The Polish Embassy in Washington. This is what it looks like on the inside!

The Polish Embassy in Washington is located in a building designed by architect George Oakley Totten. It is a grand villa that was built for a US Senator and purchased for Poland in 1920.

Construction of the villa was completed in 1910. It was originally built for Senator John B. Henderson, and the architect Oakley Totten gave it a style that is reminiscent of 18th century French houses, complemented by English elements such as double windows.

The senator did not enjoy the house for long. Already in 1919, the building was bought by the first deputy of the Polish State in the United States, Prince Kazimierz Lubomirski. At the time, the edifice cost $160,000. A year later, Lubomirski handed the building over to the Polish authorities for one dollar.

The elegant edifice has a slender form. Above the main entrance is a small but heavily decorated awning of glass and metal. The building looks almost the same as it did a hundred years ago. Only minor work has been carried out, such as installing new lighting, changing the colours of the walls or renewing the stucco and decorative elements. The latter work was already carried out in 1978.

The interior is filled with elegant furniture, fabrics and art. The most valuable work is an oil painting on canvas by Josef Grassi. It is a portrait of Tadeusz Kościuszko. The space of the main salon is decorated with a Steinway grand piano, which is used during receptions held at the embassy. The piano is a gift given by Ignacy Jan Paderewski during the Second World War after his concert tour.

This is not the only building of the Polish Embassy in Washington. In 2008, the Polish government purchased the Ambassador’s residence (at 3041 Whitehaven Street) for $9.5 million. Part of the Embassy’s duties are also carried out in a building on 21st Street in Washington, where the Embassy’s Economic and Trade and Investment Promotion Departments are located. The latter also houses the Polish Library in Washington.

photos: Sebastian Indra/MSZ

source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs / flickr.com, licence: CC BY-NC 2.0

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