Whitelaw Hotel

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Whitelaw Hotel
Whitelaw Hotel.jpg
Whitelaw Hotel is located in Washington, D.C.
Whitelaw Hotel
Location 1839 13th St. NW
Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°54′54″N 77°1′48″W / 38.91500°N 77.03000°W / 38.91500; -77.03000Coordinates: 38°54′54″N 77°1′48″W / 38.91500°N 77.03000°W / 38.91500; -77.03000
Built 1919
Architect Isaiah T. Hatton
Architectural style Renaissance Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 93000595[1]
Added to NRHP July 14, 1993

The Whitelaw Hotel is an historic structure located in the Shaw neighborhood of the Northwest quadrant of Washington, D.C. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.


The Whitelaw was built as an upscale apartment hotel in the Italian Renaissance Revival style for $158,000 in 1919.[2] The building was designed by architect Isaiah T. Hatton, who was one of the nation's first African American architects. It was named for the mother of its builder John Whitelaw Lewis.[3] It was completely financed and built by African American entrepreneurs, investors, designers, and craftsmen as a place of meeting and public accommodation for prominent African Americans during segregation. [4] Entertainers, such as Cab Calloway, who performed on U Street stayed at the Whitelaw as well as other African Americans who came to Washington for meetings of national black organizations and could not stay in the city’s other hotels. Its large public spaces allowed the Whitelaw to become an important social center.

The end of legal Segregation in the United States and the rise in drugs in the neighborhood led to the decline of the Whitelaw. It was closed by the city in 1977 and was slated for demolition. Manna, Inc bought the building in 1991 and used historic tax credits to renovate it into low- and moderate-income housing.[2] It re-opened in 1992.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b "Whitelaw Hotel, Washington, DC". National Park Service. Retrieved 2011-11-21. 
  3. ^ "Whitelaw Hotel, African American Heritage Trail". Cultural Tourism DC. Retrieved 2011-11-21. 
  4. ^ "Whitelaw Hotel". DC Preservation. Retrieved 2011-11-21.