|Blodget’s Hotel as it appeared when completed in 1810. (click image to enlarge)|
Samuel Blodgett Jr. was a native of New Hampshire and a Revolutionary War officer, who had made a fortune in the East India trade and hoped to increase it in Washington real estate. Blodget sold George Washington and the city commissioners on the idea of a lottery to attract investors to the fledgling city. He proposed a lottery scheme to sell fifty thousand tickets at $7 apiece, with a top cash prize of $25,000, and a grand prize of “1 superb hotel with baths, out houses, etc. to cost $50,000.” With a planned frontage of 120 feet, it would far exceed the size of any building at the time in America and would be the largest privately-owned building in Washington.
|Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Division|
James Hoban, the architect of the White House, won the competition to design the hotel, further increasing its attractiveness as the big lottery prize. Hoban’s design, very similar in proportions and detailing to several other of his buildings at that time (see Similar Hoban Buildings, below), was for a three story building, one hundred and twenty feet long, and sixty feet wide, ornamented with a pediment, and six Ionic pilasters on the north and south faces of the building.
|Washington, D.C., ca. 1803, showing a pastoral view of Washington with the President's House, Gales' House, and Blodget's Hotel to the right. (Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)|
|Old Brick Capitol, Matthew Brady, 1865.|
Similar Hoban Buildings
|White House Progress Drawing (1793)|
|Old Treasury Building (1801)|