Main Content

Inside the Stephen Decatur House: The First and Last Private Residence in Lafayette Square
Date
04/04/2019
Time
Days
Thursday
Location
The White House Historical Association 1610 H Street NW Washington DC 20006 U.S.A.
Cost
$85 (Price Includes Book)

Just across Lafayette Square from the White House, the Stephen Decatur House, completed in 1819, is one of the oldest homes in Washington. Designed by the first professional architect in America, Benjamin Henry Latrobe, for one of the greatest naval heroes in American history, the Decatur House has welcomed 200 years of America’s political elite.

After Decatur’s death when tenants rented the property, it was also home to the enslaved King and Williams families, as well as Charlotte Dupuy, an enslaved woman who in 1829 sued Henry Clay, then the secretary of state and in residence at the house, for her freedom. Though unsuccessful in her efforts, Dupuy’s story of attempted self-emancipation is an important part of the history of Lafayette Square.

Through the work of the White House Historical Association and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the history and significance of the Decatur House are captured in a new book, The Stephen Decatur House: A History. With principal photography by Bruce White, the volume draws on letters, legal documents, insurance reports, and historical artifacts and illustrations to offer a complete history of Lafayette Square’s first private residence and its occupants.

Join the authors of The Stephen Decatur House: A History at Decatur House for an evening that explores national and local history, architecture, genealogy, and artifact curation. Then tour the residence, including the newly restored slave quarters.

This lecture is hosted by the Smithsonian Associates and the price includes a copy of The Stephen Decatur House: A History.