Conjectural elevation copyright ©2000-2013 Edward Lawler, Jr.
The President's House in Philadelphia
The President's House site opened on Dec. 15, 2010. In the News for coverage. Take a visit to the site in person and tell us what you think!
H. Rumph Jr./GPTMC
Dec. 15, 2010 opening. Click for enlargement.
The house shown above served as the "White House" from 1790 to 1800 while Philadelphia was the capital of the United States. Today, you can visit the site on Market Street for the newest addition to Independence Mall — a commemorative exhibition entitled "The President's House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation" on an open-air footprint of the original house, one block north of Independence Hall.
In this website you will find:
President's House Quick Facts
- This was the "White House" from 1790-1800, while the capital city was being built in what is today Washington D.C.
- Nine enslaved persons of African descent in Washington's household: Oney Judge, Moll, Austin, Hercules, Richmond, Giles, Paris, Christopher Sheels, and Joe (Richardson)
- Oney Judge and Hercules both escaped to freedom (Oney Judge escaped from Philadelphia)
- Important bills signed here: Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 (Washington), Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 (Adams)
- Slave quarters for Washington's stablehands were 5 feet from entrance to Liberty Bell Center (the Liberty Bell was the symbol of the Abolition movement)
President's House Short Timeline
- 1767, the house was built by Mary Lawrence Masters
- 1772, Richard Penn, a grandson of William Penn, used this as the Governor's Mansion for the colony of Pennsylvania
- General Sir William Howe's headquarters 1777-78 during the British occupation
- Benedict Arnold began his betrayal here
- Financier/Signer Robert Morris bought the house after the 1780 fire, and lived here while Superintendent of Finance. In 1790, he rented it to Philadelphia for Washington's use and sold it in 1795.
- Washington's "White House" for more than 6 years (1790-97) and John Adams's for almost 4 years (1797-1800)
- After 1800 the house became the Francis's Union Hotel (which failed)
- In 1832, the building was gutted, leaving only the side walls and the foundations, and three narrow stores were built within the frontage.
- Most of the western wall was removed by 1941, and what remained of it along with the eastern wall were demolished in 1951 to create Independence Mall.
- Learn more
Search for Descendants
Are you descended from a member of the Washington or Adams presidential household? Our search is for descendants of office staff, household staff, indentured servants or the nine enslaved pesons of African descent in Washington's household. Let us know!