By Juliet Martini
It’s not uncommon when planning a visit to Washington DC to focus on the usual tourist spots and haunts. I love all the touristy stuff, but I’m lucky Washington DC is my backyard. When friends and family visit, I’ve started to introduce them to the many ‘other’ historic gems this city has to offer. These places give you a deeper sense of history and a look into a city and its residents who shaped its heart. Planning a visit soon? Consider taking a tour off the “usual tourist path” to see a rare and hidden Washington DC:
Heurich House – The Brewmaster’s Castle
At the turn of the 20th century, Dupont Circle and its grand avenues quickly became the “place of wealth and fashion” inthe city. Bosses of industry and politics built numerous mansions to show off their wealth and prestige. Today, only a few of these homes still survive and one of the biggest and most beautiful is now the Heurich House Museum, the “Brewmaster’s Castle.”
Now a Landmark on the National Register of Historic Places, the house is an inspiring visit back to the late19th century, offering a glimpse into the late Victorian era. Built between 1892-1894 by German immigrant, local brewer, and philanthropist Christian Heurich, Heurich was Washington’s second largest landowner and the largest private employer in the nation’s Capital. As the world’s oldest brewer, he ran the Christian Heurich Brewing Company until his death at 102. The house, a technological marvel when built incorporated the most modern inventions of its day, and became the first fireproof house in the city. A masterpiece of old world craftsmanship, design and luxury, visitors can still view the original turn-of-the-century Heurich family’s personal possessions and furnishings.
Please visit these websites to learn more about the Heurich House: http://www.heurichhouse.org/
President Lincoln’s Cottage at the Soldier’s Home
Located on a picturesque hilltop in Washington, DC, President Lincoln’s Cottage is the mostsignificant historic site directly associated with Lincoln’s presidency aside from the White House. During the Civil War, President Lincoln and his family resided here from June to November of 1862, 1863, and 1864. It was during his time at the Cottage Lincoln worked on the Emancipation Proclamation and made many of the critical decisions that set the course of the Civil War. The Lincolns also used this retreat as a social venue, entertaining politicians, friends and even unexpected visitors. Today, this National Historic Landmark offers many options for a unique and memorable visit.
Please visit these websites to learn more about President’s Lincoln’s Cottage:
The Mansion on O Street
Sunday brunch that takes place in a living museum and antique shop? It’s possible if you visit or stay at the most unique boutique hotels in the city. The Mansion on O Street is a local landmark famous for it odd interior which includes hidden doors, secret passages and all its furnishing for sale. Designed in 1892 by Edward Clark, architect for the US Capitol, thebuilding served as a home for himself, his extended family, brother Champ Clark, Speaker of the House from 1911-1919, sister and a third brother, known only as “the artist.” Originally spanning three row houses, the residence was connected through the basement and main floor and contained separate sleeping quarters for each brother upstairs. As one of the last architects working on the U.S. Capitol between the 19th and 20th century, Clark incorporated left over tiles and wood from the Capitol into his new home that can still be found today. A testament to the fine craftsmanship, it’s believed to be the last, virtually intact, private residence of that period in Washington, D.C.
Today the property consists of five inter-connecting townhouses of more than 100 rooms varying in architectural, artistic and design periods, ranging from the Victorian Age to the Art Deco/Avant Garde. Visitors can marvel at the hand painted ceilings, original Tiffany stained glass windows, a two-story Log Cabin and the secluded Art Deco penthouse with its own private elevator. Now owned and operated by the O Street Museum Foundation, this living museum promotes and embraces life, from every culture, resulting in a wide-ranging collection of paintings, photographs, sculpture, books, artifacts, and music, from all over the globe. These works celebrate life, culture, all religions, science, education, and more.
Please visit these websites to learn more about The Mansion on O Street: http://dc.about.com/od/museums/tp/Dupont-Circle-Museums.htm
Hope you enjoyed the unusal tourist spots of our nation’s capitol. Please join me next week for another facet about Washington DC.
All images courtesy of Google images and the referenced websites.
Juliet Martini (aka Margaret Hren) is an aspiring contemporary and romantic suspense romance writer living in the Washington DC area. An active member of Romance Writers of America and Past President of its Maryland Chapter, she has previously published articles in a number of other newsletters and blogs. Now working towards the completion of her second novel, Juliet spends her free time traveling, writing and other creative pursuits while trying to find a way to meet her creative muse and the world’s perfect man Michael Fassbender.