Historic Structures

Edward Everett House (Turkish Embassy), Washington DC

Date added: January 27, 2011 Categories: House

Edward H. Everett, a native of Cleveland, was a multimillionaire industrialist and philanthropist who was maintaining residences in Washington, D.C., Bennington, Vermont, and Switzerland at the time of his death. His obituary in The Evening Star, April 29, 1929 noted:
"Mr. Everett was known as a poineer in the glass industry in this country. In later years he acquired oil interests in Ohio and Texas. He was a former director of H. A. Hamilton & Co., and the Compair Corporation of Texas,..[He] was president of The Orchards Co. of Bennington and president of the E. H. Everett Co., which includes oil, gas and sand industries in the Middle West. At one time he was a large stockholder of the Anheuser Busch Co. of St. Louis."

Everett and his first wife Amy K. Everrtt (who is noted in the Deed-in-Trust recorded in Liber 3203, folio 382, January 27, 1909), purchased property on Sheridan Circle in 1909. Construction began at 1606 23rd Street in 1910. According to the daily reports of the building inspector filed with the building permits, piles were being driven for the foundation on August 5, 1910; and construction was 99% complete on June 4, 1915. After the house was finished, the tax assessment was $230,000 for improvements, and $50,800 for the ground. (General Tax Assessment Washington City 1917-1918) The original building permit estimated that the cost of the building would be $150,000.

The Sunday Star, September 9, 1956, gave a colorful impression of the building's interior, which has remained largely unchanged since its completion. The article mentions:
"The huge entrance hall of black and white marble;...the sweeping center staircase in the vast hallway;...the ballroom, with red velvet draperies and rich red and gold embroidered fabric above the dark paneling... the ornamental ceilings [which] enhance every room, and marble fireplaces carved in exquisite detail.

On the floor above the ballroom is a roof garden, tiled and latticed. . .Below the first [second] floor of the mansion is a swimming pool built by the Everetts, but for many years boarded over until discovered by the present Ambassador, Haydar Gork. Now they have reopened it and hope to repair it for future use.

An ideal building for an embassy - it is well suited for large scale entertaining. One party for 3,000 guests was described in columns of space by society reporters in the '30s. The food was lavish, the orchestra stayed until 3 a.m., and 'footmen in mulberry livery, with white silk stockings and pumps with silver buckles were everywhere.'"

City directories do not list Edward H. Everett or 1606 23rd Street until 1925. However, "Mr. Everett and his family moved into the palatial home at Sheridan Circle shortly before World War I. Mrs. [Amy K.] Everett died in 1917." (The Sunday Star, 9-9-56)

In 1919 Everett met Miss Grace Burnap at a tea arranged by Mrs. John B. Henderson. Miss Bur nap and Mr. Everett were married in 1920 "and from then until Mr. Everett's death in 1929, their home was the scene of many musical parties featuring...singers from the Metropolitan Opera." (The Sunday Star, 9-9-56)

Everett was survived by his wife, Grace, and five children: the Countess Turri of Florence, Italy; Mrs. L. A. Wing of Great Neck, Long Island, N.t.; Mrs. James K. Seldon of Andover, Mass.; and two minor children - Grace Everett and Sarah Everett. (The Evening Star, 4-29-29)

Grace Everett occupied the house until fall of 1932. Then the Turkish Embassy, previously located at 1708 Massachusetts Avenue, leased the property while they searched for a permanent Embassy.

The Turkish Republic purchased 1606 23rd Street in April 1936 Although the Star (9-9-56) wrote that Turkey paid "a reported $265,000," the deed indicated the value of the transaction was more - approximately $402,000. Turkey assumed two deeds-in-trust totaling $258,000. The $144 stamp tax levied on the transaction shows that an additional $144,000 was paid for the property. (The Internal Revenue Stamp Tax was imposed at the rate of $.50 per $500 and excluded assumed trusts.) The assessed value of the property in 1936 was $390,000 ($80,000 for the ground and $310,000 for improvements).

Overall dimensions: The three-story, plus-basement-and attic building has a two story ballroom wing at the south. From the sidewalk to the highest point of- the roof is 61'-0". The east elevation of the main structure which measures 91'-6" on 23rd Street, has a 26'-6" south bay, a 38'-6" colonnaded entrance bow, and a 26'-6" north bay. The composite bay northeast elevation on Sheridan Circle Is. 42'-0" and forms an acute angle with the building. At the northwest is a 15'- 0" party wall. A two bay (22'-3") section of the 90'-0" west wall breaks back 24'-6" to form the generally triangular northwest courtyard. Projecting from the 66'-3" south elevation is the 32'-0" wide southeast ballroom wing, its 39'-0" east elevation is recessed 2'-6" from the-main facade. The southwest, first floor conservatory measures one bay (13'-6") at the west and one bay (24'-0") at the south.

Floor plans: On axis with the 23rd Street entrance is the ground floor vestibule, the entrance hall, the stair hall and the stair (music alcove) landing. The entrance hall is separated from flanking antehalls by columnar screens. Beyond the north antehall is the game room (Ambassador's office) on Sheridan Circle, Beyond the south antehall are the library, a service corridor and servants' rooms. The main stair is flanked by the enclosed family stair at the north and an elevator and the utility stair at the south.

The main stair gives access to the second-floor reception hall and the 23rd Street portico. North of the reception hall is the double drawing room on Sheridan Circle. To the south, a corridor gives access to the east sitting room, west dining room and south ballroom. In the ell formed by the dining room and ballroom is the conservatory.

The south elevator and the service and family stairs ascend to the third floor. The master bedroom suite is at the south on the third floor and has access to the loggia above the ballroom. The attic contains a light-well with servants' quarters at the south and west, and storage at the east.

The building faces east on a lot measuring 158'-8" on 23rd Street; l4'-6" on the south (Q Street); 135'-6" on the southwest (Rock Creek Park); 108'-6" on the west; and 58'-4" on the north (Sheridan Circle).