Tudor Place is among the foremost Federal-era mansions in the nation, designed by William Thornton, architect of the U.S. Capitol. Construction of the house began circa 1794, was completed circa 1815, and was financed by an inheritance from the President.
The house's owner, Thomas Peter, and his wife, Martha Parke Custis Peter, had significant connections to the Washington, Custis, and Lee families. Thomas Peter served as the mayor of Georgetown from 1789 to 1798, and Martha Parke Custis was the granddaughter of Martha Washington. Upon the death of Mrs. Washington, the Peter family inherited the ownership of numerous enslaved individuals from Mount Vernon. The Peter family continued to enslave these individuals for many years, many of whom were only freed by results of the Civil War. A staunchly Confederate family, the owner of Tudor Place during the Civil War (Britannia Wellington Peter Kennon) was forced to house Union boarders and military officers during the war due to diminished funds and wartime necessity. The structure is historically significant for its connection to famous families, its role in the Civil War, and as a site of enslavement.
The house sits at the crest of a hill on a large estate with lawns and gardens. The structure is exceptionally plain on the north elevation, but is in startling contrast the south elevation, overlooking Georgetown, which is a tour-de-force of Regency design. The main house has end pavilions connected by loggias, stuccoed brick facades with spare detail, and Tuscan columns. The building has an unusual floor plan but fine interior finishes.
Tudor Place has been virtually unaltered since its original construction and is open to visitors.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
National Register: October 15, 1966
National Historic Landmark: December 19, 1960
This site is included on the Capital City Slavery Tour for its owners’ enslavement of eight to fourteen individuals on the property. For further information on the role of enslaved laborers in the development of Washington, D.C. view the sources below or explore our Capital City Slavery Digital Exhibit.