Friday, March 30, 2012

Rest and Relaxation at the Willard

I know its been a while since the last post....The next letter does not come out until April 7th, so I have been lax in updating this post to fill in the gaps....

This past weekend, my lovely wife, daughters and son-in-law treated me to a weekend at the historic Willard Hotel in Washington DC.  For those of you who don't know the Willard, it has been witness to the political history of Washington as well as the nation.  The Willard is located at 1401 Pennsylvania Ave about 2 blocks from the White House and right next to the Treasury building.  It is a beautiful and stately building which takes you back to the splendors of the 19th century.  The current hotel was built in 1847 when Henry Willard combined six separate buildings (built starting in 1816) into a general overall structure.  The hotel has been improved over the years and the current structure was formalized in 1901.  For those who know their Civil War history, it was the place that Ulysses Grant stayed when he came to Washington with his son to accept command of the Army of the Potomac.  It has been the location preferred for political debate, military reunions and gentry use in years gone by.

Abraham Lincoln stayed in the Willard prior to his first inauguration in 1861and wrote his first inauguration address while he was there.  President Grant frequented the hotel during his 2 terms and spent time in the lobby of the hotel meeting with special interest representatives coining the term for these men...Lobbyists.

The MLK memorial in Washington DC.

Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his famous "I have a Dream" speech while staying in the hotel and prior to giving the speech in 1963.....

The table used by MLK to write his famous "I have a Dream Speech"

When we checked into the hotel last Saturday, the hotel manager struck up a friendly conversation with me and then to my surprise, upgraded us to the Martin Luther King, Jr. suite....the suite that he used to pen the famous speech.  What a room!  Besides the beauty of the suite itself, the sheer historic significance of the room and actual place where history was made....was awe inspiring.

The Willard has a small hotel museum inside that gives a small glimpse into the history of the hotel.

One of my favorite parts was a excerpt from Charles Dickens during his visit to America and Washington in 1824.  He was NOT a fan.  Dickens stayed at one of the many buildings that eventually evolved into the Willard of today...but in 1824....Willard it wasn't!

The weekend was a blast!....not withstanding the Occupy Wall Street crowd camped across the street....

Thanks to my beautiful wife and wonderful daughters....and son-in-law....

More pics...

Willard Lobby

Ceiling in the lobby of the Willard

Cherry blossoms and the Jefferson Memorial...1 day late.

'Nuff said....

Jim D.

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