In Advise and Consent:
“When Bob Munson awoke in his apartment at the Sheraton Park Hotel at seven thirty-one in the morning he had the feeling it would be a bad day. The impression was confirmed as soon as he got out of bed and brought in The Washington Post and Times Herald.
PRESIDENT NAMES LEFFINGWELL SECRETARY OF STATE, the headline said. What Bob Munson said, in a tired tone of voice, was, “Oh, God damn.” Page 21
In Real Life:
And so- that’s the start of the action in Advise and Consent, and it all happened at the Sheraton Park Hotel. That’s where the Senator from Michigan, Bob Munson, the Majority Leader – learned about the nomination of Robert A. Leffingwell as the Secretary of State. The nomination that surprised Senator Munson when he pulled in the morning papers set into motion the intrigue that roiled through the rest of the novel. The minute I read that I looked up the Sheraton Park Hotel and found a Washington Marriot Wardman Park. I learned it’s named after a Henry Wardman who built it. It opened in 1918 and hit the ground running because of a housing shortage due to World War I. In 1928, the trademark tower went up. So that’s what Allen Drury would have known when he was writing Advise and Consent – the old hotel and that tower. After the novel came out – in the late’70’s, the original hotel building was deemed unfit so the hotel built a modern looking building next to the tower and tore down the original hotel.
I drove up to the hotel – and sailed right past the tower because that’s where my GPS took me. I did my thing with the parking attendant and ran in to look around. I found a cool historical timeline on the wall which told me President Eisenhower lived at the Wardman, many other presidents held inaugural balls there and Thurgood Marshall stayed there during his confirmation hearing for the U.S. Supreme Court. It was certainly in the spotlight while Drury was doing his thing and it seems like it still is. I left and went up to the tower and skulked around. It seemed a little more like a place Senator Munson would emerge from with others who lived there like Senator Ennis and Cooley – my favorite character – and get in a cab for their fifteen minute ride the Capitol. My mind flashed on what the timeline told me about the Wardman – “Presidents have lived here. Dignitaries have dined here. Scandals have unfolded here.” So it seems that’s true in real life – and in fiction.