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Inside the Stephen Decatur House: The First and Last Private Residence in Lafayette Square

In collaboration with the White House Historical Association

Evening Program and Tour

Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 6:00 p.m.
Code: 1B0300
The Decaturs often entertained in the drawing room, with its tall windows opening out onto Lafayette Square (White House Historical Association)

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 James Tertius deKay, Michael Fazio, Osborne Phinizy Mackie, and Katherine Malone France 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.

All participants receive a copy of The Stephen Decatur House: A History (White House Historical Association).

The program is limited to 200 participants.

Decatur House
748 Jackson Pl NW
Washington, DC 20006
Metro: Farragut West