It is a focal point of the New Hampshire Avenue axis leading to Dupont Circle and complements neighboring late nineteenth century and turn of the century buildings. Except for the porte-cochere which has a flat roof, the total mass is under a steeply-pitched mansard roof. The roof line breaks to reflect the side pavilions but there is no break to suggest the corner entrance pavilion.
The freestanding stone mansion was designed by the fashionable French architect Ernest Sanson with Horace Trumbauer of Philadelphia overseeing the construction. It is a significant example of a lavish city residence for the very wealthy designed in the early twentieth century as a place for elaborate entertaining. The visual impact of this mansion modeled on 18th century French designs is increased by its wedge-shaped mass and impressive location.
In 1906 Perry Belmont, the son of the New York financier August Belmont and the grandson of Commodore Matthew C. Perry, purchased the block bounded by New Hampshire Avenue, Corcoran Street, 18th Street, and R Street. At the time this area around Dupont Circle was the most fashionable section of the city. Belmont served as a Congressional Representative from New York from 1881 to 1887 and in 1888-1889 was minister to Spain. While in Europe he became familiar with the designs of Sanson and hired the Ecole des Beaux Arts trained architect to design his Washington residence. Sanson designed many works in Paris and Belgium and a house in Madrid, Spain, which has been occupied by the American Embassy.
The building later came to serve as the International Eastern Star Temple. The Eastern Star is the woman's organization associated with the masons.
DC designation: November 8, 1964,
National Register listing: May 8, 1973