Mrs. Henderson's Legacy

Mrs. Henderson's Legacy (HMB15)

Location: Washington, DC 20009
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 55.135', W 77° 2.196'

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Roads to Diversity

— Adams Morgan Heritage Trail —

As you look up the hill, you can see Peter C. L'Enfant's 1791 plan for Washington ended up here in front of you at Boundary Avenue, now Florida Avenue. Back then, when people walked or rode in horse-drawn vehicles, it was hard to climb this steep ridge ridge. Once electric streetcars appeared in the 1880s, climbing hills was easier, so city dwellers began moving up this hill.

Beginning in 1887, Mary Foote Henderson, wife of Missouri Senator John B. Henderson, created a new community here for the wealthy and powerful. She purchased much of this area and built herself a castle-like mansion on this side of 16th Street. After she failed to persuade the U.S. Government to move the White House here, she did persuade it to set aside land for Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X Park). She hired noted architects to design a series of elaborate mansions. The French, Spanish, Mexican, Cuban and Polish embassies moved in, and a number of embassies remain today.

After Mrs. Henderson's death in 1931, her castle became apartments and later a noisy after-hours club. A sleepless neighbor, Washington Post publisher Eugene Meyer, bought the castle and eventually razed it, but left a momento: the brownstone walls of Beekman Place, ahead on the left.

Across the street is the Roosevelt, constructed in 1919 as a fine apartment-hotel. Its name honors President Theodore Roosevelt. Mrs. Henderson successfully fought to limit the building's height, so it wouldn't block views of the city from the park.
HM NumberHMB15
Marker Number1 of 18
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 1st, 2014 at 8:00pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 323438 N 4309750
Decimal Degrees38.91891667, -77.03660000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 55.135', W 77° 2.196'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 55' 8.10" N, 77° 2' 11.76" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2120 16th St NW, Washington DC 20009, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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