Whitelaw Hotel

The Whitelaw is an apartment hotel which long served as a unique place of meeting and public accommodation for prominent African American educators, entertainers, and other notable public figures during the era of segregation.

The Whitelaw Hotel showcases an early example of minority real estate development. It was financed and built entirely by African American entrepreneurs, investors, designers, and craftsmen. Associated with prominent businessman and civic leader John Whitelaw Lewis, the Whitelaw is a notable example of the attempt by civic leaders to counter the effects of racial discrimination and economic adversity in the early 20th century.

The building is a notable work of Isaiah T. Hatton, locally trained as one of the nation's first African American architects. It serves as an example of a large apartment building in the Italian Renaissance Revival style and was important in the expansion of apartment living to a broader middle class. The building is four stories, U-shaped with facades of buff brick and limestone trim, classical details, and a stained glass skylight over the dining room. It was built in 1919 and extensively restored in 1991-1992.

DC Inventory: September 16, 1992
National Register Listing: July 14, 1993



1839 13th Street, NW