While planning a trip I always try to find one place not included on the normal list of must dos. In DC that place was the Old Post Office Tower.
As I researched for our trip I came across a Youtube video by TripHacksDC showing how to reach the Tower as the entrance, as it is hard to find. I had never hear of the Old Post Office Tower, no one had mentioned it. I found the Tower fascinating. Since The Washington Moment was closed for refurbishment, it being the 3rd tallest building in DC, I thought the Tower would offer our best chance of excellent over head views of DC.
During my research I discovered construction began at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in 1892 and was completed in 1899. It was the main general post office until 1914. For the next 100 years the main building served as a federal office building and then The Hotel Monaco. In 2013, the GSA leased it for next 60 years to DJT Holdings. It re-opened as Trump International Hotel Washington DC in September 2016. Trump International is not open to the general public with out being a registered guest. However, the Tower section was not included as part of the lease and is under the management of the National Park Service. From 2014 into 2017, the Tower was closed for renovations but it was re-open to public in February of 2017. The tower houses the Bells of Congress which are replicas of the bells at Westminster Abbey.
This statue of Printer, Philosopher, Patriot, and Philanthropist Benjamin Franklin stands on a pedestal in front of the Old Post Office Pavilion on the corner of 12th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW. The statue was sculpted in 1889 by Jacques Jouvenal. Franklin’s statue was placed in front of the Old Post Office building because he was also a postmaster, appointed by King George III before the Revolutionary War.
As you can imagine being a history buff.. I was excited to see this Tower. It is located about 2 blocks from the National mall and 2 blocks from the National Archives.
We made the trek from various places in DC to see the Tower THREE TIMES during our trip. Did the hype live up to my expectations? I will never know, because ALL THREE TIMES we were denied entry! The first time we arrived it had closed. The NPS has told me the hours were extended in the summer to 7:30, we arrived at 5:15. The hours to visit the Tower are 9 to 5, with the last time to ascend the tower is at 4:30. This does not change during the summer. Our second attempt later in the week found the Tower closed for BELL RINGING PRACTICE. So I double checked with the staff the hours and confirmed that on Friday everything would be prefect for a tower.
So on Friday after visiting the National Archives and seeing our Charters of Freedom, we once again made the trek to The Tower.. and we were yet again … denied. The elevator was not working. I was not a HAPPY CAMPER! In fairness I will say they did offer to let me take the stairs up. However, after a week of walking all of DC, I felt my legs just might protest the 15 floor hike up and then back down again. So we declined. Effectively ensuring I would not get to see the inside of the Tower this trip. I was disappointed… after all this tower had mocked me all week. I have numerous photos from all over DC.. with the clock tower in the background. The Capital building, Lincoln Memorial, Kennedy’s eternal flame at Arlington, It is visible from everywhere! It is now my DC nemesis. I shall conquer it on my next trip.
Even though we did not get to go up in the Old Post Office Tower, I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the DC area. It really is an underrated attraction in DC.