International Temple

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Perry Belmont House
Belmont Mansion (Washington, D.C.).JPG
International Temple is located in Washington, D.C.
International Temple
Location 1618 New Hampshire Avenue, Northwest Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°54′44″N 77°2′30″W / 38.91222°N 77.04167°W / 38.91222; -77.04167Coordinates: 38°54′44″N 77°2′30″W / 38.91222°N 77.04167°W / 38.91222; -77.04167
Built 1909
Architect Ernest Sanson
Horace Trumbauer
Architectural style Beaux-Arts
Governing body Order of the Eastern Star
Part of Dupont Circle Historic District (#78003056)
NRHP Reference # 73002074[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP May 8, 1973
Designated CP July 21, 1978[2]

The International Temple, formerly the Perry Belmont House, is the world headquarters of the General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, one of several organizations affiliated with Freemasonry. The building is located at 1618 New Hampshire Avenue, Northwest in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. The International Temple was added to the National Register of Historic Places on May 8, 1973.

History[edit]

The building, Beaux-Arts in style, was built from 1906 to 1909 for Perry Belmont, son of August Belmont and grandson of Matthew C. Perry. The trapezoidal plot of land was purchased for $90,000, and construction cost $1.5 million.[3] Perry Belmont served as a United States Congressman from New York, and later as the United States' ambassador to Spain. French architect Ernest Sanson designed the building, having built several chateaux in Europe; his associate architect on the site was Horace Trumbauer.[4]

Northeast corner of the International Temple

The house takes the form of a free-standing pavilion in the French taste, with a single storey articulated with slender Ionic pilasters over a channel-rusticated basement. A balustrade with stone urns masks a discreet Mansard attic storey. In the interiors Sanson used wrought-iron fixtures from France, wood from Germany, and marble from Italy. Normally the house was used for only the winter months, when Belmont hosted lavish parties for Washington's elite.

In 1919, Edward, Prince of Wales, was a guest of the Belmonts (at President Woodrow Wilson's request); there he handed out medals to various American soldiers whom Great Britain wished to honor for their roles in World War I.[5][6][7][8]

The Belmonts continued to use the building until 1925. In 1925 the Belmonts decided to place the house for sale. Himself a Freemason, Perry Belmont sold the building to General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star for $100,000, on the condition that the Right Worthy Grand Secretary would live in the building.[5]

On May 8, 1973, the Belmont House was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The building was designated a contributing property to the Dupont Circle Historic District in 1978.[2] The 2009 property value of the Belmont House is $7,475,100.[9]

Current usage[edit]

The building serves as the headquarters for General Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star. The Right Worthy Grand Secretary and his/her spouse live on the premises. Tours are usually for members only. Items from the Belmont era of the mansion, as well as items sent to the International Temple as gifts from chapters around the world are on display. In one room five ceiling paintings depict the five heroines of the Order. There are 37 oil paintings and several Tiffany vases in the house. The Japanese fourfold teakwood screen was a gift from the Emperor of Japan to Perry Belmont.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ a b "District of Columbia - Inventory of Historic Sites". District of Columbia: Office of Planning. Government of the District of Columbia. 2004-09-01. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  3. ^ As the house was completed, Perry Belmont transferred to his brother August the Newport cottage "By-the-Sea", which he had occupied in the season for the previous eighteen years. (New York Times, "Belmont Home Transferred", October 16, 1909 on-line text).
  4. ^ Gerard Martin Moeller, G. Martin Moeller, Jr., and Francis D. Lethbridge, AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, D.C., 2006: cat. no. L30, p. 264f; Michael C. Kathrens, Eleanor Weller and Richard C. Marchand, American Splendor: The Residential Architecture of Horace Trumbauer p. 141.
  5. ^ a b GGC International Headquarters
  6. ^ Williams, Paul. Dupont Circle (Arcadia Publishing, 2000) pg.52,86
  7. ^ GGC Headquarters MWGP Suite
  8. ^ "Perry Belmont to Build; Will Have a Handsome Louis XVI Mansion in Washington". The New York Times. 1907-02-17. Retrieved 2008-06-06. 
  9. ^ "DC Citizen Atlas Real Property Reports". Government of the District of Columbia. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  10. ^ Order of the Eastern Star Headquarters; Treasure Room

External links[edit]