Celebrate 125! Monday: The First Congress and The Vision

Written by: Lynn Young, President General
October 26, 2015

The First Continental Congress was held February 22, 23 and 24 1892, at the Church of Our Father at the corner of 13th and L Streets in Washington, D.C. In 1930 this church became the Universalist National Memorial Church; the original structure was razed in 1973 and an office building now sits on the site. The history of the church mentions that in 1892 the first Continental Congress of the Daughters of the Revolution met there.

During that Congress, a photograph of those attending was taken by Matthew Brady.   Caroline Scott Harrison, the first President General and wife of President Benjamin Harrison, was seated in the center of the first row. Joining her was three of the Four NSDAR Founders— Eugenia Washington beside Mrs. Harrison and Mary Lockwood and Mary Desha in the second row. This picture has been reproduced in A Century of Service: The Story of the DAR by immediate past Historian General Ann Arnold Hunter (2010–2013) and My Father was a Soldier, compiled by Tracy E. Robinson and Rebecca C. Baird in the Office of the Historian General.

The vision of those attending the First Continental Congress may be seen in the description of what they called their “House Beautiful.”  Their view of what the building should be matches the edifice which now stands at 1776 D Street. “This house should be builded (sic) upon a hill that all may see and know it. It should be located in or near the beautiful Capital City named for Washington, the immortal. The fairest marbles from Vermont and Tennessee, the most enduring granite from Massachusettss (sic) and the Virginias should combine for strength and beauty in its construction. Purely American should the structure be; every fluted column, every gorgeous capital should owe its loveliness to the hand of an American artist. A great hall for lectures, addresses and general conventions of the Society is greatly needed.  It could be utilized for music and oratory on many occasions—frequently enough to produce a certain income for its support … There should be a library unsurpassed in all branches pertinent to the records of the Society and containing the largest, most complete and most reliable collection of works upon American history …”

One only needs to visit our National Headquarters to see that the vision of those founders of our National Society has been fulfilled.

This is an A Look Back article that was featured in the July/August 2013 Daughters Newsletter. Subscribe to the magazine here: www.dar.org/subscribe

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