George Washington's Plan for his Capitol Hill Houses
12 September 1798«back | home
George Washington, owner of a number of lots in the new Federal City (Washington, D.C.), included this plan of a double house and instructions for its construction in his letter to Alexander White on 12 September 1798. In the letter, Washington maintained that he invested in the land and built these homes, "not with a view to accumulate property in the City, but merely to contribute a mite to the accomodation of Congress..." Washington also apologizes for himself as "not skilled in Architecture, and perhaps know as little of planning."
The "plain" homes he designed and sketched were built in 1799 on a lot north of the Capitol building. District of Columbia commissioner William Thornton acted as adviser and intermediary between Washington and the builder George Blagdin; Thornton later supervised the building of the houses once construction began. Washington visited the finished building on 9 November 1799, just one month before his death.
W.W. Abbot, ed. The Papers of George Washington, Retirement Series, vol. 2, January-September 1798 (Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1998), pp. 604-05.
W.W. Abbot and Edward G. Lengel, eds. The Papers of George Washington, Retirement Series, vol. 3, September 1798-April 1799 (Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1998), p. 53.