[Photo via Streets of Washington]
Some of the city's oldest hotels not only have a long history of storied visitors and impressive tales, but they've shaped the city's landscape for decades and perhaps centuries. However, for every Hay-Adams, Willard Continental and Morrison-Clark, there's a hotel like the the Raleigh Hotel or the St. James Hotel that's either been converted and or destroyed entirely. These names and others are all but lost to history, but after the jump, you can go on a tour of the ghosts of D.C. hotels past. If you know of anything that we missed, do send a tip.
The building on Pennsylvania Avenue across from the Old Post Office that became the Raleigh Hotel in 1894 had a history as an inn and as a smaller hotel throughout the 1800s. Andrew Johnson even stayed there in its life as the Kirkwood House before becoming a president. The hotel was popular among Washingtonians in the 1920s and had a renaissance as a performance venue in the 1930s. However, after a series of ownership changes in the 1950s it was eventually demolished in 1964.
The Windsor Park Hotel actually still exists, but it's much smaller than it was in the second half of the 20th century. In 1950, this massive brick structure was built with the idea of being a half-hotel, half-apartment building. Still, it ended up becoming a 300-room hotel as it annexed existing neighboring buildings. In 1973, China bought the building and used it as offices and apartments for its diplomats. The original building was finally demolished about two years ago.
The Franklin Square Hotel, which had previously been the Cochran Hotel stood at 14th and K Street NW, where the Tower Building now resides. As the Cochran, it opened in 1891, an expensive hotel with a building pricetag of $160,000. However, in the 1920s, the building, now the Franklin Square Hotel was sued by its architect for not having been fully paid and its landlord for not having paid rent. It was demolished shortly after in 1928.
The St. James Hotel was conveniently located just to the right of the train station that stood at the edge of the National Mall in the early 1900s at Sixth and Pennsylvania Avenue. Originally Bunker's Hotel when it opened in 1834, it became the St. James in 1871 and was renovated in 1887. The hotel, never claiming to be fancy, closed in 1927 and it eventually became Constitution Avenue.
· The Magnificent Raleigh Hotel [Streets of Washington]
· The Old Windsor Park Hotel Comes Down [Streets of Washington]
· The Franklin Square Hotel [Streets of Washington]
· The St. James Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue [Streets of Washington]