Gadsby Hotel - Where Solomon Northup was Drugged and Kidnapped

Gadsby Hotel - Where Solomon Northup was Drugged and Kidnapped American History Nineteenth Century Life

The Washington hotel, where Simon Northup was staying when he was drugged and kidnapped, was called the Gadsby Hotel at the time (in 1841).  Later, it was known as the "National Hotel."

This image depicts a print of the hotel just before the Civil War. The view is down Pennsylvania Ave. from 6th St.  At the time, the dome of the Capitol Building was not-yet finished.

No longer in existence, the Gadsby was described in a January 5, 1930 article published in the Washington Post:

A tragedy soon will be enacted in this city the like of which Washington has seldom, if ever, seen before. The famous old National Hotel is to be razed.

It is one of the oldest hostelries in America, having been in continuous operation since 1827, when John Gadsby came from Alexandria to open it. One family, the Calvert family, kin by blood to Lord Baltimore, who founded Maryland, has owned it from the beginning, and a member of that family, the other day, sold it to the Government for $580,000.

It comes down now in response to the spirit of progress, to make room for the new civic center which the District government will build on the north side of the Avenue.

Apart from the Capitol and the White House, there is no building in the city so historic as this. For more than half a century the history of the Nation was made there. Within its walls great political contests that affected the destiny of the Nation were mapped out, and here the most infamous crime in American history, the assassination of Lincoln, was planned. Every President from Jackson to Lincoln was a guest there, and there lived Henry Clay; there he died. 
John Gadsby, the first proprietor of the National, was a noted man in George Washington’s day, for the master of Mount Vernon often stopped at Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria and had a bird and a bottle with the genial host. When business fell off in Alexandria, due to its proximity to Washington, Gadsby came over the river in 1827 and picked out the very site on which the National is built, and had an English architect design the building and superintend the construction.

The Calvert family owned the ground and gave him a long lease on it. When completed, it was named Gadsby’s Hotel, and it bore that name until 1844, when John Gadsby sold out and retired from the hotel business.

Gadsby sold the hotel to the Willard family (who already owned a famous hotel, bearing the family name) in Washington.

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Library of Congress.



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"Gadsby Hotel - Where Solomon Northup was Drugged and Kidnapped" AwesomeStories.com. Feb 28, 2014. Sep 25, 2018.
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