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4ef egt\(ct 41111111111111011111111M, TEXANS IN WASHINGTON By Charles Holmes THE COMMODORE HOTEL is just a few blocks from the nation’s Capitol, not far from the massive Senate office buildings. Its restaurant, or more specifically its bar, is one of the more popular, informal night spots in Washington. The motif is Irish, and, with its live entertainment, it’s Irish enough for people from the Irish Embassy to keep coming back. While the bar flaunts its Irishness, there are no visible indications of how Texan the hotel is. No pictures of the Alamo OF of Judge Roy Bean’s saloon. But the hotel is Texan in its ownership and even in its manager, Julia Carleton. “An old Texas friend, Chuck Caldwell, called me one day. He said he and Ray Warrenner, also from Texas, wanted to buy a hotel. I told him to talk to my old man,” Carleton said. Caldwell called Carleton’s father, William Mann, and with Walter Green. another Texan, plus one nonTexan, they purchased the Commodore Hotel. About the same time, Carleton’s marriage was breaking up. “Chuck called again. He said, ‘You can’t sit around and cry the rest of your life. Go sit around the hotel and see what you can do until we find a manager,’ ” Carleton recalled. That was four years ago. The manager they found was Carleton. She has learned the business as she has gone along. She credits the staff, which had years of experience, for saving her and the hotel. “I was extremely fortunate. The staff supported me, they taught me,” she says. Carleton reflected on her four years in the hotel business while drinking coffee in the restaurant, sitting at a table in front of the now-silent juke It was early afternoon and ‘the lunch crowd was thinning out. “Business was slow when the new group took over the hotel.” she said, “and it gave me time to learn.” Also time to start remodeling the 135-room hotel which was built in the 1930s. “We’ve remodeled the lobby and five floors,” she said. “At first we planned just to remodel two floors so we would have a selection of nicer rooms and leave the rest simpler and cheaper. But we had so much demand for the remodeled rooms we just had to keep doing more.” The remodeling and promotion of the eight-story hotel has more than doubled business. Demands on the manager have also been increasing. “At first it didn’t make much difference that I did not have experience,” she said. “I started out slowly because I had to feel my way. I had some success because I didn’t know certain things couldn’t be done. “But now I see the need for professional experience. There is more pressure now. I know what I don’t know.” She said when she first started \( she was immersed in details. Now she is more concerned about supervision, capitalization projections, pay scales, the question of a full time in-house painter, things she said a professional, experienced hotel manager would know about. But she is not ready to turn her job over to someone. “When I was a child and we would be driving across Texas I can remember every once in a while seeing a cafe along some desolate stretch of highway. I would wonder ‘why is that cafe here?’ Now I know. The people who built and ran those cafes did it because it was something that was theirs, part of them. “I’ve got the same feeling about the hotel now. I’ve created something,” she said. Carleton’s previous work experience was varied. After one year at the University of Texas, she got married, quit school and started working. “I remember one job I had, with a doctor. I cried every day. I couldn’t add, I couldn’t type, I couldn’t do anything.” She did not work for the doctor long. After her husband graduated from the University of Texas, they moved to New York. She got a job filing in the photo department of Life Magazine. \(One of the pictures in the hotel lobby is an enlarged copy of a Life cover. It’s of a rookie policeman. That policeman, Maurice Cullinane, is now Chief of Police in the District of Columbia. When Cullinane was named Police Chief, Carleton remem bered the Life cover from her days of going through the magazine’s files. She had the cover reproduced for the lobby. It fits in with the others, pictures of the Washington scene several After a short time in New York, the Carleton’s moved to Washington and she went to work for a United States Senator. She quit to have a baby. She now has four children and lives with them just over the District line in Maryland. While the hotel does not show its Texas ties, these ties are becoming well known. “A lot of Texans stay with us,” Carleton said. “The word has spread around the state that this is a ‘Texas’ hotel.” All of the owners but one, Caldwell, live in the Washington area. Since buying into the hotel, Caldwell has moved to Austin. * * * Carleton is just one of a small group of Texas women working in the private sector in Washington. There are many women from Texas wr for Members of the Ho”” and one woman frr Jordan, is q There ar age Julia Carleton, Mgr. The Commodore Hotel 520 N. Capitol St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001 Copyright Texas Parade, -,'”,177 issue. Reprinted by permission. 20 FEBRUARY 17, 1978