Early-Day Hotels
Houses of Entertainment in the Capital City
Many West of Rock Creek
Congressmen and Court Officials Had Rooms There
Boarding Houses Numerous
Conditions in Washington Prior to year 1825 - Noted People of the Day

By James Croggon, The Evening Star, May 29, 1910 [pt. 4, p. 1]

In the early days prior to 1825 Washington was largely dependent on Georgetown for the accommodation of Congress, government officials and visitors to the seat of government. The hotels and boarding houses of Washington were filled during the sessions of Congress, but numbers of members and others found accommodations in the hotels and boarding houses of Georgetown. There were in 1820 about six or seven hotels, large for that day, and a dozen or two congressional boarding houses furnishing accommodations for members and about two dozen other boarding houses generally known as mechanics' boarding places. In Georgetown the old Union Hotel, known as Peck's and Beale's Hotel and some boarding houses were well patronized, and in the town were the homes of numbers of government officials and of officers of the army and navy. Among the business firms there were Riggs & Peabody, W.W. Cochran & Co., John Peabody & Co. and Darius Clagett.

West of Rock Creek lived Senators Rufus King and Martin Van Buren of New York and Representatives S.S. Edwards of Maryland, Louis McLane of Delaware, C.F. Mercer of Virginia, H.R. Warfield and John Nelson of Maryland, and S. Van Rensselaer of New York. Also resided there Judges James S. Morsell of the Circuit Court, Daniel Bussard, coroner, Gen. Alexander McComb, afterward commanding general; Maj. Isaac Roberdeau of the Engineer Corps, Lieut. Samuel Cooper, afterward adjutant general of the United States and Confederate armies; Jeremiah Williams, Brook Williams, S.P. Webster, T.G. Slye, B.C. Matthews, Thomas Mustin, afterward fifth auditor of the Treasury, L. Mackall, B.F. Mackall, John McDaniels, Francis Lowndes, John Laub, Alexander Kirk, E. Jones, J.M. Hepburn, S. Hanson, Col. William B. Randolph, R. Green, J.S. Collins, R.M. Boyer, W.T. Boyd, J.L. Anthony, John Abbott and T.B. Addison, with other government clerks.

Early-Day Hotels
The hotels of Washington consisted William O'Neal's Franklin House, afterward kept by John Gadsby, who in 1826 took the management of the National. This was patronized by a number of Tennesseans, including Gen. Eaton, who married the celebrated Peggy O'Neal, then widow. At the corner of 15th and G streets was Wolfe's French Hotel, who was succeeded by Johnson.

What was known as the Washington Hotel, on Pennsylvania avenue east of 15th street, still standing, was originally Lovell's Hotel, who was followed by McCleod, Joshua Tenneson, Sanford, John Coburn, Fuller and Hand. A house of entertainment on the site of the present Metropolitan Hotel during the war of 1812 was conducted by Col. John Keowin of North Carolina, and here were given a number of dinners to the heroes of that war. John Davis followed and remained until 1820, when he went to the Exchange Hotel on C street between 4 and 6th streets. It was opened by Jesse Brown prior to the session of 1820. During the congressional sessions Senators Barbour of Virginia, J. Stokes of North Carolina and W. Taylor of Indiana, Representatives W.L. Ball of Virginia, P.B. Barbour of Virginia, Speaker Thomas Bailey of Maryland, James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, afterward President; E. Litchfield, R. McCarthy and M. Pitcher of New York, J. Scott of Missouri, Alexander Stevenson and J. Stephenson of Virginia, and D. Trimble of Kentucky were patrons.

Opening the National
The National was opened in 1826 by Gadsby, as stated above. On Capitol Hill, the principal house was Congress hall, which became Queen's Hotel. Here stopped N. Barber of Connecticut, George Cassidy of New York, E. Herrick of Maine, E. Hooks of North Carolina, T.H. Bubbard of New York, R.C. Mallory of Vermont, T.J. Rogers of Pennsylvania, P. Reed of Maryland, N. Epham of New Hampshire and others. Strother's Hotel was at the corner of 14th street and Pennsylvania avenue, which during this decade was conducted by Basil Williamson and Blanch Barnard. At the corner of 12th street and Pennsylvania was David Appler's Tavern, afterward known as the Fountain Inn, conducted by Johnson and subsequently the Irving and Kirkwood House occupied the present site of the Raleigh.

Few members then occupied private residences. Mr. Calhoun had resided at what is now 618 E street northwest, but later sold his house to Senator Barbour, and afterward was guest at various hotels, and in the 1830's at Letourne's, opposite the National.

Henry Clay in the 1820's resided on the south side of F street near the corner of 15th street, in the house occupied afterward by the Count deNeuville. Attorney General Wirt was on the south side of G street between 17th and 18th. Mr. Adams, Secretary of State, had moved from C street east of 4 street to his own property, now known as the Adams building, on F street, opposite the Ebbitt House. Mr. Crawford, Secretary of the Treasury, was on the northwest corner of Massachusetts avenue and 14th street.

Postmaster R. J. Meigs made his home with the Rev. Obadiah Brown, who was afterward chief clerk of the Post Office Department. John McLean, who resided on C street near 4 street, was then commissioner of the land office, and afterward Postmaster General and judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. Senator Brown of Louisiana resided then on the northeast corner of 14th street and Pennsylvania avenue over the old Harrison drug store, then conducted by Nathan Jewett. The National Intelligencer's editors, Joseph Gales and W.W. Seaton, resided, respectively, at the northwest corner of 9th and E streets and on E street opposite the Post Office Department.

Homes of Foreign Ministers
Few foreign ministers had private houses. The British minister, Sir Stratford Canning, occupied the house known of late years as the Cleveland Abbe house on I street between 20th and 21st streets, which had been in the occupancy of President Monroe when he was Secretary of State. Count de Menou occupied the Decatur house, near the northwest corner of Lafayette Square. Baron Stackelberg, charge d'affaires of Sweden, was on the north side of H street between 18 and 19th streets.

Col. Joseph Anderson, first controller of the United States Treasury, was on the west side of 7th street between E and F streets. Col. Richard Cutts was on the southeast corner of Madison place and H street, in the house known afterward as the Dolley Madison Home. The auditors of the Treasury were all in the first ward - Richard Harrison at the northwest corner of 19th and I streets, Peter Hagner on the west side of 18the street south of the avenue, William Lee in the Seven Buildings, Constant Freeman on the northwest corner of 21st and F streets, and Stevens Pleasonton on the west side of 21st street south of F street, the house of the latter still standing.