News & Politics

Two Weekend Anniversary Parties Highlight Powerful Washington Businesses

The Four Seasons Hotel turned 35, and Wagner Roofing turned 100.

At the Four Seasons Washington's 35th-anniversary party, hotel founder Isadore Sharp takes a moment to pose with Ward 2 City Council member Jack Evans and the hotel’s general manager, Dirk Burghartz. Photographs by Carol Ross Joynt.

Two Washington institutions celebrated anniversaries this weekend. Both count the city’s most powerful among its patrons, with bragging rights to some of DC’s most powerful real-estate. One is a household name; the other provides a household necessity. 

The first, the Four Seasons Hotel, celebrated its 35th anniversary on Pennsylvania Avenue in Georgetown Friday evening in its own ballroom. The turnout would have been estimable even if only the denizens of the hotel restaurant’s weekday “power breakfast” club had showed up, as they did: BFFs superlawyer Vernon Jordan, Fannie Mae CEO James Johnson, and Kennedy Center Honors impresario George Stevens, plus CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Foreign Policy’s David Rothkopf, two other breakfast-time regulars.

Presiding over the party was the founder and chairman of the Four Seasons chain, Isadore Sharp, and the Washington hotel’s current general manager, Dirk Burghartz. Ward 2 City Council member Jack Evans, spotted talking with both, came armed with a city proclamation honoring the hotel.

The other honoree this weekend was Wagner Roofing. Who? Take a look at the firm’s list of clients, easily a match for the Four Seasons roster: the White House, the US Naval Academy, the Maryland State House in Annapolis, DC’s Old Post Office Building, Lincoln’s Cottage, the Mormon Temple, the Smithsonian Castles, and the Washington National Cathedral. We could go on, but do we really need to?

Chuck and Sheila Wagner hosted a party on Saturday night at Congressional Country Club to mark 100 years since Wagner’s grandfather, Otto, founded the company in Northeast DC. (It is now based in Hyattsville, Maryland.)

Looming over the gathering was an elaborate metal ram’s head. We asked Chuck Wagner about its provenance. He explained that when Wagner Roofing did a complete renovation of the mansard roof of the Beaux Arts Folger Building on 15th Street, Northwest, the metal adornment—one of a few—was basically surplus, so he claimed it for himself. Where does it hang now, when not in a party room at Congressional? “On my house, overlooking the garden.”

It’s not often that a Saturday-night country club party also features a display of tools. But this one did, including mallets, hammers, stakes, cleats, and soldering irons. Oh, and cocktails and sushi, too. 

Sheila and Chuck Wagner, vice president and president of Wagner Roofing Company, at the 100th-anniversary party their company held on Saturday evening at Congressional Country Club.
A guest checks out the Folger ram’s head at the Wagner Roofing anniversary party.