The George Mason Hotel (1926-1971) - a Collection Within a Collection

Ken Lopez
Posted by Ken Lopez on Jan 20, 2021 8:30:00 AM

Note: I published a follow up article to this one, and it can be found here.

The large building at the corner of Prince and South Washington streets was once the home of the George Mason Hotel. Officially opened in 1926, it was open for 45 years.

The building is currently under renovation, and plans for a new hotel have been announced.

OurHistoryMuseum has acquired many items from the hotel, some of which are shown below. WARNING: Some are plainly racist. Most are not.

OurHistoryMuseum condemns all forms of prejudice in the strongest possible terms. We believe the best way never to repeat historical atrocities arising from such prejudice is to surface them and peacefully confront them in the present — because they happened and continue to happen. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant" is one of our core values.

The Alexandria Times [pdf] said the following:

"In the mid-20th century, the primary lodging house in Alexandria was the elegant Hotel George Mason, built in 1925 [sic] on South Washington Street. It was just across Prince Street from the U.S. Courthouse and Post Office, which were built the same year. William Lee Stoddart, who was born in Tenafly, N.J. in 1868, designed the hotel. . . .

[T]he six-story Hotel George Mason featured 106 rooms, all with running water, most were quite small and included only a toilet and sink. Even so, the hotel ballroom was famous for decades as “the” place to hold a major social event in Alexandria. Stoddart’s design for the George Mason came at the end of his career.

Within a decade of the hotel’s construction, the scientific management principles behind it were obsolete. By the mid 1930s — before this 1949 image of the hotel was photographed — three enormous neon signs went up onto the roof of the hotel, promoting the lodging house to motorists passing through Alexandria on the new George Washington Memorial Parkway and to those visiting City Hall, which was several blocks away."


There was a diner on the first floor, and here was its menu:





Here is a do-not-disturb sign from the hotel:



Here are three postcards:








Here is a silver creamer from the hotel:





Sorry, that last one is so blurry. Hopefully you can see the stamp of the Hotel George Mason.

Here is a matchbook:




Finally, here is a brochure from the hotel with some zoomed-in versions of the photos contained therein:











Note: I published a follow up article to this one, and it can be found here.

Topics: Mount Vernon, Potomac River, Hotel, Episcopal Seminary, George Mason Hotel, George Mason, Christ Church, Gadsby's Tavern, Post Card, George Washington Masonic Memorial, Marshall House, Old Presbyterian Meeting House, Carlyle House, Lloyd House, Alexandria Academy, Elisha Dick, James Craik, Friendship Firehouse, Arlington House, Places

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OurHistoryMuseum is a crowdsourced and virtual history museum that anyone can contribute to. We are prototyping with our hometown first — Alexandria, Virginia. The app will be available nationally in early 2022. In the meantime, sign up for our blog or follow OHM on social media (both at the bottom of this page) to keep updated.

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