Benjamin Ogle Tayloe House

Located across the street from the White House, this Federal-style home served as a gathering space for the politically powerful in Washington.

Built in 1828, this home served as Benjamin Ogle Tayloe's residence and a social, intellectual, and cultural center for the political elite. Described as a "salon" for scholarly discourse and a space for high-society gatherings, the Federal-style home exemplified early Washingtonian power. 

As a member of one of Washington's wealthiest slaveholding families, Benjamin Ogle Tayloe almost certainly utilized enslaved labor in the construction and management of the home. Much of his personal wealth stemmed from the inheritance and control of cotton plantations run through enslaved labor in Virginia and Alabama. 

Following Tayloe's death and subsequent shifts of home ownership, the space was sold to Senator Don Cameron from Pennsylvania. The home continued to play host to a variety of political icons and offered a convenient space for important diplomatic meetings. It was referred to as the "Little White House" during the time of Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, who often had breakfast in the home over complex discussions of contemporary issues.

The building avoided demolition in the 1960s thanks to support for preservation from Jackie Kennedy. The building is a notable Landmark of LaFayette Square and is sometimes referred to as the "Cameron" or "Tayloe-Cameron House." Today, the space is a part of the National Courts Building Complex. 

DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
Within the Lafayette Historic District

This site is included in the Capital City Slavery Tour as a site of enslavement for five to seven individuals and likely construction through enslaved labor. For further information on slavery in the District, view DC Preservation League's Capital City Slavery Digital Exhibit.

 

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723 Madison Place NW Washington DC 20005