Day 68

Kalorama / Dupont Circle (December 6, 2019)

Today we walked through Kalorama, neighborhood of embassies and stately residences.

We particularly liked this villa that looked as if it would be more at home in the French countryside than in an inner suburb or Washington DC.

Kalorama was also home to Woodrow Wilson, the 28th president of the United States.

Woodrow Wilson House

Wilson bought the house in the last months of his second term and died there on February 3, 1924. The house now operates as a museum.

Speaking of presidents, we also walked by the Washington Hilton, site of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley, Jr. on March 30, 1981. The hotel, designed by William Tabler, was built in 1965. It is currently well known as the location of the annual White House Correspondents Association dinners.

We stopped for lunch at Dupont Circle’s Bistro du Coin which has been serving classic French bistro food to the neighborhood since the turn of the century.

This place caught our eye, with its purple door and windows. It was originally built in 1902 as an art studio for the artist Edward Lind Morse. If you look at the large hinges on the front door, you can make out the monogram ELM. The house was converted into a residence in 1910 and was at one stage owned by James Roosevelt, the eldest son of Franklin and Eleanor, who lived next door.

Along Massachusetts Avenue are statues of a number of famous revolutionaries (Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, and Ataturk, among others). This one is of Robert Emmet (1778-1803), the Irish Republican, nationalist and rebel leader. After leading an abortive rebellion against British rule, Emmet was captured, tried and executed in 1803. The statue, by Jerome Connor, is said to serve as a tribute to how American democracy inspired the Irish independence movement.

Among the embassies and large residences is a grey stone cottage, that is home of Washington DC’s Quaker community. The cottage was designed and built in 1931 to accommodate the then President, Herbert Hoover, who worshiped there with his wife during his presidency.

Walking along Embassy Row on Massachusetts Avenue we passed the embassy of the Land of the Rising Sun (Japan) as the sun sank behind it.

Further up, we also passed the Turkish embassy. It was built in 1999 and was designed by Shalom Baranes Associates, reflecting aspects of Turkish vernacular architecture.

Finally, we walked by the Islamic Center of Washington. The mosque and cultural center, designed by Italian architect, Mario Rossi, were completed in 1954 and dedicated by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1957. At the time it was the largest mosque in the Western Hemisphere.

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