Adams Morgan in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Mrs. Henderson's Legacy
Roads to Diversity
—Adams Morgan Heritage Trail —
Beginning in 1887, Mary Foote Henderson, wife of Missouri Senator John B. Henderson, created a new community here for the wealthy and powerful. She purchased much of this area and built herself a castle-like mansion on this side of 16th Street. After she failed to persuade the U.S. Government to move the White House here, she did persuade it to set aside land for Meridian Hill Park (also known as Malcolm X Park). She hired noted architects to design a series of elaborate mansions. The French, Spanish, Mexican, Cuban and Polish embassies moved in, and a number of embassies remain today.
After Mrs. Henderson’s death in 1931, her castle became apartments and later a noisy after-hours club. A sleepless neighbor, Washington Post publisher Eugene Meyer, bought the
Across the street is the Roosevelt, constructed in 1919 as a fine apartment-hotel. Its name honors President Theodore Roosevelt. Mrs. Henderson successfully fought to limit the building’s height, so it wouldn’t block views of the city from the park.
Erected 2005 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 1.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Adams Morgan Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 38° 55.135′ N, 77° 2.196′ W. Marker is in Adams Morgan, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 16th Street, NW and Florida Avenue, NW, on the right when traveling south on 16th Street, NW. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: 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. James Buchanan (within shouting distance of this marker); A Gathering Place for Washingtonians (within shouting distance of this marker); Meridian Hill Park (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Prestige Address (about 500 feet away); Buchanan (about 600 feet away); Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park Calvin T.S. Brent Residence (about 700 feet away); Saint Augustine Roman Catholic Church (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Adams Morgan.
Regarding Mrs. Henderson's Legacy. [Picture caption, upper left]:
Henderson Castle, flanked by the Meyer house, left, and Meridian Mansions (now the Envoy), right, around 1920.
[Picture caption, upper right set]:
Mary Foote Henderson, left, Missouri Senator John Brooks Henderson, above, who introduced the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes (1862-1946) of 2100 16th Street, one of Mrs. Henderson’s influential neighbors.
[Picture caption, middle right]:
The elegant public parlor of the Roosevelt, 1922.
[Picture caption, lower right]:
The beginnings of Beekman Place, which replaced Henderson Castle, 1976.
[Picture caption, lower left]:
Proposed Presidential Palace for Meridian Hill by Paul Pietz, 1900.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Adams Morgan Heritage Trail markers that have been entered in the Historical Marker
Also see . . .
1. Mary Foote Henderson. (Submitted on March 10, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Mary Henderson. "...it is Mary Henderson who lobbied Congress in support of the acquisition of the land and its development as a park." (Submitted on March 12, 2009.)
3. Adams Morgan Heritage Trail Map and Brochures. This self-guided walking tour the Adams Morgan Heritage Trail is the fifth in a series that invites you to discover what lies beyond the monuments: Washington’s historic neighborhoods. (Submitted on March 12, 2009.)
Additional keywords. Gilded Age.
Categories. • Notable Persons • Notable Places • Politics • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on March 15, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 8, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,848 times since then and 20 times this year. Last updated on March 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 8, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 4. submitted on March 10, 2009, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.