President’s Park South constituted a signal piece of L’Enfant’s early city plan for Washington, and was acquired by the Federal Government in the 1790s. L’Enfant initially envisioned a large, 80-acre landscaped area upon which the Executive Mansion would sit. Despite the construction of the White House, the land remained practically vacant and untended until the mid-1800s.
Development began in 1851, when noted landscape architect Andrew Jackson Downing developed a new vision for the National Mall and the surrounding lands of President’s Park. His plan proposed a wealth of open green space dotted with trees, sloping downward into an Ellipse formed by a curving roadway. This original organization remains the basic outline of President’s Park South today, with the addition of surrounding buildings and structures.
Numerous historical buildings and structures are located within the park, including gatehouses, statues, fountains, and individual buildings. Certain memorials date back to the early 1900s, and are representative of historical values and visions of heroism, national pride, and American identity.
Today, President’s Park South is home to the White House, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the Ellipse, and General William T. Sherman’s equestrian statue and surrounding plaza. It is bounded by State Place, South Executive Avenue, and Alexander Hamilton Place on the north, 15th Street NW on the east, Constitution Avenue NW on the south, and 17th Street NW on the west.
National Register: May 6, 1980