The Willard Hotel

Pepco Energy Services Provides Wind Energy To Washington, DC's Historic Willard Hotel



ARLINGTON, VA – Pepco Energy Services, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM) and a leader in supplying renewable electricity, announced today that it has been awarded a contract to supply wind power to the historic Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C.


The six-month contract which began in December calls for Pepco Energy Services to supply the 332-room Willard InterContinental Washington with nearly 2 million kilowatt hours of electricity generated from renewable resources per year. Facilitated by The Loyalton Group, an energy risk management firm in Washington, D.C., the contract stipulates that ten percent of the energy will come from wind farms.


"We at the Willard InterContinental Hotel are glad to expand our conservation efforts through our purchase of wind energy from Pepco Energy Services. This is an important piece of our Sustainability effort entitled 'Willard InterContinental - The Next 100 Years', " said Hervé Houdré, General Manager.


"Pepco Energy Services is delighted to be supplying environmentally-friendly wind energy to such a landmark," said John Huffman, President and Chief Operating Officer of Pepco Energy Services.


Pepco Energy Services currently supplies 100% renewable resources to the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters, located in Washington, D.C.



The Willard Hotel


The Willard InterContinental Washington is a historic luxury hotel located equidistant from the White House and the National Mall in Washington, DC. Among its facilities are numerous luxurious guest rooms, several restaurants, the famed Round Robin Bar, and voluminous function rooms. It is two blocks from the Metro Center station of the Washington Metro.


The hotel's site, 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, has accommodated guests since 1816, but the Willard was formally founded by Henry Willard when he bought the property in 1850. The present twelve-story structure, designed by famed hotel architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, opened in 1901. It was for many years the only hotel from which one could easily visit all of downtown Washington, and has consequently hosted innumerable dignitaries in its history.


The Willard family sold its share of the hotel in 1946, and due to mismanagement the hotel closed in 1968. A lengthy legal battle ensued, at the end of which the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation purchased the property with its partners the Oliver Carr Company and InterContinental Hotels Group. Together they renovated and expanded the facilities, and the hotel reopened on August 20, 1986. In the late 1990s the hotel once again underwent significant restoration.


Famous guests

The first group of three Japanese ambassadors to the United States stayed at the Willard with seventy-four other delegates in 1860, where they observed that their hotel room was more luxurious than the U.S. Secretary of State's house. It was the first time an official Japanese delegation traveled to a foreign destination, and many tourists and journalists gathered to see the sword-carrying Japanese.


From February 4 to February 27, 1861, the Peace Congress, featuring delegates from 21 of the 34 states, met at the Willard in a last-ditch attempt to avert the Civil War. A plaque from the Virginia Civil War Commission, located on the Pennsylvania Ave. side of the hotel, commemorates this courageous effort.


Later that year, upon hearing a Union regiment singing "John Brown's Body" as they marched beneath her window, Julia Ward Howe wrote the patriotic "Battle Hymn of the Republic" to the same tune.


On February 23, 1861, amid several assassination threats, detective Allan Pinkerton smuggled Abraham Lincoln into the Willard during the weeks before his inauguration; there Lincoln lived until his inauguration on March 4, holding meetings in the lobby and carrying on business from his room.


Many United States presidents have frequented the Willard, and every president since Franklin Pierce, including George W. Bush, has either slept in or attended an event at the hotel at least once; the hotel is hence also known as "the residence of presidents". It was the habit of Ulysses S. Grant to drink brandy and smoke a cigar while relaxing in the lobby. Folklore, additionally promulgated by publicists for the hotel, holds that this is the origin of the term "lobbying", as Grant was often approached by those seeking favors. However, this is provably false, as the verb to lobby is found decades earlier and did not originally refer to Washington politics.


Plans for Woodrow Wilson's League of Nations took shape when he held meetings of the League to Enforce Peace in the hotel's lobby in 1916.


Calvin Coolidge lived at the hotel for a month in 1923 while Warren G. Harding's widow vacated the White House.


Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in his hotel room at the Willard in 1963 in the days before his March on Washington.


Among the Willard's many other famous guests are P. T. Barnum, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, General Tom Thumb, Samuel Morse, the Duke of Windsor, Harry Houdini, Gypsy Rose Lee, Gloria Swanson, Emily Dickinson, Jenny Lind, Charles Dickens and Mae West.


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Taken on September 4, 2006