The Alibi Club was a private social club consisting of prominent political and social figures; its name derived from the club practice of providing an alibi when the whereabouts of a member was questioned by the member’s family. The club was organized in 1884 by seven distinguished Washingtonians: Marcellus Bailey, B.H. Buckingham, W.C. Charlton, John Davis, David Jones, Linden Kent, and Dr. Francis B. Loring. Bailey, the group’s purported leader, was the son of the famous editor Dr. Gamaliel Bailey, who owned and published the National Era Weekly News, the paper which first presented Uncle Tom's Cabin in serial form.
Designed as a single-family residence and constructed between 1864 and 1869, this building housed the Alibi Club since 1886. The property has served as a retreat for club members who have often played major roles in national and foreign affairs, including important diplomats and politicians as well as leaders in business, the military, and civic life. Membership is limited to fifty members, with new members admitted upon unanimous vote after the death of a previous member. Membership is not revealed to outsiders, and the first public notice of membership is often in a member’s obituary. Some more recent members of the Alibi Club include: President George H.W. Bush, his father, Senator Prescott Bush, Supreme Court Justices Potter Stewart and Stanley F. Reed, Allen Dulles and John Foster Dulles, Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth, and General George C. Marshall.
In 2018, the building was listed as a vacant property.
DC Inventory: June 17, 1992
National Register: October 21, 1994