Washington’s Massachusetts Avenue, better known as Embassy Row, is now home to a multitude of ambassador’s residences, chanceries, and other edifices that serve D.C.’s diplomatic community.
It was another set of transplants, however, who established the area as the “it” neighborhood of Gilded Age D.C.: the nouveau-riche. We’ll introduce you to the families who decided to showcase their novel fortunes in the nation’s capital: members of the first ranks of mining, railroads, banking, publishing, politicians, and speculators in the 1880s and 90s.
Spendthrift offspring, the Great Depression, and other misfortune eventually drained the resources of many families. Only 50 years later, embassies, clubs, and other institutions were buying up their mansions for as little as 10 cents on a dollar.
Track the evolution of the neighborhood as you learn about: