Plan of the Embassy Gardens and Maps of the Area

For reference to earlier and future posts, here is a master plan of the entire grounds of the Ambassador’s Residence:

Photo - and Plan - courtesy of Alana Sanders.

Photo – and Plan – courtesy of Alana Sanders

And for the points of interest in the story of the landscape of the British Embassy, including Normanstone Park and Normanstone Drive, Oak Hill Cemetery, Dumbarton Oaks, the Naval Observatory, Rock Creek Park:

Embassy Location (Google Maps)

Embassy Location (Google Maps)

Embassy.SatMAP

At the lower edge of this satellite image, at the top of Dumbarton Oaks Park and fronting Whitehaven Street, is left to right: Embassy of Denmark, Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, and the Embassy of Italy.

The tourist’s pocket map of the state of Virginia by J.H. Young (Philadelphia, 1849, c1834; Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution)

The tourist’s pocket map of the state of Virginia by J.H. Young (Philadelphia, 1849, c1834; Dibner Library, Smithsonian Institution)

And, since it is always fun to look at old maps: such ones as this of Washington inspired the design of the impressive Italian Embassy. An interpretation of Tuscan villas and Milanese and Florentine palazzos, this Chancery was designed by Roman architect Piero Sartogo and completed in 2000. The building’s square-block footprint was also intended to pay homage to the original layout of the city, Peter (Pierre) L’Enfant’s grand Baroque vision for the plan of the new capital. The orientation of the diamond shape of the district, echoed in the Chancery, had been suggested by Thomas Jefferson. The glass-covered atrium of the Embassy bisects the structure evokes the Potomac River. The overlay of grids radiating out from this central area of the atrium was designed to reflect the avenues emanating from the U.S. Capitol Building.

Italian Embassy (photo, Google Maps)

Italian Embassy (photo, Google Maps)

The tourist’s pocket map is of a time when Washington City was separate from the surrounding unincorporated Washington County (where the British Embassy came to be located) and before Alexandria was retroceded to the state of Virginia in 1847 (the printing of the map, a second edition, was not updated).

Aerial photo from Google Maps

Aerial photo of the Italian Embassy from Google Maps

This plan shows the area where construction and developer Harry Wardman was just about to buy up plots for the future site of the British Embassy. The triangular slice intruding on the Naval Observatory grounds is from the old Normanstone estate. Also indicated is how the grid plan of the city could have been extended into what is now Dumbarton Oaks.

Baist's Real estate atlas of surveys of Washington, District of Columbia. Philadelphia: G.W. Baist, 1919-1921, pl. 25, v. 3 (Map Division, Library of Congress)

Baist’s Real estate atlas of surveys of Washington, District of Columbia. Philadelphia: G.W. Baist, 1919-1921, pl. 25, v. 3 (Map Division, Library of Congress)

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