Samuel Gompers House

2122 1st Street, NW

This house, built in 1902, served as the home of Samuel Gompers until 1917. Gompers was the pioneering labor leader and long-time president of the American Federation of Labor during a period of great achievement. He was born in a London tenement in 1850 and apprenticed in his father's cigar-making trade. He then emigrated to America in 1863, and at age 14. While working in New York's East Side, he joined the Cigarmakers' Union. As a union organizer, he was instrumental in making the Cigarmakers a national labor model, with a hierarchical leadership exercising centralized control of benefit funds drawn from increased membership dues. In 1877, Gompers was a founder of the union federation which became the AFL in 1886. As union president until 1924, Gompers struggled for higher wages, shorter hours, and better working conditions, and succeeded in making the AFL the strongest spokesman for organized labor in America. His residence, a modest 3-story bay-fronted brick rowhouse typical of the Edwardian era, was also an informal meeting place for labor leaders.

National Historic Landmark designation: May 30, 1974
National Register listing: September 23, 1974
DC Inventory: March 3, 1979

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2122 1st Street, NW