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25 Historic Buildings in Washington, DC

Washington, DC's Oldest Landmarks

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11. Tudor Place

© Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
1816
1644 31st St. NW Washington, DC. The federal era mansion was built by Martha Washington's granddaughter, Martha Custis Peter and was the home to six generations of the Peter family. Today, the historic home offers house tours, garden tours and special events.

12. Decatur House

1818
748 Jackson Pl. Washington, DC. Located just steps from the White House, one of the oldest homes in Washington, DC features Federalist and Victorian style furnishings and exhibits that explore 200 years of Washington, DC history.

13. Ford's Theater

© Miller Taylor
1833
517 10th St NW Washington, DC. The historic Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, is a national historic landmark and also functions as a live theater. The building was used for several different purposes until it was restored in 1968. The Peterson House, the rowhome where Lincoln died, sits across the street. It is open to the public and is furnished with period pieces of that time.

14. National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum

© Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
1840
750 9th St. NW, Washington, DC. The U.S. Patent Building was restored as a vital part of the redevelopment of the Penn Quarter neighborhood of downtown Washington, DC. The building houses two museums in one building. The National Portrait Gallery presents six permanent exhibitions of nearly 20,000 works ranges from paintings and sculpture to photographs and drawings. The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home of the largest collection of American art in the world including more than 41,000 artworks, spanning more than three centuries.

15. Smithsonian Castle

© Smithsonian Institution
1855
1000 Jefferson Dr. SW Washington, DC. The Victorian style, red sandstone building was originally the home of the first Secretary of the Smithsonian, Joseph Henry, and his family. The building is the oldest one on the National Mall and it served as the first Smithsonian exhibit hall from 1858 until the 1960s. Today, it houses the Smithsonian’s administrative offices and the Smithsonian Information Center.

16. Old Ebbitt Grill

© Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
1856
675 15th St. NW Washington, DC. The oldest saloon in Washington, DC, features upscale American cuisine in a Victorian setting. It is a popular gathering spot for politicians, congressional interns, journalists, and tourists.

17. Renwick Gallery

© Smithsonian Institution
1859
Pennsylvania Ave. and 17th St. NW Washington, DC. The French Second Empire style building was designed by architect James Renwick Jr. to house the private art collection of Washington banker and philanthropist William Wilson Corcoran. By 1897, Corcoran's collection had outgrown the building and the gallery was moved to its current location across the street. The U.S. Court of Claims took over the Renwick Building in 1899. In 1972, the Smithsonian restored the building to be used as a gallery of American art, crafts, and design. It was refurbished again in 2000.

18. Eastern Market

Photo © Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.
1873
7th St. & North Carolina Ave. SE Washington, DC. The historic market is one of the few public markets left in Washington, DC. A fire destroyed the market's original South Hall in 2007 and it is currently being restored. A temporary structure is being used across the street at the Hine Junior High School playground. The farmers market offers fresh produce and flowers, delicatessen, baked goods, meat, fish, poultry, cheese and dairy products. On weekends, the Farmers Market moves outdoors. Arts & Crafts Fairs are held on Saturdays and The Flea Market attracts a crowd on Sundays.

19. Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

© National Park Service
1877
1411 W St. SE Washington, DC. Frederick Douglass, the famous abolitionist and advisor to Lincoln, bought this house in SE Washington, DC in 1877. The year that it was built is unknown. The National Historic Site was recently restored and reopened in 2007. The home and the grounds area open to the public. Reservations are required.

20. Washington Monument

© Rachel Cooper, licensed to About.com, Inc.

1884
15th St. and Constitution Ave. NW Washington, DC. Construction of the Washington Monument began in 1848. However, the memorial was not completed until 1884, due to lack of funds during the Civil War. The monument honors the memory of President George Washington and is an important historic site and landmark on the National Mall in Washington, DC.

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