Mrs. Henderson's Favorite Embassy
— Adams Morgan Heritage Trail —
You are standing in front
of the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania.
The Spanish Baroque style mansion is all that remains of what was once a duplex, or double, embassy building designed by George Oakley Totten for Mary Foote Henderson's exclusive embassy enclave here. The mansion was constructed in 1907-08. The left-hand portion was demolished and replaced in 1965 by a nine-story apartment house. Fortunately the original two pieces were constructed to be independent, so the removal of the left side did not imperil the right.
The building surfaces are carved limestone. As he did in the dozen other buildings he designed as embassies for Henderson, architect Totten looked to Europe for design ideas. The tower, carvings, and upper stories supported by arcades take after the Palacio de Monterrey, built in the 1500s in Salamanca, Spain. Totten and Henderson were responsible for 12 grand mansions designed for foreign legations on or near Meridian Hill. The Embassy of Lithuania is one of nine that remain.
In 1908 the Danish ambassador rented the building from Henderson, shortly after the Swedish embassy took up residence next door. The ambassador stayed until 1912. Until Lithuanian Envoy Kazys Bizaukas purchased the house from Henderson in 1924, a series of foreign and domestic diplomats rented the elegant structure, giving parties that defined Washington's early 20th-century diplomatic scene.
Upon Henderson's death in 1931, her heirs discovered that after receiving $5,000, Henderson had refused any further payments from the Lithuanian government. The delegation occupied the residence for free until her heirs completed the delayed sales transaction.
In 2004 the embassy doubled the building's size with a rear addition for offices and conference space.
Marker produced by the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in cooperation
with District Department of Transportation and Cultural Tourism, DC.