Old Post Office Tower Washington Reviews
Old Post Office Tower Nov 06, 2013
The Old Post Office building opened in 1899 as part of an effort to revitalize a slum area known as Murder Bay, the site of several brothels that sprang up during the Civil War. Built in the Romanesque Revival style, it features a clock tower that rises 96 meters or 12 stories high. The atrium is 60 meters high with 10 stories of balconies looking below.
The building has had a checkered history, perhaps reflecting the unsavory ground it was built on. Just a year after it opened, the postmaster fell to his death down an elevator shaft. The postal service moved out of it in 1914 and the structure was then used by various government agencies. Plans to demolish it in the 1970s fell through and it was converted into a tourist attraction with a food court, shops, and free rides to the clock tower run by the National Park Service. The Old Post Office now sits in the heart of Federal Triangle amidst several government office buildings put up in the 1930s.
Its next incarnation begins in 2014 under the auspices of Donald Trump, who will transform it into a luxury hotel set to open in 2016 under a 60 year lease. The clock tower will remain open to the public during and after the conversion into a hotel. There is concern about Trump being the man selected to oversee the project and whether the city needs another high end hotel. Time will tell.
The clock tower offers some impressive views of the city, but the White House is obscured by some of the nearby buildings. One floor below are the Congress Bells, a set of brass bells given as a gift by Great Britain in 1976. There really isn't much to see, though occasionally you can hear them chime for special events. There is a security check to get inside that includes metal detectors, but the ride up the glass elevator over the atrium is fun. The Federal Triangle Metro stop is right next door. Worth checking out for a few minutes if you're in town.
Part of the list Photogenic Sites in Washington, D.C.
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