Washington Hilton Honors Local D.C. History

Hotel Announces Names for New Meeting Center, Multipurpose Hall Showcasing Unique Stories of People & Places from City’s Past

This information originated in American English.

October 05, 2009

WASHINGTON -  In the heart of the Nation's Capital, Washington Hilton is paying tribute to the city's rich history by naming its new meeting and function spaces after places and people beyond the typical presidential, political and the business-as-usual names in Washington, D.C. The hotel is showcasing unique stories of the city's past, from the botanist who helped bring the famous Cherry Trees to the city, to the legend of why the District is missing a "J" street.

Embracing a local, authentic history is part of Washington Hilton's new culture as it continues its $140 million landmark restoration - where guests and locals can "Expect More" than just the usual experiences when visiting the storied property.

As part of the hotel's top-to-bottom restoration, Washington Hilton will unveil a new, dedicated meeting center in January 2010, named the Heights Executive Meeting Center. The all-new "Heights," comprised of nine state-of-the-art executive meeting rooms, honors the hotel's location within the historic Washington Heights area of the city, and is a reference to its "Temple Heights" location, a name given to the surrounding blocks of the neighborhood in 1930, when plans were brought forward to build a Masonic Temple on the parcel of land where the Hilton sits today. The plans for the Temple ultimately failed, but the neighborhood within the greater Washington Heights area is still called "Temple Heights" today. The Heights name is also a nod to the hotel's location atop one of the highest elevations in the city, and its expansive skyline views that can be enjoyed from the adjoining meeting center corridor, refreshment break area and outdoor networking courtyard.

By mid-2010, the hotel will debut an additional new space - an impressive 30,000 sq. ft. multi-purpose hall with a sophisticated system of highly-divisible airwalls, named Columbia Hall. Located on the Terrace Level, Columbia Hall is a tribute to the District itself, and is the poetic alternate way to say "America," which dates back to Christopher Columbus' discovery of America.

"In hospitality, it's our job to create memorable experiences for all who come through our front doors," says Washington Hilton General Manager Steve Cowan. "We want to pass along to our guests a more authentic Washington that we as locals have come to know."

Along the perimeter of Columbia Hall, there are seven superior Terrace Meeting Suites which also embrace new room names with a historical reference. Both the Terrace Meeting Suites and the rooms within the Heights Executive Meeting Center will be alphabetized for easy way finding, beginning with letter "A" through "G" on the Terrace Level, and continuing with "H" through "P" in the Heights Executive Meeting Center on the Lobby Level.

Terrace Meeting Suites:

Horace Albright, conservationist, co-founder and second director of the National Park Service. Rock Creek Park, situated just north of the hotel, was part of Albright's vision for the National Park Service and was inducted in 1933. Rock Creek Park is approximately 1754 acres, twice the size of Central Park in New York.

In the city's original design by architect Pierre L'Enfant, Florida Avenue was known as Boundary Street. As its name suggests, "Boundary Street" was the border between what was then Washington City and Washington County. Today, Florida Avenue is a bordering street of the hotel.

Francis Lewis Cardozo was the first African American to hold a statewide office in the United States when he was elected South Carolina's secretary of state in 1868. Later, Cardozo moved to Washington and worked for the Treasury Department. Today, public buildings in throughout the Washington Heights area still bear Cardozo's name, including Cardozo High School in Northwest Washington. Cardozo is also part of the diverse U Street Corridor near Washington Hilton.

Du Pont
Samuel Francis Du Pont, made significant contributions to the modernization of the U.S. Navy, served in the Mexican-American War and the Civil War. In 1882, 17 years after Du Pont's death, the U.S. Congress moved to recognize his service and commissioned a sculpture of him to be placed in Pacific Circle. The bronze statue was dedicated in 1884 and the circle was renamed Dupont Circle, which is located near the Washington Hilton. The Circle still bears his name, but the statue was moved to Wilmington Delaware.

More than 150 foreign embassies house their diplomats in homes surrounding Washington Hilton because it is one of Washington's preeminent residential neighborhoods.

Dr. David Fairchild, American botanist and plant explorer, was instrumental in bringing the cherry trees from Japan to Washington. In 1906, he brought back trees from a nursery in Japan and planted them on a hillside of his property in Chevy Chase. He then gave saplings tochildren from each District of Columbia school to plant in observance of Arbor Day. During his Arbor Day lecture, Dr. Fairchild expressed an appeal that the Tidal Basin be transformed into a "Field of Cherries."

Gunston Hall Building at 19th Street and Florida Avenue, bordering the hotel, once served as the location for a prestigious girls school coined "Gunston Hall" which had relocated there from Thomas Circle in 1906.

Heights Executive Meeting Center:

Anthony Holmead was one of the original proprietors of the District of Columbia and owner of a large portion of the Washington Heights tract in the early 1700s, and where the Hilton sits today.

In the U.S., Independence Day commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. One of the most enduring myths about Independence Day is that Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Most delegates actually signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776.

As legend goes, Washington, D.C. has no "J" Street because city designer Pierre L'Enfant bore a grudge against the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Jay.

Joel Barlow, poet ad diplomat bought an estate in the Washington Heights area of NW Washington D.C. and named it "Kalorama" which translates from Greek to mean "fine view."

Pierre L'Enfant, architect of the city of Washington, D.C.

Thomas P. Morgan, a Union Officer in the Civil War (1861-1865), was best known for his accomplishments as a Washington businessman and as a councilman and alderman of Washington, D.C. Morgan purchased the land that Washington Hilton sits on today.

Washington, D.C. is administratively divided into four geographical quadrants of unequal size, each delineated by their ordinal directions from the medallion located in the Crypt under the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building. Centered from the Capitol, street and number addresses radiate out into each of the quadrants, producing a number of intersections of identically named cross-streets in each quadrant. Originally, the District was a near-perfect square, but even then the Capitol was never located at the geographic center of the territory. As a result, the quadrants vary in size. The NW quadrant in which Washington Hilton is part of, is the largest of the four quadrants, nearly 1/3 of the city.

Oak Lawn
In 1873, Thomas P. Morgan purchased the 10-acre site bounded by what now consists of Connecticut Avenue, Columbia Road, 19th Street, and Florida Avenue, where Washington Hilton sits today. Morgan enlarged the 1820s Federal-style house previously erected on the site to a four-story Second Empire mansion. The high elevation of the lot allowed for a commanding view of the city from the house. Only a year after constructing Oak Lawn, Morgan sold the property to Edward C. Dean, president of the Potomac Terra Cotta Company. After the sale, the area was often referred to as "Dean's Tract."

The Piscataway Indian Tribe were among the earliest residents of what is today the District of Columbia.

Kristin Adderson, Washington Hilton
+1 202 797 5787

Frank Passanante, Washington Hilton
+1 202 797 5827

About Washington Hilton:
Situated on nearly six acres, Washington Hilton offers a contemporary urban retreat set on upper Connecticut Avenue near D.C.'s most sought-after neighborhoods, including Dupont Circle, Adams Morgan, U Street Corridor, Embassy Row and the National Zoo. The hotel boasts 1,070 guestrooms, on-site dining, lobby lounge, sports bar, business center, complete health club and outdoor seasonal pool. Washington Hilton has been the site of prestigious gatherings hosted by U.S. presidents, world leaders and other prominent figures since opening in 1965, with more than 110,000 square feet of event space, including one of the largest column-free ballrooms on the east coast - its legendary 36,000 square-foot International Ballroom complex. For more information, visit www.washington.hilton.com.

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