The Cosmos Club Historic Preservation Foundation has provided significant grants for preservation of the Townsend House including improvement of the electrical system, a fire suppression sprinkler system and repair of the roof, façade, windows, and gutters.

Philosophy and Role

As a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational organization, Our foundation is dedicated to the stewardship of the Cosmos Club’s historic building, the Townsend House, and to promoting preservation in the surrounding Dupont Circle and Massachusetts Avenue neighborhood.

The Townsend House, the home of the Cosmos Club since 1952, was built for Curtis Hillyer and then adapted by Carrère and Hastings for coal and railroad heiress Mary Scott Townsend in 1900. The Townsend House, a masterpiece of one of the nation’s most noted turn-of-the-twentieth-century architectural firms, Carrère and Hastings, enriches the city of Washington both as a reminder of its history and as a work of art. Inspired by classical French styles, it reflects the Ecole des Beaux Arts training of its architects.

In recognition of the importance of this building to the ambiance of the Massachusetts Avenue and Dupont Circle Historic Districts, the Foundation was established in 1985 as a tax-exempt organization to provide funds for the preservation of the Townsend House and related historical materials and for research and educational programs relating to the Townsend House and the neighboring historic area.

In carrying out its preservation responsibilities, the Foundation works closely with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Under an agreement between the two organizations, the Trust reviews all proposed Foundation projects affecting the mansion and its grounds to verify that they are consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

The Foundation has funded major structural repairs and restoration of exterior features of the Townsend House, including the roof, façade, windows, gutters and marquise along with improvements of the electrical and plumbing systems and installation of fire suppression sprinklers. It restored the original wrought and cast iron fence which bounds the property. Most recently, the Foundation funded the replication of the deteriorated original stamped concrete driveway with a slight modification to make the entrance wheelchair accessible. Read more about our restoration projects

The historic Townsend House interiors, still largely intact, were designed by the Parisian firm Jules Allard & Sons, famed for its high style French interiors, working in collaboration with Carrère and Hastings. The Foundation guided and largely funded the meticulous, award-winning restoration of the Townsend House ballroom. It has also funded restoration of the entrance lobby and replicated in kind the deteriorated original flooring of the adjacent reception room and the dining room.

The Foundation works with preservation and community organizations in the Dupont Circle area and has contributed to the restoration of the Q Street Bridge buffalo sculptures, the enhancement of historic call boxes and the installation of historic markers. The Foundation funded the high-resolution scanning of the Library of Congress’s collection of forty circa 1910 historic photographs of the original Townsend house so that they would be available to the public online through the Library’s website.

Read more

Projects our Foundation has funded

Warne Ballroom
Members’ Old Dining Room
The Club Room’s original marble mantel and hearth
The Lobby restoration
Marquise and iron window grills in the front of the building

Visit the Restoration Projects

Cosmos Club Historic Preservation Foundation 2022 Annual Report

Our 2022 Annual Report presents the accomplishments of the Foundation past and present, with specifics on the Townsend House Exterior Restoration and financials for the year. The dedication, support, involvement, and enthusiasm for the Cosmos Club Historic Preservation Foundation’s (CCHPF) efforts from our supporters have helped in restoring, repairing, and renovating the Townsend House along with its gardens and historic artifacts.

We anticipate that our ongoing stewardship will result in the Townsend House remaining a centerpiece of the Dupont Circle neighborhood, a source of pride in the community, and a symbol to widen awareness and appreciation of our city’s history.

Download the Annual Report

CCHPF Annual Report Cover

Our Officers

  • Jonathan Gifford bio photo
    Jonathan Gifford
  • Steven Spurlock
    Steven L. Spurlock
    Vice President
  • Amanda Edwards bio photo
    Amanda Edwards
  • Justin Waller Bio Photo
    Justin Waller
  • David Haresign
    David Haresign
    Immediate Past President

Our Trustees

  • Laurence Aurbach Bio Photo
    Laurence J. Aurbach
  • Cynthia Field
    Cynthia R. Field
  • Andrea Mones Bio photo
    Andrea Mones
  • Lars Etzkorn Bio Photo
    Lars Etzkorn
  • Isabelle Gournay Bio Photo
    Isabelle Gournay
  • John Jedzinak bio photo
    John Jedzinak

Our Advisors

  • Mary Kay Lanzillotta
    Mary Kay Lanzillotta
  • Andrea Schoenfeld
    Andrea Schoenfeld
  • William Davis
    William (Bill) E. Davis III
  • John Kramer Bio Photo
    John Kramer

Past Presidents

  • Seymour Alpert
    1987 - 1991

  • John B. Farmakides
    1992 - 1996

  • Charles B. Ruttenberg
    1997 - 2006

  • Philip L. Cantelon
    2007 - 2014

  • Mary K. Lanzillotta
    2015 - 2020

  • David T. Haresign
    2021 - 2023

Committed to preserving and protecting one of the city’s most beautiful examples of Beaux-Arts architecture and the historic setting in which it stands.

Ways to donate