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Clubs and Secret Societies of the Capitol
Item 7 of 9
The Metropolitan Club is a private club headquartered in Washington, DC. Founded in 1863 by six members of the United States Treasury, the Metropolitan Club was established in an effort to create Washington, DC’s, “first literary and social club.” The current residence of the Club was constructed in 1908 and was placed on the national Register of Historic Places in March of 1995. The Metropolitan Club is still active and is as exclusive as it was at the time of its founding.

  • A view of the Metropolitan Club.
  • 1922 photo of the club. Courtesy of the Library of Congress

On October 1, 1863, six members of the United States Treasury met with the intention of forming a social and literary club for the elite in Washington, DC. Within two weeks of the initial meeting, the Metropolitan Club was formed, with 43 founding members of the club, as well as an established constitution. While the club initially only consisted of members within the capitol, the Metropolitan Club began to induct members from outside of Washington, DC, a year after the foundation of the club. The club continued to grow in membership in the following years, but from 1867 until 1872, the Metropolitan Club was inactive due to the aftermath of the American Civil War. In 1872, the club was revived, and its revival marked it as the first of many private clubs to be established in the following decades.

In its first few decades, the Metropolitan Club was housed in several different locations before they decided in the 1880s that they wanted to have a permanent residence for the club. A plot of land at 1700 H Street, N.W., was acquired in 1883, and a clubhouse was built the same year. A fire damaged the building in 1904, however, and the club decided to have the building demolished as a result. From 1905 until 1908, the Metropolitan Club inhabited several temporary spaces for the club, and in 1906, a reconstruction effort for the clubhouse on 1700 H Street was put underway. In 1908, the clubhouse was finished, and it serves as the current permanent residence of the Metropolitan Club. The clubhouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 12, 1995.

Barsoum, Eve L. “Metropolitan Club.” National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination Form. Historic Preservation Division, Washington, DC, March 12, 1995. Accessed July 22, 2016.