Celebrate 125! Monday: DAR Offices Prior to Headquarters

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
August 10, 2015

Three interconnected buildings constructed at various points during the 20th century make up the modern-day DAR Headquarters complex, which occupies an entire city block in Northwest Washington, D.C. But between the National Society’s founding in 1890 and the construction of Memorial Continental Hall in 1905, when the organization lacked a permanent home, the DAR held meetings and conducted business at a number of different capital city sites.

The establishment of a national society of women descended from Revolutionary ancestors can be traced to a meeting held August 9, 1890, with only three women in attendance. Ellen Hardin Walworth, Mary Desha and Eugenia Washington began planning the basic outline of the National Society that night at the Langham Hotel, where Mrs. Walworth lived. In 1927, District of Columbia Daughters placed a plaque outside the building to commemorate the site where the DAR was founded. The Langham Hotel has since been demolished.

Mary Virginia Ellet Cabell, who held the position of Vice President Presiding during the organization’s first two years, literally welcomed the National Society into her home at 1407 Massachusetts Avenue NW, which became the first official home of the NSDAR. Several eventful meetings occurred there, including the second organizational meeting of the National Board of Management on October 18, 1890, and a conference for national, state and chapter officers in October 1891.

From July 1891 through October 1893, the National Society rented office space in a building located at 1505 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. Among the business conducted there was a March 5, 1892, meeting called for the purpose of finalizing the organization of the National Board of Management, as evidenced by this notice dated February 26, 1892.

The Washington Loan and Trust Building at 902 F Street NW served as headquarters for the DAR from 1894 until 1905, when the National Society at last moved into Memorial Continental Hall. A lease dating to 1902 shows that monthly rent at the time was $181.50. The longest-running of the National Society’s temporary homes, the building was expanded in the 1920s and now houses a Courtyard Marriott hotel.

This is a Quasquicentennial Flashback article that was featured in the January/February 2015 American Spirit magazine. Subscribe here: www.dar.org/subscribe.  

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