Wormley Hotel Agreement
Wormley continued to operate his hotel, which has always been a popular residence for a cosmopolitan clientele. He increased his properties, obtained a patent on a boot security device and fought for a better education for black children. He was 65 years old when he died after an operation in Boston on October 18, 1884. A year later, Georgetown`s Wormley School was built in his honour. Lafayette Square in the 19th century was the epicenter of political, social and civic activities in Washington, D.C. Originally, the area was known as President`s Square and only a block from the northeast corner of this town was a house known as wormley`s Hotel, probably the most successful private enterprise of its time in this area. Since the humble beginnings of an African-American family that had lived and worked in the White House since the early years of the century, the hotel`s founder, James Wormley, has developed an internationally renowned hotel that serves the capital`s most prominent visitors and residents. Wormley, his hotel and benefactors may have long fallen into the dust, but many of the same themes that overshadowed the 1876 choice resonate in the present. All the more reason to remember James Wormley and what happened at his hotel. The hotel is also known as the site of the Wormley Conference of 1877, when representatives of Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J.
Tilden negotiated an agreement on the controversial 1876 presidential elections. The result was the compromise of 1877, which led to the withdrawal of troops from the South and the end of federal reconstruction. Carol Gelderman, A Free Man of Color And His Hotel; Race, Reconstruction and the Role of the Federal Government, (Washington, D.C., Potomac Books, 2012); John DeFerrari, “The Talented Mr James Wormley,” Streetsofwashington.com, www.streetsofwashington.com/2012/09/the-talented-mr-james-wormley.html. The controversial 1876 presidential election between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J. Tilden was secretly discussed at the hotel. The agreement reached at the end of these talks was later known as the “Wormley Compromise”, which led to the revocation of federal troops from the South and the end of reconstruction. Born free in Washington, D.C., James Wormley (1819-1884) is best known as the owner and operator of the Wormley Hotel, which opened in 1871. Wormley was one of many entrepreneurs in the hotel industry and other services with downtown businesses.
The hotel caters mainly to wealthy and politically powerful white men. It is not known whether James Wormley ever commented on how his hotel`s “good deal” led to a betrayal of black Americans, but he continued to fight the flood of segregation, leaving behind a solid foundation of family values. Wormley`s parents were Lynch and Mary Wormley, both born free. After Wormley`s death in 1884, his eldest son James T. Wormley ran the hotel until 1893, when he sold it. It was taken over by new owners and was renamed Colonial in 1897. The hotel was later demolished and the Union Trust Company building was built on the site in 1906. Beyond the borders of the hotel and restaurant, Wormley had become a confidant, nurse and host to some of the most famous personalities of the 19th century. He was supposed to be the nurse for famous men like Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, John Calhoun, President Lincoln and Family, William H. Seward, Vice President Henry Wilson and many others.
After President James Garfield was shot and seriously wounded by an assassin in 1881, Wormley was retained for the preparation of special beef and chicken broths in order to heal the suffering president. In 1869, Wormley purchased another building at the southwest corner of 15th and H Streets, NW.