From Swamp to Swank: A Walk Through Washington’s Gilded Age
Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
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Heurich House Museum; photo by Carol M. Highsmith (Library of Congress)
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Dupont Circle offers the perfect lens through which to trace Washington’s social and architectural emergence from the post-Civil War “Brown Decades”—alluding to the city’s many brownstone, brick, and terra-cotta facades. The appearance of marble and limestone heralded D.C.’s arrival into the French-inspired Beaux-Art glamour of the Gilded Age. Historian Stephen T. Moskey examines a neighborhood that encompassed a rarified world filled with opulent mansions, at-home musicales, lavish dinner parties, ladies’ teas, private clubs, and fleets of servants—all enjoyed by members of the city’s highly codified elite society.
Begin at the 1894 Heurich House with a brief overview of Washington’s growth as a city and the Gilded Age’s evolution of tastes and styles, as well as a tour of the mansion (dubbed the Brewmaster’s Castle), which offers an example of the architecture and interior design of the 19th century. A short walk through the neighborhood provides views of grand homes including the Blaine-Westinghouse Mansion, the Alice Roosevelt Longworth House, Walsh-McLean Mansion, and the Townsend Mansion (Cosmos Club).
Moskey then co-leads a tour of 1905 Anderson House, the splendid residence of Larz and Isabel Anderson (now headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati) that exemplifies the Beaux-Arts architecture of the early 20th century. Step into the rooms that were the backdrop for the Andersons’ dinner parties and entertainments, which drew members of Washington’s social, diplomatic, and governmental circles to one of Dupont Circle’s most elegant mansions
Moskey is the author of Larz and Isabel Anderson: Wealth and Celebrity in the Gilded Age (iUniverse).
This tour is 3 hours long.
Tour meets at Heurich House
1307 New Hampshire Ave NW
Metro: Dupont Circle