Brodhead-Bell-Morton Mansion

This Beaux Arts mansion was once owned by a vice president and is now the Embassy of Hungary.

The Brodhead-Bell-Morton mansion just northeast of Scott Circle is architecturally significant for its grand Beaux Arts style. It speaks to a time — the turn of the 20th century — when Massachusetts Avenue NW, 16th Street, and the nearby Dupont Circle neighborhood were a center of Washington's wealth. Although it was originally designed by John Fraser and constructed in the late-1870s/early-1880s, it was heavily remodeled in 1912 and the one-time Queen Anne style home is no longer recognizable.

John Russell Pope, a highly-regarded architect of the period, designed the remodel. Pope designed many DC buildings that are now historic landmarks. Most famously, he designed the Jefferson Memorial, as well as the National Archives, National Gallery of Art, Constitution Hall, and the Scottish Rite Temple.

At 1500 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Pope designed a four-story, trapezoidal mansion, with a porte-cochere and round arched windows. The building has limestone cladding, and a notable cornice and balustered parapet. There are other intricate details, such as quoins on the first-floor and a carved shell on the facade's third-floor. 

The name of the mansion is a reference to the original owners, John T. and Jessie Willis Brodhead, and subsequent owners, Alexander Graham Bell (inventor) and Levi P. Morton (Vice President, 1889-93). Vice President Morton is credited with hiring Pope for the mansion's remodel. Prior to the building's commercial use, various other important individuals lived here, including a congressman, Russian ambassador, and secretary of state.

From 1940 to 2016, it was occupied by the American Coatings Association (the trade associaiton had various names over the decades). It was then purchased and restored by the nation of Hungary, and the former mansion is now the Embassy of Hungary. During the restoration, a wall was added to the east elevation.

DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
National Register: October 14, 1987



1500 Rhode Island Avenue NW