An Artist Visits the White House Past

Paintings by Peter Waddell

Lafayette Square

Once the White House Overlooked a Residential Neighborhood, 1902

Lafayette Square, once surrounded by residential houses and mansions was a grand neighborhood that included the White House. Benjamin H. Latrobe's Saint John’s Church, built in 1816, was soon followed by his design for Stephen Decatur's house, erected 1818–19, on the northwest corner of the square. Dolley Madison spent her last years in a residence directly across the park on the northeast side of the square. In 1902 during the renovation of the White House, Theodore Roosevelt became a temporary square resident, living near Decatur House at 22 Jackson Place.


Historian William Seale on Lafayette Square

"An Artist Visits the White House Past" (if no audio, click here)

In Depth

Read William Seale’s catalog essay for Lafayette Square, and discover the historical resources used to create the painting.

All images © the White House Historical Association except where otherwise noted.