Washington’s Massachusetts Avenue, better known as Embassy Row, is now home to a multitude of ambassador’s residences, chanceries, and other edifices that serve D.C.’s diplomatic community.
It was another set of transplants, however, who established the area as the “it” neighborhood of Gilded Age D.C.: the nouveau-riche. We’ll introduce you to the families who decided to showcase their novel fortunes in the nation’s capital: members of the first ranks of mining, railroads, banking, publishing, politicians, and speculators in the 1880s and 90s.
Spendthrift offspring, the Great Depression, and other misfortune eventually drained the resources of many families. Only 50 years later, embassies, clubs, and other institutions were buying up their mansions for as little as 10 cents on a dollar.
Track the evolution of the neighborhood as you learn about:
- Beaux-Arts architecture, the area’s dominant style;
- Luxury micro-apartments carved out of the former home of a countess-turned-newspaper-editor;
- The high life of the last private owner of the Hope Diamond, Evalyn Walsh McLean, and her spirited (and controversial) chum, Alice Roosevelt Longworth;
- The country’s oldest patriotic organization (and home to one of the first diplomats to live on Massachusetts Ave);
- A traffic circle that serves as a virtual time capsule, showcasing preserved turn-of-the-century buildings;
- The benefits—and challenges—of having embassies as neighbors.
Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.
April 4 - November 28, 2020
(except September 19, 2020)
$20 per person (kids 3 and younger free). $5 discount with U.S. military or federal government ID. Pay the walk fee in cash or with a credit card when you arrive.