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Washington, D.C.'s Top 10 : Historic Homes and Buildings - Top 10 Architectural Sights

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  1. Ford’s Theater

    The theater where Lincoln was shot in 1865 , has been restored by the federal government. It is now a memorial to the music- and theater-loving president.

    Ford’s Theater
  2. Decatur House

    Stephen Decatur was a renowned naval hero when he built this Federal-style townhouse in 1818, but he was killed in a duel soon after he moved in. It evokes the life of 19th-century middle-class America.

    • 1610 H Street NW

    • Open 10am–5pm Mon–Sat, noon–4pm Sun

    • Free

  3. Gadsby’s Tavern Museum

    George Washington was a patron of this former tavern. The older of the two colonial buildings, dating from 1770, was a growing concern six years before the Declaration of Independence. The second building houses a restaurant that serves food typical of the 18th century.

    • 134 N Royal St, Alexandria, VA

    • 703 838 4242

    • Open Apr–Oct: 10am–5pm daily; Nov–Mar 11am–4pm daily

    • Adm

  4. Carnegie Library

    Andrew Carnegie’s campaign to build libraries across America (he funded 1,679 in all) changed the country forever. This magnificent Beaux Arts building has been fully restored and is operated by the Historical Society of Washington, DC.

    • Mt Vernon Sq NW

  5. Woodrow Wilson House

    The 28th president was exhausted and demoralized when he left office in 1921, but this Georgian Revival house must have done much to restore his spirits. It now gives a delightful insight into 1920s American life.

    • 2340 S St NW

    • Open 10am–4pm Tue–Sun

    • Adm

    Woodrow Wilson House
  6. Cedar Hill

    Frederick Douglass and his wife Anna became the first African-American family in Anacostia when they moved into this estate in 1877. Born a slave, Douglass became America’s most effective anti-slavery speaker. Accessible by Tourmobile.

    • 1411 W St SE

    • Open Nov–Apr: 9am–4pm daily; May–Oct: 9am–5pm daily; closed Thanksgiving, Dec 25, Jan 1

    • Dis. access

    • Adm

    Cedar Hill
  7. Mary McLeod Bethune Council House

    The renowned teacher and advocate for women’s and African-Americans’ rights bought this Victorian townhouse – now a National Historic Site – in 1935. It is still furnished with her possessions.

    • 1318 Vermont Ave NW

    • Open 9am–4pm Mon–Sat

    • Free

    Mary McLeod Bethune Council House
  8. Old Stone House

    The oldest surviving structure in DC, this evocative little building holds demonstrations of crafts and skills of pre-Revolutionary life, such as sheep-shearing, and cooking on an open hearth.

  9. Anderson House

    This astounding Beaux Arts mansion from 1905 is decorated in the eccentric style of its original resident, Ambassador Larz Anderson. Its 600-ft (180-m) long ballroom is spectacular.

    • 2118 Massachusetts Ave NW

    • Open 1–4pm Tue–Sat

    • Free

  10. Sewell-Belmont House

    The 1800 construction date makes this enchanting home one of the oldest on Capitol Hill, and a National Historic Landmark. It is now a museum of women’s emancipation .

Top 10 Architectural Sights

  1. National Building Museum

    In this cavernous interior, displays examine architecture, engineering, design, and city planning.

  2. Eisenhower Executive Office Building

    The extravagant decoration is a favorite with architecture buffs .

  3. Treasury Building

    This Greek Revival building maintains features from its 1836 beginnings.

  4. The Octagon

    This odd-shaped building is now a museum of architecture and design.

  5. Library of Congress

    The most extensive library ever built contains exquisite decoration .

  6. Old Post Office Pavilion

    A Romanesque revival skyscraper completed in 1899 now contains shops and a food court .

  7. Pope-Leighey House

    The city’s most innovative Frank Lloyd Wright design.

    • Alexandria, VA, US 1 and Rte 235

  8. Supreme Court

    This marble edifice never fails to delight .

  9. Gunston Hall

    George Mason’s refurbished house is luminescent with vivid colors and designs.

    • Mason Neck, VA, Rte 242, south of US 1

  10. Cox’s Row

    Outstanding examples of domestic architecture of the early 19th century.

    • 3327–39 N St NW

    • Closed to the public

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