Admiral's House, Naval Observatory

Since 1974, this building has served as the official residence of the Vice President of the United States.

Located on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory (USNO), the white, 19th-century house at Number One Observatory Circle was built in 1893. Originally intended for the superintendent of the USNO, the house was so lovely that in 1923, the chief of naval operations kicked out the superintendent so he could move in himself. Historically, Vice Presidents and their families had lived in their own homes, but the cost of securing these private residences grew substantially over the years. Finally, in 1974, Congress agreed to refurbish the house at the Naval Observatory as a home for the Vice President. Nelson Rockefeller (1974-77) was, therefore, the first Vice President to use the home. His successor, Walter Mondale (1977-1981), was the first Vice President to actually live at the residence.

The three-story brick house—completed in April 1893—is compact, 39 by 77 feet, with 9,150 square feet of floor space. 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 (under U.S. ownership)



Massachusetts Avenue at 34th Street, NW