseph B. Danzansky Commemoration Committee, 1991

Paul S. Forbes, Chairman

Black History Month, DC Memorials

A celebration of Black History Month in DC with by learning about a few statues and memorials dedicated to famous African-Americans.

Carter G. Woodson Memorial

Carter G Woodson Memorial Park
Carter G Woodson Memorial Park is a located at the corner of 9th and Rhode Island Avenue NW, a couple of blocks from his home at 1538 9th Street NW

The Carter G. Woodson Memorial located at 9th Street and Rhode Island Avenue, NW, is one of the newest memorials in the Nation’s Capital. It was dedicated in 2016.

Carter Goodwin Woodson is called the “father of black history.” He began celebrating “Negro History Week” in February 1926, which became Black History Month in 1970. Woodson’s home in Washington, D.C., located at 1538 9th is a National Historic Site and is managed by the National Park Service.

Cardozo African American Civil War Memorial

The African American Civil War Memorial
The African American Civil War Memorial located at U Street and Vermont Avenue, NW, was dedicated in July of 1998

Located at the corner of U Street and Vermont Avenue, NW, at the 9th Street exit from the Metro, the memorial statue was dedicated in 1988 in honor of the more than 200,000 members of the United States Colored Troops. Learn more about the statue and the African American Civil Ware Memorial Museum

Frederick Douglass Statue

Frederick Douglass Statue, Emancipation Hall, U.S. Capitol
The Frederick Douglass Statue located in Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

All 50 States are allowed two statues in the U.S. Capitol, but the District of Columbia was only allowed one. Frederick Douglass was born a slave in February 1818 in Maryland but escaped slavery by escaping to New York. He moved to Washington, D.C., in 1871, and died on February 20, 1895 at his home, #CedarHill, in Anacostia, Washington, D.C. The statue of Douglass was placed in the U.S. Capitol’s Emancipation Hall in 2012. The sculptor was Steven Weitzman.

Benjamin Banneker Memorial Park

Benjamin Banneker Park is located at the end of 10th Street SW and overlooks the Wharf development.

Located at the end of L’Enfant Boulevard in Southwest DC the National park is dedicated to Benjamin Banneker, who helped Pierre L’Enfant and Andrew Ellicott map out the city of Washington. The park was constructed in 1970.

Mary McLeod Bethune

Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial in Lincoln Park, NE, Washington, D.C.

Mary McLeod Bethune was one of the most important and accomplished women of her time. She was the founder of the National Council of Negro Women, served in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration, and founded a boarding school which eventually became the Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, Florida. Her house, in Washington, D.C., is a National Historic Site.

This memorial to Mary McLeod Bethune is located in Lincoln Park and was the first memorial to an African-American woman in the Nation’s capital.