Decatur House is one of the oldest surviving homes in Washington, D.C., and one of only three remaining houses in the country designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the father of American architecture. Completed in 1818 for naval hero Stephen Decatur and his wife, Susan, its distinguished neo-classical architecture and prominent location across from the White House made Decatur House one of the capital's most desirable addresses and home of many of the nation's most prominent figures. Later residents included Henry Clay, Martin Van Buren, Judah P. Benjamin, who collectively made Decatur House the unofficial residence of the Secretary of State from 1827 to 1833, each renting the house while they served that in post. Decatur House was purchased in 1872 by Edward Fitzgerald Beale, a frontiersman and explorer who became a wealthy rancher and diplomat. Beale's daughter-in-law, Marie, bequeathed Decatur House to the National Trust in 1956. It was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1976. Decatur House, now a museum, is located at 748 Jackson Place, N.W., on President's Park (Lafayette Park). It is now a property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The lower floor is kept in the style of the early 19th century while the upper floor shows more modern renovations of the early 20th century. Decatur House was featured in Bob Vila's A&E Network production, Guide to Historic Homes of America, in the two-hour segment on the Mid-Atlantic States.
By kkeps @ 2008-11-23 06:32:48