The Marine Corps Commandant's House is situated at the north end of the parade ground of the Marine Barracks, a white-painted, Flemish-bonded brick residence that has served as the home of the Commandants of the U.S. Marine Corps since its construction in 1801. Over the years, the house has undergone several renovations and received several additions. Today, one of the most striking features of the Commandant's House is its mansard roof, the tiles of which are regularly laid except for four center rows that display a detailed pattern. The interior decor of the house changes with each occupant. Air conditioning, electric lighting, and other modern conveniences have, of course, been added.
The Marine Barracks served as the Marine Corps Headquarters from 1801 to 1901. Here recruits and officers were trained, and vital decisions were made affecting Corps development. Troops quartered at the Barracks played significant roles in the wars with the Barbary pirates, the War of 1812, the Seminole War, the capture of John Brown at Harper's Ferry, and the conquest of Cuba in the Spanish-American War.