National Historic Landmarks of Lafayette Square & 16th Street

16th Street NW passes near many of Washington, D.C.’s National Historic Landmarks (NHLs). This tour encompasses the route of presidents, protestors, diplomats, and local Washingtonians, as it stretches from Lafayette Square and the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park. Consider how these sites connect to the story of America, and what nationally-significant sites along the way may be missing. This tour can be completed by walking, public transport, or car. It is advised to map out your route to determine distance before beginning.

NHLs are ultimately designated by the Secretary of the Interior, upon the recommendation of the National Park System Advisory Board, and are evaluated based on their history, integrity of the property, and their value to the broader American historical narrative. There are currently around 2,600 NHLs, with 75 in the District alone.

The White House

The White House is recognized around the world as the symbol of the presidency. It is associated with countless occasions of state, has housed the president’s staff and visiting dignitaries, and has served from its earliest years as a place for the…

Renwick Gallery (Old Corcoran Gallery)

The Old Corcoran Art Gallery, now the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, began construction in 1859 from designs of James Renwick and Robert Auchmutz. It was one of the first buildings in the United States erected exclusively as a…

Blair House

Built in 1824 for Dr. Joseph Lovell, the first Surgeon General of the United States who organized the Army Corps of Engineers, the Blair House serves as the official guest house of the President of the United States. The house was subsequently…

Lafayette Square Historic District

Lafayette Square is the formal public park opposite the White House, and with its surrounding frame of buildings constitutes the Lafayette Square Historic District. The Historic District includes government buildings, residences, and other structures…

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

From 1910 until 1948, this townhouse served as the home of the the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an organization founded with a $10 million bequest from Andrew Carnegie. The Endowment's first national headquarters was established at No.…

American Peace Society (Charles C. Glover House)

Built in 1878 for banker Charles Carroll Glover, this large Victorian townhouse was designated as a National Historic Landmark due to its association with the American Peace Society, which used the building as its national headquarters from 1911 to…

Stephen Decatur House

Built in 1819, the Decatur House was designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe for Commodore Stephen Decatur, who was at the height of his naval career when the house was constructed, and who, along with his wife, Susan Wheeler Decatur, wished to establish…

Saint John’s Church

Due to its close proximity to the White House, Saint John’s Church is known as the “Church of the Presidents”; accordingly, every President since James Madison has attended at least one service there. A prayer book in one of the pews contains the…

Ashburton House

Built in 1836, Ashburton House served as a home for British diplomats. For instance, the residence hosted the ten month American-British negotiations that eventually led to the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, which resolved the long-standing…

Carnegie Institution of Washington, Administration Building

Founded in 1902 with the belief that basic scientific research is essential to human well-being, the Carnegie Institution of Washington is an early example of American philanthropy. Donating major funds, industrialist turned philanthropist Andrew…

Robert Simpson Woodward House

From 1904 to 1924, late-19th century geologist and mathematician Robert Woodward lived in this rowhome. Woodward was well-respected in the science community and served as the first president of the Carnegie Institution while he lived in this house on…

Charlotte Forten Grimké House

Built circa 1875, this row house was the home of Charlotte Forten Grimké from 1881 to 1886. Grimké (1838-1914) was a pioneer Black female educator, an early supporter of women’s rights, a writer, and an active abolitionist. She was among the first…

Meridian Hill Park (Malcolm X Park)

Meridian Hill Park, also known today as Malcolm X Park following a 1969 speech by activist Angela Davis, is a distinguished example of landscape design. The hilly, twelve-acre park with its Beaux Arts design elements is notable for its elaborate…