Decatur House was the first private residence built on Lafayette Square, located across the street from the White House. Designed by Benjamin Latrobe, architect of the U.S. Capitol, the three-story, Federal-style brick house was built in 1818 for Commodore Stephen Decatur and his wife, Susan.
The home’s close proximity to the White House made it a popular hub of social activity, especially in the early years of Washington, DC. Sadly, Decatur was killed in a dual in 1820. The home then became the residence of many prominent citizens, including Secretary of State Martin Van Buren, who went on to become President.
Today, this historic home serves as a museum and an office for the National Center for White House History, operated by the White House Historical Association.
Decatur House is open to the public and offers tours at certain times throughout the day. There is also a museum store on the premises with articles for sale by the White House Historic Association. Decatur House can also be rented for private events.