Historic Houses of American Diplomacy

TALIM DACOR April 30, 2013 12 noon JPEG

Today's outreach event was on familiar territory: DACOR Bacon House, the headquarters of an association of American diplomatic and consular officers in Foggy Bottom, the quaintly-named neighborhood of Washington now home to institutions like the OAS, the IMF and World Bank, George Washington University, and, of course, the US State Department.

Bacon House, about the same age (early 19th century) as the Tangier American Legation, is one of the few vestiges of that red brick, cobblestoned era when Washington was a sparsely populated upstart compared to stately Georgetown or Alexandria, Virginia.  It's where I stay when back in Washington, literally a home away from home.

The audience composed of retired and active ambassadors and diplomats and USAID officers was receptive to the combination of "Legation tales" and progress reports on current cultural diplomatic efforts that has become a staple of presentations on TALIM.

DACOR Bacon House is the only place in the United States, to my knowledge, that shelters a "piece of the Legation" – a massive cedar gate that was discarded and saved during an Eighties renovation project.  I wrote about it a couple of years ago.

We sold a few copies of Enchantment today, and among many friends present, I reconnected with the former President of the Middle East Institute, a previous boss on my second Foreign Service posting.  All in all, a pleasant time was had, and TALIM now has a number of new friends, converts to the cause of "Save the Pavilion," our rallying cry for 2013.

Gerald Loftus

1 thought on “Historic Houses of American Diplomacy”

  1. I am enjoying the Legation Tales section of the blog very much. A very minor tale of the Legation’s life was when I worked as librarian in the Tangier Book Club, which was housed throughout the 80s in the Tangier Legation through the kindness of the US Consul-General at that time, Kenneth Rogers.
    This lending library, which had nothing to do with the legation’s activities, had begun its life in the grand British Consulate-General building (now the Musée d’Art Contemporain) in Rue d’Angleterre, but was forced to move when the consulate was downsized and had to move to a tiny office in Trafalgar House in Rue Amerique du Sud. When I was last in Tangier the library itself had left the Tangier Legation and moved to its own space in Trafalgar House. If I am not mistaken, the library was funded by a legacy left by Sir John Hay Drummond Hay, a former Consul-General in Tangier, for the interests of British subjects residing in Tangier.
    I succeeded Dorothy Caneday, an American, as librarian, and we had many expat members, including Americans. Bob Shea (a former director of the American School of Tangier, and an attaché at the Legation) was curator at the Legation at that time and became a good friend. The library was housed just to the left of the courtyard as one entered the building. Mohammed was the jovial concierge at that time, and it was a wonderful environment to work in.
    I am delighted to see how the Legation has expanded into such an outstanding cultural and historical centre.

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