Here’s a great article opening. This was published on Saturday, December 24th, 1910 … Christmas Eve.
The biggest and most expensive Christmas gift that will be given in Washington this year is the palatial home in Sixteenth street, near the intersection of Columbia road, which Mrs. Franklin MacVeagh is building as a holiday gift to her husband, the Secretary of the Treasury.
Mrs. MacVeagh’s secret was jealously guarded for months. Only two persons were let into the secret of her purpose to give the house to her husband this Christmas–the architect, Nathan C. Wyeth, and Corcoran Thom, trust officer of the American Security and Trust Company, but the secret leaked out and the Christmas package was opened before the appointed day.
Okay, that’s a pretty sweet Christmas present. The present still stands today at 2829 16th St. NW, currently the home for the Mexican Cultural Institute.
Continuing through the article, it lists the total cost of construction at about $206,000 which would translate to about $5.5 million in today’s dollars. My gut tells me that would be a bargain looking at how amazing the building is.
The article continues:
The largest room of the house, apparently, is the dining room, 34 by 40 feet, also on the second floor. It is paneled in carved oak, and the ceiling is an ornamental one of classic design. The windows of the dining room overlook the city to the south. At the east end of the room there is a wide opening into the conservatory, which may be shut off by sliding doors of Kalamein iron. Classic columns stand at each side of the entrance to the conservatory.
I don’t know what Kalamein iron is, so in doing a little Googling, it appears that they’re fireproof doors. You learn something new every day!