On New Hampshire Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., sits the magnificent International Headquarters building, one of the pride and joy possessions of the members of the Order of the Eastern Star. The Headquarters building has a rich and exciting history that began at the turn of the century in Washington, D.C.
Formerly the Perry Belmont Mansion, it was started in 1906 and completed in 1909, at the then-extravagant cost of $1.5 million. Perry and Jessie Belmont built the mansion for the specific purpose of entertaining not only notables of Washington, but also dignitaries from all over the world. The building was only used during the Washington party season (about two months each year) and special events. It was designed by Eugene Sanson, a famous French architect who had designed many grand homes and chateaus in Europe. He was renowned for his use of light and space, and for his beautiful staircases. Long before the acquisition of the building by the General Grand Chapter in 1935, it was a site of elegance, gracious and grand hospitality, of distinguished diplomats, world-renowned guests and romance. The Belmonts entertained lavishly and had a staff of approximately 34 servants. They used the house from 1909 to 1925. It was then closed and put on the market for sale with the stipulation that it could not be altered for 20 years after the purchase. The mansion stood empty and unused until 1935, when the General Grand Chapter purchased it. Mr. Belmont being a Mason and happy to be selling it to someone who would take care of it, sold it to The General Grand Chapter for $100,000. As part of our agreement with Mr. Belmont, The General Grand Chapter law states that the Right Worthy Grand Secretary must live in the building. So the building is still a working private residence as well as our Headquarters.
Many furnishings, including several Tiffany vases, 37 oil paintings, Louis the 14th and 15th furniture, china and oriental rugs were included with the purchase of the Temple and are still on display for our members and their guests to enjoy on tours.
Chandeliers throughout are gold gilt and hung with hand-carved rock crystal drops - some with amethyst as well. There are eleven fireplaces, most with hand-carved marble mantles. All the marble in the house was brought from Italy, all of the wood from Germany and all the metal fixtures from France.
If you wish to take an "on-line tour" of the International Headquarters, click here.