Of course, events that seem to be relatively recent to me happened a long time before a lot of people who are reading this were even born. It might be that some have never even heard about the famous scandal that took place as long ago as the early nineteen-seventies. (1972 to 1974).
But I do wonder if any of those people have ever wondered why, as soon as there’s a news story with a whiff of scandal and secrecy about it, the newspaper headlines like to dub it the something-gate. If the scandal is about dog food, it’s the dogfoodgate, a fashion secret becomes fashiongate … it’s a suffix that has passed into general use – well, journalistically at any rate – in our language.
The suffix has an entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, and scandals that have use the ‘-gate’ descriptor even have a page in Wikipedia.
It all stems from the twentieth-century revelation that then-president Richard Nixon was aware that members of his administration were involved in many cases of abuse of their power; one being the break-in of the Democratic National Committee located in the Watergate complex in Washington DC.
The perpetrators were caught and this led to the resignation of Richard Nixon, the then president of the United States. It also meant that the name ‘Watergate’ became synonymous with sneakiness and scandal.
For the time it was built in the 1960s, the Watergate complex – in addition to the hotel there were apartments and office facilities – was a glamorous location. Situated not far from the White House, it became known for the actors, models and celebrities who mingled with the congressmen and judges.
Designed by Luigi Moretti, this modernist complex reflects the architectural fashion of the early nineteen sixties. (And the complex itself is reflected in the Potomac River). It was a glamorous and fashionable hotel in a commanding position close to the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and various tourist attractions.
The events of the Watergate scandal however tarnished its reputation. The very name of the hotel became a byword for deceit and chicanery.
The hotel was bought and sold several times but had lost its former sparkle. The name of the hotel almost implied a seediness that people just didn’t want to be associated with. Inevitably, earlier this century, the hotel was closed and unloved for nine years. It finally opened up again in June 20216 after a huge renovation.
It now offers accommodation of a more luxury nature – harking to its mid-century origins.
WHERE IS THE WATERGATE HOTEL?
The Watergate Hotel
2650 Virginia Ave NW,
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.