Monday 24 June 2019
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Embassy of Greece in Washington DC

The Building

The current premises of the Embassy of Greece in the United States, located near Sheridan Circle along Massachusetts Avenue, consist of three buildings. The Embassy’s original Chancery building was built in 1906.  The original owner of this 35-room mansion was Hennen Jennings, a leading mining engineer who had traveled extensively in South Africa and England.

Hennen Jennings hired George Oakley Totten, an internationally recognized architect and craftsman from Washington, D.C., to design the house and supervise its construction. Work began during the summer of 1906, and the mansion was finished at the end of October, 1907. Like several other capital residences Totten designed at the time, the Jennings mansion reflects the architect's eclectic interests in historical styles and ornamentation.

In 1908 Totten was off to Turkey to design the American Chancery in Istanbul and a residence for Prime Minister Issez Pasha. Impressed with Totten's work, Sultan Abdul Hamid hired him as "Private Architect to the Sultan of Turkey," an assignment which ended in 1909.

In 1937, the mansion was bought by William Helis, a Greek businessman who had emigrated to the U.S. After World War II, he donated it to the Greek Government.

Demetrios Sicilianos, Ambassador of Greece in Washington at the time, accepted the donation on behalf of his government.

The original character of the mansion has been retained to date. It is decorated with the works of Greek artists and the furniture has been made by Greek craftsmen.

The newest building of the Greek Embassy, which houses, the political section and the Consulate, was designed by Greek American architect, Angelos Demetriou, and was inaugurated by former Greek Foreign Minister Mrs Dora Bakoyannis in September 2006.