Presidents’ Day 2022 is observed on Monday, February 21, and we thought it would be fun to commemorate the occasion by exploring the homes of presidents past in the DC, Maryland and Virginia region. We’re going beyond the White House – and while we won’t be including houses that remain private residences, you might enjoy learning about some of the amazing real estate our leaders chose to call home!
First, the obvious:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Although White House tours have been temporarily suspended, they are normally free of charge and include (a peek into) ground floor rooms like the Library, the China Room, the Map Room and the Vermeil Room. On the state floor you’ll be able to walk through the East Room which is the largest room in the White House and is used for ceremonies and receptions, and the smaller – yet still quite impressive – parlors: the Green, Red and Blue rooms. The State Dining Room is also part of the tour. This room can host up to 130 people. The Family Theater has been added to the tour in recent years.
Camp David, the President’s country retreat in Maryland, is not open to the public and is heavily secured. Located in the Catoctin Mountain Park in Frederick County, Camp David was originally established as a residence by President Franklin Roosevelt who modeled the main lodge after his winter vacation home in Warm Springs, Georgia. President Eisenhower renamed the estate Camp David in honor of his grandson David. Camp David has offered every president since Roosevelt solitude and tranquility, but also as a place to welcome foreign dignitaries. So unless you have received a very special invitation, Camp David is off-limits; however, you can visit Camp David virtually here.
Other presidents’ homes in Washington, DC
140 Rock Creek Church Rd. NW
For much of Lincoln’s presidency, he lived at this Gothic Revival style “cottage” that was originally built for banker George W. Riggs in 1842. President Lincoln’s Cottage is now a historic site, a nonprofit public charity and a museum, and is open to the public offering guided tours, exhibits and interactive programs.
Visit Lincoln’s Cottage online and learn how you can visit in person.
Woodrow Wilson House
2340 S Street, NW
The President Wilson House is a historic landmark and a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Georgian Revival style home was completed in 1915. On March 4, 1921, Woodrow and Edith Wilson moved out of the White House and into this house in the Kalorama neighborhood. The former president lived here until his death in 1924. Edith continued to live here until her death in 1961. She bequeathed the house and its furnishings to the National Trust for Historic Preservation to serve as a monument to President Wilson. Available tours include a one-hour general guided tour of the museum, an Executive Director’s Tour, an Architecture Tour, a Personal Ceramics Collection Tour and more.
Visit Woodrow Wilson’s House online to learn how you can visit in person.
Some former presidents’ homes are now embassies.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
2131 R St. NW (Embassy of Mali)
From 1917 to 1920, while FDR was Assistant Secretary of the Navy, the Roosevelts lived in this elegant row house which is now owned by the Embassy of Mali.
2300 S St. NW (Embassy of Myanmar)
After leaving the White House, Herbert Hoover lived here from 1933 to 1944. The house is now the Embassy of Myanmar.
Warren G. Harding
2314 Wyoming Ave. NW (Embassy of Monaco)
Harding lived in this house (now the Embassy of Monaco) while serving as a senator from Ohio.
3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway
Mount Vernon, Va.
One of the most iconic 18th-century homes in America, Mount Vernon was designed by George Washington himself. The building began as a one and one-half story house built in 1734 by Washington’s father, Augustine Washington. George Washington began running Mount Vernon in 1754, enlarging the dwelling to a 21-room residence. By the time of his death, Washington’s Mount Vernon consisted of about 7,600 acres and the house itself was 11,000 square feet.
A bit further afield in Virginia are several homes that are open to the public and definitely worth a trip.
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
1050 Monticello Loop
For almost 100 years, Monticello has been maintained and kept open to the public by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc., which owns over 2,500 acres of the original 5,000-acre plantation. Constructed in 1769 according to Jefferson’s first design, the house was designed and redesigned, built and rebuilt for more than 40 years.
James Monroe’s Highland
2050 James Monroe Parkway
James Monroe purchased 1000 acres in Charlottesville near Monticello and construction began on the house in 1797. The College of William and Mary now owns the estate and it is open as a museum.
James Madison’s Montpelier
11350 Constitution Highway
Montpelier Station, Va.
Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution and Architect of the Bill of Rights. The original house was built circa 1760 by James Madison, Sr., the father of the future president. In 1797, James Madison, Jr. and his wife Dolley began building additions with the advice of their friend and neighbor, Thomas Jefferson. Subsequent owners, including William DuPont, made renovations and changes to the property. Today The National Trust for Historic Preservation manages the property and the house has been restored to its Madison-era appearance.
To learn how to visit Montpelier, go to https://www.montpelier.org/.
12602 Harrison Landing Road
Charles City, Va.
This 1726 Georgian mansion is the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, signer of the Declaration of Independence and governor of Virginia. It is also the birthplace of William Henry Harrison, ninth president of the United States and the ancestral home of his grandson, Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd president. The grounds are located on the James River and the mansion has tours daily.
To learn how to visit Berkeley Plantation, go to http://www.berkeleyplantation.com/.
14501 John Tyler Memorial Hwy
Charles City, VA
Sherwood Forest Plantation was the home of John Tyler (10th president) from 1842 until his death in 1862. Known to be the longest frame house in America (300 feet long), the estate’s beautifully wooded landscape includes 12 dependencies. The house was built circa 1720 and is a classic example of Virginia Tidewater design: big house, little house, colonnade and kitchen.
To learn how to visit John Tyler’s Sherwood Forest, go online to http://www.sherwoodforest.org/.
Contact us if you want to get in touch with an agent to find your dream home!