George Washington, by Ellen Sharples, courtesy of INHP
Portrait presumed to be of Washington's cook, Hercules, attributed to Gilbert Stuart, Museo Thyssen Bornemisza, Spain.
John Adams, by Charles Willson Peale, courtesy of INHP

The Presidents House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation

A Joint Project of the City of Philadelphia and National Park Service to be Located Adjacent to the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Welcome to the City of Philadelphia's website for the President's House project. As this project moves forward, this website will be designed to allow you to keep track of our progress and, most importantly, to express your opinion.


President’s House OPENs on INDEPENDENCE MALL IN PHILADELPHIA
President’s House OPENs on INDEPENDENCE MALL IN PHILADELPHIA
Much-Anticipated Site Honors Lives of Enslaved Africans in Presidential Household...more

President's House Overview
From 1790 to 1800, when the city of Philadelphia was our new nation’s capital, Presidents George Washington and John Adams lived and worked in a mansion – the President’s House – that stood roughly one block north of Independence Hall. In that house, the first two American presidents literally invented what it meant to be Chief Executive of the United States...more

President's House Fact Sheet
President’s House commemorative site is an open-air installation designed to give visitors a sense of the house where the first two presidents of the United States, George Washington and John Adams served their terms of office. The commemorative site pays homage to nine documented enslaved persons of African descent who were part of the Washington household and addresses the topic of slavery in the early history of the United States...more


October 8, 2010: PRESIDENT'S HOUSE SITE NEARS COMPLETION, PREPARES FOR OPENING Click here for Press Release


PUBLIC UPDATE: The City of Philadelphia will conduct a public update on the status and progress made of the President’s House commemorative site on Friday, May 7 at 5:30pm. It will be in Room 114 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center (12th and Arch Streets). Flyer can be found here.


PUBLIC NOTICE: Display of Proposed Exhibit Plan
The City of Philadelphia will have the proposed exhibit plan on display at the Independence Visitor Center from April 23 through May 3, 2010. This display will present the imagery and other visuals that are intended to make a powerful impact on the site’s visitors. The purpose of this display will be to gather opinions from the general public. Comment cards will be available to fill out and submit. As a 24/7 open-air commemoration, we would like to encourage the residents and visitors of Philadelphia to look and comment.
For a copy of the comment card, click here.
The panels can also be found here.


WHYY Experience: The President’s House
(Premiere Date: 12/22/2009)
Video feature of George Washington’s house and slave quarters at 6th and Market Streets: click here for video.


PRESIDENT’S HOUSE EXHIBIT CONCEPTS UNDER REVISION
Click here for release.


FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11: GERMAINE INGRAM PRESENTS “RIFILING IN THE PRESIDENT’S HOUSE”
You are invited to sample the work of dancer/choreographer Germaine Ingram, composer/musician Bobby Zankel, and visual artist John Dowell, as they develop a performance piece commemorating the nine African Americans enslaved by President George Washington in the President’s House, a building that stood on a site just steps away from the Liberty Bell Pavilion. Hear about their creative process for reflecting on the contradictions, ironies, and present-day impact of slavery’s practice in America’s first seat of national government. Join the discussion about how history is preserved and retold, and how resonances of the past affect the way race works in the 21st Century. 3 to 5pm at the African American Museum of Philadelphia. Free Admission.


PRESIDENT’S HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MEETS TO RESOLVE DESIGN CONTROVERSY. Click here for information.


HISTORIC PRESIDENT’S HOUSE CONSTRUCTION MOVES FORWARD WITH ANNOUNCEMENT OF PROJECT’S CONTRACTOR AWARDS - click here to read press release

PRESIDENT’S HOUSE: Freedom and Slavery in Making a New Nation Construction Fact Sheet - click here for fact sheet

PRESIDENT’S HOUSE PREPARES FOR SITE EXCAVATION

Philadelphia – July 31, 2009 Kelly/Maiello Management and the Daniel J. Keating Company, the project team for the President’s House at 6th and Market Streets in Independence National Historical Park, today announced that the site will soon be prepared for its next phase of construction.

An announcement with details on groundbreaking at the site is expected in the next two weeks. The site will be fenced off during construction and the viewing platform that has been at the site since 2007 will be removed. Visitors will still be able to view the site from 6th Street or Independence Mall.

Site preparation for construction will commence the week of August 3rd and includes set up of logistics trailers, removal of the current observation stand, erection of temporary fencing and minor excavation. Information about the site (including information about the archeological dig and the history of the house) will be available at the Independence Visitor Center and online at www.nps.gov/inde

President’s House – Freedom and Slavery in Making a New Nation is an important historic project designed to commemorate the executive mansion of the first two United States presidents, George Washington and John Adams, and tell the long-obscured story of at least nine enslaved Africans who toiled at the house during Washington’s presidency through architecture, landscaping, imagery and interpretive text.

Upon its completion, the President’s House project, a joint initiative of Independence National Historical Park and the City of Philadelphia, will result in a new permanent outdoor installation on the doorstep of the Liberty Bell Center at 6th & Market Streets. Officials from the city and Independence National Historical Park are targeting the fall of 2010 for project completion.

Philadelphia, PA -- March 21, 2007 -- Mayor John F. Street and Independence National Historical Park Superintendent Dennis Reidenbach today officially launched an archeological dig at the site of the former President's House. The dig’s purpose is to find out whether any artifacts relating to the President’s House era - 1790-1800 - may still be in the ground. The archeology team, headed by the renowned URS Group, includes a coalition of nationally recognized experts with extensive experience working on key African American history sites. Click here to read the complete press release.

Philadelphia, PA -- February 27, 2007 -- The team headed by Kelly/Maiello Architects and Planners has been selected to design and build the President’s House project at Independence National Historical Park. Click here to read the complete press release. Click here to see the Kelly/Maiello Team preliminary design.



Click here for larger version of groundplan

 

We hope you will check back for updates. In the meantime, if you want to send a message or join our mailing list, please click here.

 
This photograph shows the south side of the 500 block of Market Street in 1949. The surviving eastern wall of the President's House is at center. The "ghost" of the President's House is outlined in red. From the Evening Bulletin Newspaper Collection, Urban Archives, Temple University.  Overlay: Edward Lawler Jr. Mantelpiece from the President's House. In the Historical Society of Pennsylvania Collection, Atwater Kent Museum. Photo by Jack E. Boucher, ca. 1965. Historic American Buildings Survey, no. PA-1942. "Washington's Residence, High Street." Lithograph by William L. Breton. From John Fanning Watson's Annals of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, 1830)