Harvey's ca. 1920Harvey's exterior ca. 1912

The four-story, iron-fronted building erected shortly after the Civil War on the southeast corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 11th Street, NW, ended up being the city’s oldest and most famous restaurant for sixty-six years.

Though the original structure was built ca. 1820, the building was completely remodeled in 1866 by the Harvey brothers for their restaurant, originally known as Harvey’s Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Oyster Saloon.

The layout of the building was as follows. The first floor was a public bar and restaurant for men. The second floor, accessible by a separate entrance, was the ladies’ dining room. The third floor was private dining rooms. The fourth floor was nothing more than a sham front erected to conform to the cornice line of the adjacent buildings.

Harvey’s Restaurant was established in 1858 at the corner of 11th and C Streets, NW, later locating to 11th and Pennsylvania in 1866. From the time of their relocation, they entertained the political and literary leaders of the nation for sixty-six years. Every President from Ulysses S. Grant to Franklin D. Roosevelt dined in the building.

When its building on Pennsylvania Avenue was razed in 1932, Harvey’s moved to Connecticut Avenue adjacent to the Mayflower Hotel. In 1970, it moved to 18th and K Streets when the Farragut North Metro station necessitated the razing of its Connecticut Avenue building. Today, Harvey’s no longer exists in the city.

More photos of Harvey’s below:

Harvey's Green Room

Steamed Oyster Bar - Harvey's

Gentlemens Restaurant - Harvey's Harvey's kitchen

Kent Boese posts items of historic interest, primarily within the District. He’s worked in libraries since 1994, both federal and law, and currently works on K Street. He’s been an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner serving the northern Columbia Heights and Park View neighborhoods since 2011 (ANC 1A), and is a candidate for the DC Council, Ward 1. He has a MS in Design from Arizona State University with strong interests in preservation, planning, and zoning. Kent is also the force behind the blog Park View, DC.