Blodgett’s Hotel: Lost “Hotel” in Today’s Penn Quarter

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Print shows view from street of Blodget's Hotel with stagecoach parked in front and a person walking on the sidewalk on the left, later (from 1802 to 1836) the U.S. Patent Office.
Print shows view from street of Blodget’s Hotel with stagecoach parked in front and a person walking on the sidewalk on the left, later (from 1802 to 1836) the U.S. Patent Office.

Source: Library of Congress

Above is an image of Blodgett’s Hotel. One might infer that a building named Blodgett’s Hotel would in fact be a hotel, but that would be an incorrect assumption.

The building was around from 1793 to 1836 taking its name from Samuel Blodgett who was a wealthy merchant involved in East India commerce. The building above was his brainchild, part of a plan to raise money for public buildings in D.C. through a lottery. First prize in the lottery was this building which was valued at $50,000. Ultimately, the plan fell apart and Mr. Blodgett ended up losing everything, finding himself in debtor’s prison.

In 1800 the United States Theater moved into the building and became the first theater company in the city. A decade later, the U.S. Post Office and Patent Office began to occupy the building. It also served as the temporary site for Congress when the British burned the city in 1814.

Sadly, a fire destroyed the building in 1836. It stood on the same site as the U.S. Post Office, which would eventually become Hotel Monaco.

Blodgett's Hotel rendered as it looked in 1810
Blodgett’s Hotel rendered as it looked in 1810

Source: Virtual Architecture Archaeology

Oh, by the way, as we were doing a little research on this, we came across an awesome site called Virtual Architecture Archaeology, done by Stephen Hansen, a local architectural historian and principal at DC Historic Designs, LLC. They do some really cool work. And, you really need to check that site out.

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • ET

    Based on some things that I have seen these might be some of his papers but they don’t look to be related to DC in any way.
    http://lccn.loc.gov/mm77013045

    I think a real interesting story is what his heirs (one who was named Lorin Blodgett) got up to. Seems Blodgett owned a sizable tract of what was know as the Jamaica tract (possibly later LeDroit) and there seemed to be some legal activity surrounding it many years after his death. I would write more but it was a bit legalese for me.

  • Cat Lover

    His portrait is hanging in the Portrait Galary in Washington DC. Samuel Blodgett is a direct decendant of the Tomas and Susan Blodgat who arrived in Boston and settled in Cambridge in 1635. They had two sons, Samual and Thomas. I am a decendant of Samual Blodgett, one of Tomas’s sons who arrived in America in 1635. It is a shame that this hotel burned down but I am glad to know that it existed.

  • WonderBoy2

    I’m also a direct 13th generation and descendant of Thomas & Susan Blodgett [Blogget}. A brief history here: http://gloversmith.blogspot.com/2013/09/leaves-branches-and-replanted-roots.html