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Historic Hotels of America National Trust For Historic Preservation

History

A Legendary Name Among Downtown Washington DC Historic Hotels

In 1864, two leading Washington DC families built their homes just off fashionable Massachusetts Avenue, near Mount Vernon Square. Little did they know that almost 150 years later, these homes would form the heart of the historic Morrison-Clark Inn.  Pay a visit to our downtown Washington hotel and discover a fascinating link between the District's sleepy Southern past and cosmopolitan present. As a DC hotel  listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this restored 19th-century mansion retains much of the elegant charm of the original houses -- including lofty medallioned ceilings, Italian Carrera decorative-marble fireplaces, and an exquisite, red-tiled Shanghai roof.

  • David L. Morrison was a developer who made his fortune selling flour and feed to the U. S. Government during the Civil War.
  • Reuben B. Clark became wealthy through land investments, owning a grocery store, and serving as Washington, DC's jail commissioner.
  • The Women's Army and Navy League bought the Morrison home in 1923 and converted it into an inexpensive place for America's enlisted men to stay while in Washington, D.C.
  • First Ladies traditionally presided over the military club, hosting teas and fund-raisers to maintain its operations.
  • Grace Coolidge headed the receiving line when the facility first opened in 1923, and Mamie Eisenhower and Jacqueline Kennedy were also active in the organization.
  • In 1943, at the peak of World War II, the efforts of these women provided beds for more than 45,000 visitors and served nearly 85,000 meals.
  • The property was known as the Soldiers', Sailors', Marines', and Airmen's Club after 1954.
  • During its 57-year history, the facility grew to include the Clark home, underwent name changes to accommodate airmen, and in 1972, expanded its mission to serve female members of the armed forces.
  • In 1987, renovations were completed, and the Morrison-Clark Hotel opened its doors.
  • William Adair, who supervised renovations of the White House, oversaw the Inn's restoration -- preserving the historic exterior and many of the interior details of the building, including four pier mirrors and Italian Carrara marble fireplaces.