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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Adams Morgan in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Embassy of the Republic of Poland

A Beaux-Arts Beauty

 

— Adams Morgan Heritage Trail —

 
Embassy of the Republic of Poland Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
1. Embassy of the Republic of Poland Marker
Inscription.  You are now standing in front of the longest-serving embassy building among Washington DC's more than 180 diplomatic missions: the Embassy of the Republic of Poland. Renowned architect George Oakley Totten designed the building for Mary Foote Henderson, who invested a considerable portion of her husband Senator John Henderson's fortune to make this part of 16th Street the most magnificent avenue in the Nation's Capital — and an embassy enclave. The building remains a superb example of early 20th-century Beaux-Arts design.

Completed in 1910, the white limestone structure features double-hung windows interspersed among balconies and porches in a fine blend of 17th and 18-century French and English styles.

The Hendersons built a two-story addition housing the Great Ballroom in 1912. Soon after the United States and Poland established diplomatic relations on April 16, 1919, the government of Poland purchased the building. The Polish Legation officially opened in 1920.

Since then, little has changed structurally except for modifications to the southwestern corner porches. In the 1960s a fence was added,
Embassy of the Republic of Poland Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
2. Embassy of the Republic of Poland Marker
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and the open-air balconies were sealed.

Much of the English Renaissance style interior looks as it did a century ago, evoking an Old World ambiance. The second-floor conference and reception rooms showcase veined marble fireplaces, glazed columns, semi-circular Tuscan arches, and mirrored panels. The embassy is open to the public during special events. (For more information please visit the embassy's website.)

A life-sized bronze statue of world-renowned pianist and statesman Ignacy Jan Paderewski stands to the building's left.

This historic marker was erected in 2011 to commemorate the centennial of the embassy building and the 90th anniversary of the establishment of Polish-U.S. diplomatic relations.
 
Erected 2011 by The Embassy of Poland, the District Department of Transportation & Cultural Tourism DC.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureGovernment & Politics. In addition, it is included in the Adams Morgan Heritage Trail series list. A significant historical month for this entry is April 1815.
 
Location. 38° 55.478′ N, 77° 2.197′ W. Marker is in Adams Morgan in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of 16th Street Northwest and Fuller Street Northwest, on the right when traveling south
Balconies 1926 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
3. Balconies 1926
An old photograph from 1926 shows open balconies at right. They were sealed off in the 1960s.
Close-up of photo on marker
on 16th Street Northwest. Marker is in front of the Embassy of Poland. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2640 16th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20009, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Solidarność (here, next to this marker); Polish-U.S. Diplomatic Relations (here, next to this marker); José Martí (within shouting distance of this marker); Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lithuania's March to Freedom (about 300 feet away); Las Bicicletas (about 400 feet away); Ambassadors of Faith (about 400 feet away); Social Justice (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Adams Morgan.
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
 
Exquisite Interiors image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
4. Exquisite Interiors
The exquisite interiors have changed little since they were photographed in 1911.
Close-up of photo on marker
The Small Salon's Fountain image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
5. The Small Salon's Fountain
Close-up of photo on marker
Staircase image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
6. Staircase
Bird's eye view of the embassy staircase from the top floor.
Close-up of photo on marker
Crown Molding image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
7. Crown Molding
The intricate details and elaborate crown molding of the salons.
Close-up of photo on marker
The Blue Salon image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
8. The Blue Salon
Paintings by Polish artists Jacek Malczewski, far left corner, and Julian Fałat, right, enliven the Blue Salon.
Floorplan image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress
9. Floorplan
George Oakley Totten's Floorplan of 2640 16th Street for Senator and Mrs. Henderson.
Embassy of the Republic of Poland<br>2640 16th Street image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
10. Embassy of the Republic of Poland
2640 16th Street
Embassy of the Republic of Poland<br>2640 16th Street image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
11. Embassy of the Republic of Poland
2640 16th Street
Ignacy Jan Paderewski image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
12. Ignacy Jan Paderewski
This 2004 statue of Paderewski by Jessie Corsaut is hard to see from the street behind a vine covered fence.
Embassy of The Republic of Poland<br>Ambsada Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 19, 2015
13. Embassy of The Republic of Poland
Ambsada Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 6, 2020. It was originally submitted on April 21, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 426 times since then and 8 times this year. Last updated on May 17, 2015, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. submitted on April 21, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 19, 2021