Built in 1765 in the then British colony of Maryland, the Old Stone House was already fifty-nine years old when the British invaded Washington in 1814. Although it is preserved for its architecture today, it was originally preserved through a case of mistaken identity and a desire to remember George Washington (1732-1799).
In 1791, George Washington and city planner Pierre L’Enfant (1754-1825) were surveying the newly established District of Columbia. L’Enfant’s ambitious plan for the city’s layout depended on negotiating with local landowners for right of way. During one of these meetings, Washington and L’Enfant stayed in Georgetown’s Fountain Inn at Thirty-First and K Streets, better known as Suter’s Tavern, after its owner, John Suter. Suter’s son ran a clock shop out of the Old Stone House, and although Washington had actually visited the elder Suter’s establishment, popular memory had conflated the two buildings, leading many to mistakenly believe that Washington had, in fact, stayed at the Old Stone House. Although the connection was spurious, it still inspired local residents to work to preserve the Old Stone House for years to come.
By 1953, the house was the site of a car dealership when the federal government purchased the property. The National Park Service opened the house to the public in 1960. Today, the house is a rare example of pre-Revolutionary architecture. Among the House’s furnishings, you may find a clock built by one-time owner John Suter, Jr.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964
National Register: November 30, 1973
Within Georgetown Historic District