We are delighted that ARCS MWC member Marie P. Carr will be leading a 30-minute tour of the iconic Willard Intercontinental Hotel on Friday, April 27 starting at 4:30 p.m. Not only will she share significant historical events that have taken place at the Willard, but also personal stories in this beautiful property. Marie and her late husband, Richard “Dick” Wallace Carr, co-authored the book The Willard Hotel: An Illustrated History. From its birth in 1816 to near destruction to a splendid rebirth in 1986, the book traces the hotel's history through prose and hundreds of historic photos, prints and etchings, photos of the actual restoration, plus 16 pages of exquisite color photographs.
The hotel’s place in American history is legendary. The first time a delegation of Japanese ambassadors visited the United States, in 1860, they stayed at the Willard. A year later delegates from 21 of the 34 American states met there in a last-ditch (and unsuccessful) attempt to prevent the Civil War. Later that same year, Julia Ward Howe penned the lyrics to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” while staying at the Willard. A century later, in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., edited his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech while staying there in advance of the March on Washington. During his term as President, Ulysses S. Grant would often relax in the Willard’s lobby, enjoying a whiskey and a cigar and would regularly be approached by those seeking favors. Legend has it that was the birth of the term “lobbying.”