Superintendent's Residence (Admiral's House), U.S. Naval Observatory

This home has served as the official residence of the Vice President of the United States since 1974.

The Queen Anne style house located at Number One Observatory Circle was designed by Leon Dessez and constructed in 1893 as the U.S. Naval Observatory's (USNO's) Superintendent's Residence. Thirty years later, in 1923, the home became the residence of the Chief of Naval Operations.

In 1974, Congress designated Number One Observatory Circle as the Vice President of the United States' "official temporary residence." Vice President Nelson Rockefeller (1974-77) was the first to use the home, while his successor, Vice President Walter Mondale (1977-1981), was the first to actually live at the residence. Prior to the 1970s, vice presidents would obtain their own lodging in Washington, with some, including Vice President Calvin Coolidge (1921-1923), even residing at the Willard Hotel.

The three-story brick house, with turret and porch, is compact: 39 by 77 feet. On the ground floor are a reception hall, living room, sitting room, sun porch, dining room, and small pantry — and lavatories added later to the north side. The second floor contains two bedrooms, a study, and a den. The third floor attic was originally servants' quarters and storage space, and the kitchen was placed in the basement, along with a laundry room and other storerooms.

DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
Exempt from National Register listing



Massachusetts Avenue at 34th Street, NW