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After 1802, James Hoban concentrated on his successful business partnership with Pierce Purcell in Washington, distancing himself from the politics and the lower pay of public improvement projects. Except for the White House, few of Hobans buildings still stand. He also superintended the Capitol, completing the North Wing by 1800, when the seat of government moved to Washington.

Watercolor View of the Capitol, by William Birch, c. 1800. Hoban assisted the commissioners with the development of the Capitol from the cornerstone laying in 1793 and then directed the work from 1798 until 1802.

Library of Congress

Hoban became the superintendent of all Washington's public works in 1798. He directed the construction of the Treasury and War Department buildings, based on the design of English architect George Hadfield. Hoban and William Lovering provided modifications, and Leonard Harbaugh was the contractor. Hoban rebuilt the executive office buildings that were destroyed in the 1814 fire, with design changes. In 1818, he designed two additional government buildings facing Pennsylvania Avenue north of the two original department buildings. State to the east and War to the west (the old War Department site was used for the new Navy Department).

An 1820 watercolor by Baroness Hyde de Neuville of the four brick executive office buildings designed and built, then rebuilt by James Hoban.

Prints and Photographs, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

An 1831 engraving of the Department of State designed and built by James Hoban, Washington, D.C.

Kiplinger Washington Collection

Hoban also designed the brick Georgian "Great Hotel" for Samuel Blodget Jr., a native of New Hampshire and an amateur architect, who invested heavily in the real estate of the national capital. Blodget offered the hotel as the first prize in a lottery scheme to boost property sales. Before 1810, it was the largest privately owned building in Washington. Hoban may have been the architect of the original church for Saint Patrick's parish on the corner of 10th and F Streets, N.W., and of stately Oak Hill, a fine residence President James Monroe commissioned for his retirement in Loudoun County, Virginia. Only Oak Hill still stands.

In 1810, the government purchased what was then called Blodgett's Hotel (traditionally spelled with two ts), for use by the Patent Office. It temporarily housed Congress in 1815 after the destruction of the Capitol by the British.

The Historical Society of Washington, D.C.

Newspaper ad, Washington Gazette, September 16-23, 1797.

American Antiquarian Society

James Hoban contributed to the design and construction of Oak Hill for President James Monroe near Leesburg, in Loudoun County, Virginia. It survives today and is a private residence.

Kenneth Garrett

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