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“Beautiful, if overlooked”
Review of Decatur House

Decatur House
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Owner description: Right across from the White House, this is one of the oldest surviving homes in Washington DC and was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 6 Contributor
139 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Beautiful, if overlooked”
Reviewed 10 December 2012 via mobile

You really should spend some time at the Stephen Decatur house. Both the house itself and the extensive White House gift shop. Decatur was a pioneer and far ahead of the times.

1 Thank Craig R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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23 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 5 Contributor
66 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Historic Washington on display”
Reviewed 1 January 2012

a wonderful period home near the white house. a short visit and a nice break.

1 Thank NAFTAflyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“The best of the best in Washington”
Reviewed 28 November 2011

This house should be as popular as any other monumental Washington, D.C. attraction. Built in 1818 by Benjamin Henry Latrobe (who also designed St John' s church in Lafayette Square) the house has seen everyone from visiting dignitaries to presidents. This building has survived from not only its significance but also the careful preservation from its owners to become the first and last residential building on Lafayette Square.
The house has three unique eras that each brought something new to the house. The first is the 1818-1836 era in which Commodore Stephen Decatur (whose glorious naval triumphs are too many to write here) and his wife Susan resided here. The first floor is meant to show the time of their occupation in the house from the pair's Gilbert Stuart portraits hanging up to the original 1818 flooring in the entryway. The second era is 1836-1861 in which John Gadsby and his wife lived here and built the slave quarters in the back of the house. (Yes, slave quarters steps from the White House.) The last true era is in which the Beale family lived here from 1872 to 1956 and the second floor shows every bit of the family's influence on the house. Altogether, these three unique eras are preserved in one house.
When visiting, a fee is not required, but a donation is gladly accepted. Parking is very, very limited since the house is very close to the White House. The house can only be accessed through a guided tour but these are always led by informative, patient guides who are open for questions. The entrance and gift shop have elevators but the house has limited wheelchair access. The house is currently closed with no foreseeable opening for renovations (on January 1st, 2012 it will be a year since its closing.)

Visited July 2011
4 Thank vmp1806
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Little Hidden Gem in Plain site”
Reviewed 9 May 2008

Do NOT miss this place! It is down the street from the White House, across the street and over from the Church of the Presidents (if that's the exact name). The tour cost about 5 bucks. There was just myself and another couple in this tour. The young woman who did the tour was knowledgable, and very very gratious. I had injured my hand before the tour and they had gotten bandages for me and antiseptic. They give you all the history regarding Stephan Decatur and his very interesting death from a dual. As well as some of the history of the slaves who worked there, including one woman who bought her freedom and grew and sold her own vegetables to help buy the children from the Decatur House.

6 Thank noke
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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