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Source: Press Release
Date: December 14, 2010
Byline: National Park Service/City of Philadelphia

The President’s House: House Timeline

BeforeFor hundreds of years before 1630, Algonquian peoples resided here.
1682The city of Philadelphia founded.
1767House built by Mary Lawrence Masters, a rich the widow of a former mayor and slaveholder.
1772House is a wedding present to daughter Polly and slave owning Lieutenant Governor Richard Penn.
1777Headquarters of General Sir William Howe, a slave owner and leader of British forces, during the British occupation of Philadelphia.
1778Headquarters of slave owning Major General Benedict Arnold whose betrayal of the Revolution begins here.
1782Financier and slaveholder Robert Morris rebuilds and expands the reconstructed residence after major fire.
1790Philadelphia becomes the nation’s capital. Additions to house are built for George Washington’s official duties, his extended family, and enslaved, indentured and free household servants.
1797Newly elected President John Adams and his wife Abigail move in.
1800House converted into Francis’s Union Hotel, then becomes shops and a boarding house after government departs for Washington D.C.
1832House demolished and three stores are created within the gutted space, leaving only the side walls and foundation of the former house.
1935Stores demolished with no acknowledgment of the site’s historic significance.
1945-67Creation of Independence Mall State Park.
1948Establishment of Independence National Historic Park
1951Last remaining walls unknowingly demolished to create Independence Mall.
1954Public restroom for Independence Mall built on the site.
1973Independence National Historical Park takes over management. President’s House site identified.
2002Announcement of plans for the construction of the Liberty Bell Center, which would partially cover the space identified as housing for enslaved and free household servants, leads to a public outcry—initiated by historians, members of the African American community, the Independence Hall Association and others—to commemorate the house and its residents.
2003Liberty Bell Center opens.
2007Archaeology reveals partial foundations of the house and back buildings.
2010President’s House exhibits open.



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