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Mary Newton Foote - Historical Marker

b.21 JUL 1846 — d.16 JUL 1931


Adams Morgan, Life on the Park

Adams Morgan, Life on the Park

During the Civil War (1861-1865), the Union Army Carver Hospital and barracks occupied Meridian Hill. The facilities attracted African American freedom seekers looking for protection and employment. By war’s end, a Black community had put down rooks. Soon Weyland Seminary opened to train African American clergy and teachers. In the late 1880s, Mary Foote Henderson purchased most of this land and evicted its residents. Many settled in today’s Reed-Cooke neighborhood to your left.

The building across Euclid Street once was painted pink and called the Pink Palace. Mrs. Henderson commissioned it as she began creating her elite enclave. It was designed by her favorite architect, George O. Totten, Jr. (you can see the Pink Palace in the cartoon on this sign). An early owner, Delia Field [Delia Macomber Spencer], widow of Chicago department store mogul Marshall Field, entertained the Prince of Wales here in 1919. Architect Totten lived at 2336 16th Street, later home of the Antioch Law School. Totten would design 11 grand houses, including the elegant 2460 16th, first occupied by the French Embassy. Mrs Henderson originally offered Totten’s 2801 16th Street to the U.S. government for a vice president’s residence. The government declined, so Spain took it for its embassy.

At left is Dorchester House, briefly the residence of John F. Kennedy and his sister Kathleen in 1941. Across 16th Street is Meridian Hill Hall, Howard University’s first co-ed dormitory. It opened in 1942 as apartments for women war workers at a time of severe housing shortages.

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Heritage Trails Historical Markers

Related county

DC, Washington

Related people

George Oakley Totten
Mary Newton Foote

Posted By: Ray Gurganus

  1. Email: Ray Gurganus, personal photograph;

Updated: 7-7-2020
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