The Oldest Homes in Washington, DC
With so many new homes built each year, it’s hard to imagine that a house from the 1700’s would still be standing. Washington, DC has some of the oldest homes on the East Coast. You've probably passed many on your travels through the city!
The Old Stone House was built in 1765. In its early days, it was known as Suter’s Tavern. The owner, John Suter, was using the home as a resting place for travelers to the city of DC. One of those travelers was none other than George Washington. He stayed in the tavern while surveying land for the DC city layout. Today, the home is still standing on its original foundation. Old Stone House is an excellent example of pre-revolutionary architecture. You've probably passed it on a shopping trip to Georgetown, the house is at 3051 M Street.
The mixture of Georgian and Victorian architecture shows in Prospect House. It was built in 1788 and had many famous visitors such as John Adams and Marquis de Lafayette. In the 19th century, a top floor was added to the home. Later in the 20th century, a service entrance and garage were built on the home. Have you seen the movie Deep Impact? You might recognize the Prospect House in a few scenes. If you want to visit in person, the house is at 3508 Prospect St NW in Georgetown.
The Forrest Marbury House was built sometime between 1788 and 1790 in Georgetown. Over the years, the home has undergone many different alterations to its structure. One of the owners, William Marbury, was the plaintiff in Marbury vs. Madison. It’s been said that George Washington dined here often. The home is now home to the Ukraine’s US Embassy and is located at 3350 34th St NW in Georgetown. (Noticing a pattern here?)
I couldn’t write a post about the oldest homes in DC without talking about the White House. It was first constructed in the 1790’s. During a British attack, the house burned down. It was rebuilt in 1814. The first people to live in the house were John and Abigail Adams. Each President that has lived here as added their own personal touch. You can tour the White House for free and see what it’s like to live in one of the oldest, and most significant, homes in DC.
This 5,200 square foot home was built in the 1730’s. You can see the National Cathedral from the property. Rosedale Farmhouse has been restored and renovated. Visitors can still witness the history and details of this home, despite the changes. Rosedale was the place for events and dinners in its early years. Many people visited the farm, including John Adams. It is located at 3501 Newark St NW.
Thomas Law House
One of the oldest federal style homes still standing in DC. The Thomas Law House was built in the 1790’s. The original owners were Thomas Law and Elizabeth Custis. Elizabeth was the granddaughter of Martha Washington. When the couple divorced, the home was transformed into a rental property. In the 1860’s it was used at the Mount Vernon Hotel. Very few original details remain in the house today. It is located at 1252 6th St NW.
The Dumbarton House was built in 1799 and is located at 2715 Q St NW. It also represents the Federal Period of Architecture. This was the home of Joseph Nourse. He was the first register of the Treasury. While holding that position, he served six of our former Presidents. Nowadays, the home is open for tours, events, and weddings.
This house was built between 1798 and 1800 by William Thornton, the same man that designed the US Capitol building. The home served as the temporary home of President Madison while the White House was being rebuilt. While staying in the Octagon House, Madison signed the Treaty of Ghent which helped end the War of 1812. In 1899, the house became the home of the American Institute of Architects. It is now a museum and is located at 1799 New York Avenue NW.
The city has done a great job preserving the history of these homes. If it weren’t for their efforts to keep history alive, many of these homes wouldn’t be here today. Some of these homes are open for public tours and events. A select few are being used as a private home for families in DC.