An Imaginary Tour of Pennsylvania Avenue
Pennsylvania Avenue Willard Hotel
Right behind Freedom Plaza is the most famous hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, the Willard. It began in 1816 as a row of six houses between 14th and 15th Streets. By 1818, the corner house had become a hotel, which was leased to the Willard Brothers in 1847. It was expanded over the years and was completely reconstructed several times, but fell on hard times and was closed in 1968 and almost torn down. With backing from the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation, private developers restored it as a luxury hotel with office and retail space. The Willard Inter-Continental that you see on Pennsylvania Avenue opened in 1986.
The ornate Willard Inter-Continental Hotel, with its offices and commercial strip, is the latest version of the Willard Hotel, which can trace its roots to 1816. The hotel is on the north side of Freedom Plaza.