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May 05, 2022 Washington, D.C.

The White House Historical Association and Preservation Society of Charleston placed a historical marker at Saint Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church on Thursday, May 5 at 1PM that outlines the story of White House Architect James Hoban and his legacy in Charleston. Hoban was a leading figure in the establishment of the Catholic Parish at St. Mary’s. He was a founding Parish Vestryman and was an inaugural tither upon the parish’s formal incorporation in 1791. The White House Historical Association sponsored the marker. Saint Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church is located at 95 Hasell Street, Charleston, South Carolina 29401.

See images of this event and the historical marker.

“The White House Historical Association is honored to partner with the Preservation Society of Charleston to present a plaque honoring James Hoban’s legacy in Charleston. Without Charleston and St. Mary’s, the White House and its history could literally have looked quite different.” -Stewart McLaurin, President, The White House Historical Association

The program included remarks from:

  • Stewart McLaurin, President of the White House Historical Association and author of James Hoban: Designer and Builder of the White House
  • Betsy Cahill, President of the Preservation Society of Charleston
  • The Reverend Msgr. D. Anthony Droze, Pastor of Saint Mary of the Annunciation
  • Shea McEnerney, Member of the White House Historical Association’s Next-Gen Leaders

Learn more about James Hoban in this episode of the White House Historical Association’s monthly the 1600 Sessions podcast.

About James Hoban

Hoban was born to a modest family in County Kilkenny, Ireland, and he studied at the renowned Dublin Society School of Architectural Drawing before seeking greater opportunities abroad. He arrived in the new United States by 1785. Rising to prominence as a builder in Charleston, South Carolina, Hoban eventually found himself in charge of the building site of the President’s House after being personally selected by President George Washington to carry out the important project. Hoban’s personal and business papers, mostly lost in a fire in the 1880s, survive only in scattered drawings, public and legal documents, and newspaper notices.

Alongside free workers and artisans from Europe, enslaved workers were a significant part of building the President’s House in the new Federal City that became Washington, D.C. James Hoban himself was known to own slaves, as did many of our early presidents. For more information on the Association’s Slavery in the President’s Neighborhood research initiative, visit whitehousehistory.org.

P.D.F. Resources

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About the White House Historical Association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $50 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit WhiteHouseHistory.org.

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