1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Grand Opening: March 25, 1965
The history of the Washington Hilton is as much steeped in the events leading up to its opening and its unique site preparation and construction as has been its infamous and glorious procession of events through the decades. After three years of construction and $30 million, the Washington Hilton opened for business in March 1965. When it opened it was the city’s largest hotel. The site on which the hotel was built had historical significance even before the city was planned. A huge oak tree on the site, which finally succumbed to old age and disease in the early 1950s, was designed as a Native American “treaty tree” by the chief of the Anacostia tribe. There were many legends surrounding it.
The Washington Hilton is located on Connecticut Avenue, the Park Avenue of Washington, on one of the hills to the north of the low lying central portion of the Nation’s Capital known as Temple Heights. Frank Lloyd Wright had designed a multi-faceted high-rise building complex for this site in 1939, but the proposal was denied. When Hilton Hotels Corporation grew interested in the site for a new and startlingly innovative resort hotel/meetings complex, they enlisted the help of hotel design guru William T. Taber, an established hotel designer that understood the efficiencies of hotel design from every aspect. Having established himself by creating the then cutting edge hotel design concept being put forward by the Statler chain, soon to be acquired by Hilton, he was clearly ahead of the time in putting forward thinking hotel architecture, design efficiency into action.