Preserving the historic police and fire callboxes of McLean Gardens

News and Updates


With deepest sadness we share with you the news of the sudden passing, on January 31, of Robert L. Beisner, who was a valuable and highly-respected member of the Art on Call Committee. His long-time loyalty and commitment to our project was an integral part of our ongoing work, and it was a genuine pleasure and honor to have known and worked with him.

Before his retirement, Bob was a professor at American University and became the chairman of the History Department. He was also the president of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. As a prizewinning diplomatic historian, he was best known for his exhaustive work, “Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War,” an 800-page biography of the former Secretary of State. He received his master’s degree and doctorate in history from the University of Chicago.

Given his life-long love of history, he was so perfect as a member of our history and art organization. We will miss his warm smile, sense of humor, and enthusiasm.



Dining with the Hope Diamond—The Friendship Estate Cookbook is available for purchase. If interested, please contact the Art on Call Committee at  Proceeds benefit the historic call boxes for the McLean Gardens neighborhood.

Residents of McLean Gardens have contributed their tastiest tried-and-true recipes into a keepsake book that will be treasured for generations to come. This cookbook contains 400 mouth-watering recipes—everything you need from appetizers to desserts—and it costs $29.95 and $4.50 for domestic shipping and handling per book. If two or more cookbooks are purchased, a $5 discount per book is applied after the first book is purchased at full price.

Special features include:

• A Friendship Era historic section, which includes recipes of the McLean and Walsh families, as well as recipes of former Friendship Estate guests and neighbors;
• Friendship Estate art by artists Richard Haas (, John Bailey, Margaret Huddy (, Philip Alexius de Laszlo (, and Maggie Austin (;
• A reproduction of a Friendship Estate note card;
• Friendship Estate history; and
• A section devoted to recipes to make treats for your beloved pets.

We would like to express our appreciation to the Smithsonian Institution, The Historical Society of Washington, D.C., the Library of Congress, The White House Historical Association, and the DC Public Library for their support of our cookbook.



1.  Which holidays were usually major annual events at the Friendship Estate:
a.  Easter
b. Thanksgiving
c.  New Year’s Eve
d.  All of the above

2.  Mr. and Mrs. Edward B. McLean and Mr. and Mrs. John R. McLean each had a set of custom-made china with a Friendship Estate theme.  What was the theme?

3.   When Evalyn Walsh McLean entertained at the Friendship Estate, she was known for wearing the:
a.  Tiffany opal necklace
b.  Blue Heart Diamond
c.  Hope Diamond
d.  Star of India

4.  Which McLean dog is believed to have worn the Hope Diamond at the Friendship Estate on special occasions?
a.  “Sarto” — a Standard Poodle
b.  “Mike” — a Great Dane
c.  “Monkey” — an Affenpinscher
d.  All of the above

5.  How many McLean Friendship Estates were there, and where were they located?

[Answers to the above questions are in Dining with the Hope Diamond—The Friendship Estate Cookbook.]


Cookbook Artists

For a flavor of the artists’ work that is in Dining with the Hope Diamond —
The Friendship Estate Cookbook,
please check out these websites:

  1. Richard Haas —
  2. Margaret Huddy —
  3. Philip de Laszlo —
  4. Maggie Austin —


Hope Diamond Cake by Maggie Austin

The Hope Diamond cake (photo above) was created especially for our cookbook by internationally-renowned cake artist Maggie Austin LaBaugh (  Maggie has also donated her amazing recipe for Apricot-Glazed Almond Cake with Honeyed Mascarpone Cream, available here: Maggie Austin Cake Recipe.  Deepest gratitude to Maggie and Jessica, her Managing Director, for their generosity and kindness in donating high art, beauty, and a great cake recipe to our project!


Exciting news: Artist John Bailey, who painted the beloved Marilyn Monroe mural on Connecticut Avenue, created a portrait of Evalyn Walsh McLean and the Hope Diamond for our cookbook. We snapped this photo of him holding it in the folder on our “close-up of Marilyn adventure” we had with him.  To purchase a copy of our cookbook now — just e-mail us at The recipes that we have tested from our collection of 400 thus far have been fantastic!