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Hotel Occidental: 1920

Hotel Occidental: 1920

Washington, D.C., circa 1920. Gustav Buchholz's Occidental hotel and restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue. Just out of frame to the left would be Childs' Restaurant, seen a few posts back. Rising on the right is the Willard Hotel. View full size.


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Below is the same view from May of 2015.

It is interesting to note that on October 26, 1962, John Scali of ABC News met with Aleksandr Fomin, the counselor of the Soviet Embassy, in the Occidental Restaurant shown in the picture above. During dinner, they engaged in back-channel diplomacy that was key in diffusing the Cuban Missile Crisis. The booth in which they had dinner was moved to the new Occidental Grill (noted by C Kim below) a few doors down. A plaque notes the historic event over the table in that booth. It's where I usually sit when having lunch there and the booth is a real tight fit.

Occidental sign

I remembered the Occidental sign from the creepy 1925 KKK march photo you posted last month. The sign had changed somewhat in five years.

1920 UV Protection

Those ubiquitous awnings.

The W Building

The ornate sculptural pendant under the Occidental's balcony bears a shield with the initial W, not O. Was the hotel originally built as some kind of annex to the Willard?

[The Occidental opened in 1905 next to the Willard Hotel, which was known at the time as the New Willard to distinguish it from the original building. The Occidental's owner was Henry A. Willard, who with his brother started the "old" Willard Hotel in the 1880s. - Dave]

AAA logo

Does anybody know if the "AAA" on the medallion over the doorway is some sort of rating for the hotel or from the Automobile Assoc. of America?

[American Automobile Association. - Dave]

Special Attention to Ladies

Also seen in this 1925 Photo:


Special Attention to Ladies
Occidental Restaurant
The Famous Place to Dine
Before or After Theater.


Cadillac Auto Service
Competent Chauffers

Gorgeous ironwork!

I love the ironwork on the building.

Also, I would have hated to paint that sign and I am NOT afraid of heights. That angle just gives me the shudders.

The Occidental.

My parents went there all the time. (They met there!) I can remember them pointing it out when we would be downtown, though I don't think it was open any more at that point.

One night my mother saw Martin Luther King Jr. having dinner there.

The building immediately to the right and wrapping around to where you see it behind these two buildings is the Willard Hotel--a really great hotel for history buffs!

The Occidental Restaurant has been resurrected in a complex of new buildings that were designed to complement the architecture of the Willard much the way the top of the restaurant building on the right did.

The entrance to the New Occidental is hidden behind the pillar on the left. This one is going to end up on my wall!

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