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Art On Call, Washington, DC

Restoring Washington's abandoned police and fire call boxes as neighborhood artistic icons

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Harry Wardman

Harry Wardman

The name Harry Wardman (1872 - 1938) is practically synonymous with Woodley Park, having built numerous houses and apartments in the neighborhood. Wardman built his own home on the corner of Connecticut Avenue and Woodley Road in 1909. He later constructed an imposing 1,200-room hotel nearby, dubbed “Warman's Folly” by some for what was considered its remote location.

In 1929 Wardman tore down his mansion to erect in its place the Wardman Tower residential hotel, which is still standing. Designed by noted architect Mihran Mesrobian, Wardman tower is said to have been home to more U.S. presidents, vice presidents and cabinet members than any other commercial residence in Washington. Other notable residents included actress Marlele Dietrich and Washington's “Hostess with the mostes”, Perl Mesta.

Wardman Tower was also home to embassies, and from its television studios the original broadcasts of “Meet the Press” starting in 1947, and broadcasts of the “Today” show's Washington new bureau and the “Arthur Murray Dance Program.”

By the time Harry Wardman died in 1938, 80,000 Washingtonians — on tenth of the population — lived in homes that were among the 400 apartment buildings and 5,000 houses built by Wardman.

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Posted By: Ray Gurganus

  1. Email: Ray Gurganus, personal photograph;

Updated: 7-9-2020