DAR Constitution Hall
DAR Constitution Hall
|Location||1776 D St., NW., Washington, D.C.|
|Architect||John Russell Pope|
|Architectural style||Classical Revival|
|NRHP Reference #||85002724|
|Added to NRHP||September 16, 1985|
|Designated NHL||September 16, 1985|
DAR Constitution Hall is a concert hall in Washington, D.C. It was built in 1929 by the Daughters of the American Revolution to house its annual convention when membership delegations outgrew Memorial Continental Hall. Later, the two buildings were connected by a third structure housing the DAR Museum, administrative offices, and genealogical library. DAR Constitution Hall is still owned and operated by the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.
The hall was designed by architect John Russell Pope and is located at 1776 D St. NW, just east of the Department of the Interior, between the American Red Cross and the Organization of American States, across from the Ellipse in front of the White House. The hall seats 3,702 people, with 2,208 in the tiers and 1,234 on the orchestra level. Additionally, 52 boxes (containing 5 seats each) separate the orchestra from the tiers, including one Presidential box.
The Hall is a Neoclassical style structure, with an Alabama limestone exterior. It houses the largest auditorium in Washington. This auditorium is unusual with its U-shaped balcony, necessary to provide the enormous amount of seating required by the program while retaining practical sight distances. The auditorium is provided with a three-manual Skinner pipe organ.
The Hall is used for concerts, school commencements, conferences, corporate meetings, televised events and other performances. The Hall hosted the premiere of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. It was the location where Eddie Murphy Delirious was filmed in 1983 and Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat was filmed in 2002. Chris Rock's HBO special and album Never Scared were recorded there in 2004. Whitney Houston performed her Classic Whitney concert there in 1997. Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune have both been filmed at the Hall. Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group have been held there in 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008. Robin Williams taped his 2009 Weapons of Self Destruction special at the hall.
From 1930 until the opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1971, Constitution Hall was home to the National Symphony Orchestra and the city's principal venue for touring classical music soloists and orchestras. Some of the earliest mainstream country music concerts were also held there, organized by Connie B. Gay. Sold-out film lectures of the National Geographic Society were presented in the hall for many decades, three evenings a week until about 1990 when they were moved instead to the National Geographic theater near 16th and M Streets, N.W. The free Air Force Band Sunday concerts, featuring famous guest artists, are popular, as is the band's special Christmas gala show.
In 1939 African-American singer Marian Anderson was denied the opportunity to sing at the Hall. First lady Eleanor Roosevelt protested and resigned her membership in the D.A.R. The organization would later reverse its racial exclusion policy and Anderson performed at Constitution Hall for an American Red Cross war relief benefit in 1943; in 1964, she chose it as the first venue of her farewell concert tour.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- "Constitution Hall". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
- Somerville, Mollie (January 8, 1985). "National Register of Historic Places Invenotry Nomination: Constitution Hall". National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-05-11.
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