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This photograph of Decatur House, which is also home to the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History, was taken by Bruce White for the White House Historical Association on September 2, 2015. Completed in 1818, Decatur House was the third building on Lafayette Square and its first private residence. It was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the architect of the Capitol and several other famous buildings, for Commodore Stephen Decatur (1779-1820) and his wife, Susan Wheeler Decatur. Tragically, on March 22, 1820 Stephen Decatur was mortally wounded during a duel. After his death, his widow Susan Decatur rented out the house to foreign ministers and several secretaries of state. The house was eventually sold and passed through several hands, including the Gadsby family, the U.S. Subsistence Bureau, and the Beale family. Marie Ogle Beale, a society maven and the last owner left the house to National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1961. In 2010, the White House Historical Association and National Trust entered into co-stewardship arrangement and the house now serves as the David M. Rubenstein National Center for White House History.

White House Historical Association
01/08/2024 - 12/31/2024
Mondays at 10:30am and 1:00pm

The White House Historical Association offers free public tours of historic Decatur House every Monday, excluding federal holidays and the Monday following Thanksgiving.*

A fixture of the president’s neighborhood since 1818, Decatur House has been home to foreign and American dignitaries, secretaries of state, members of Congress, and a vice president, in addition to numerous free and enslaved servants who played a pivotal role in shaping America. Visit and explore the nearly 200-year history of Decatur House and its Slave Quarters, the only existing slave quarters within sight of the White House and learn more about the many additional programs and offerings of the Association.

Tours begin at 1610 H Street, NW at 10:30am and 1pm and last approximately one hour. Visitors will be required to reserve their free spot on the tour via Eventbrite.

The White House Historical Association will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation based on guidelines provided by the CDC to maintain a safe, healthy environment for all. The Association reserves the right to adjust its availability as necessary to adhere to the latest public health guidance. Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within 5 days prior to their visit should not attend. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should consider rescheduling their tour.

If you’re looking to schedule a private Decatur House tour for your group Tuesday-Friday, please complete our private tour request form here.

Additional Information

Nearby Parking Garages: 1625 I Street NW / 1750 H Street NW / 1050 Connecticut Avenue NW

Nearest Metro Stops: Farragut West and McPherson Square on the Blue/Orange/Silver Line, and Farragut North on the Red Line