Exterior view: The Willard InterContinental Washington


Exterior view: The Willard InterContinental Washington


The Willard InterContinental Washington has a long and storied history, dating back to 1816 when a row of two-story houses was first built on the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and transformed into a hotel. In 1901, Joseph E. Willard built a Beaux-Arts “sky-scraper” at that site, soaring 160 feet high. He hired the architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who was already well-known for designing New York’s Waldorf- Astoria Hotel.

American presidents have stayed and dined at the Willard, and Martin Luther King Jr’s famous I Have a Dream speech was penned there days before the march on Washington.

After a period of steep economic and urban decline in 1960s Washington, D.C., the building was in a terrible state of disrepair. The hotel was officially closed in 1968, and was slated for demolition, but in early 1974, the National Trust for Historic Preservation stepped in. On June 12, 1978, ownership of the Willard passed to the U.S. Government through the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation (PADC), which had been formed to clean up the neighborhood.

In 1986, the hotel reopened as the Willard InterContinental Washington.


Hardenbergh, H. J. (Henry Janeway), 1847-1918
Gemma, Pat


Prince, Neal
Lee, Sarah Tomerlin




Inter-Continental Hotels and Resorts
Willard Intercontinental (Hotel)
Hotels--Washington (D.C.)
Historic hotels
Hardenbergh, H. J. (Henry Janeway), 1847-1918
George A. Fuller Company


Neal A. Prince Special Collection & Archives, New York School of Interior Design, New York, NY, United States


Washington, D.C.


DC_Wilard_The Completed Project 001.jpg


Hardenbergh, H. J. (Henry Janeway), 1847-1918 and Gemma, Pat, “Exterior view: The Willard InterContinental Washington,” Designing the Luxury Hotel: Neal Prince and the Inter-Continental Brand, accessed June 5, 2023, https://nealprince.omeka.net/items/show/87.