Tudor Place

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Tudor Place
Tudor Place 2011.jpg
South façade.
Tudor Place is located in Washington, D.C.
Tudor Place
Location 1644 31st Street, NW Washington, D.C.
Coordinates 38°54′38.91″N 77°3′48.02″W / 38.9108083°N 77.0633389°W / 38.9108083; -77.0633389Coordinates: 38°54′38.91″N 77°3′48.02″W / 38.9108083°N 77.0633389°W / 38.9108083; -77.0633389
Area 5.5 acres
Built 1815
Architect Dr. William Thornton
Architectural style Federal
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 66000871
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL December 19, 1960[2]

Tudor Place is a Federal-style mansion in Washington, D.C. that was originally the home of Thomas Peter and his wife,[3] Martha Parke Custis Peter, a granddaughter of Martha Washington. Step-grandfather George Washington left her the $8,000 in his will that was used to purchase the property in 1805. The property, comprising one city block on the crest of Georgetown Heights, had an excellent view of the Potomac River.


From George Washington's 1799 will, Martha Parke Custis Peter, received $8,000 (equivalent to $132,000 in present day terms[4]). Her husband, Thomas Peter, used her $8,000 inheritance to purchase the property that would become Tudor Place in 1805. They contracted with Dr. William Thornton, who also designed the United States Capitol as well as The Octagon House, to design Tudor Place. The decorations included four chair-cushions embroidered by Martha Washington in 1801 and described[by whom?] as "executed upon coarse canvas in a design of shells, done in brown and yellow wools, the highlights being flecked in gold-colored silk" and included a decorative cover for a bed whose trimmings also were embroidered by Martha Washington.[5]

A previous owner of the property had begun improvements by building what are now the house's wings. Thornton then provided the central structure and the joining elements to the wings, combining them with buff-colored stucco over brick. The "temple" porch and supporting columns provide a most striking addition to the front. The gardens and the historic house museum's collections are as rich and interesting as the home itself. A focal point is the collection of over 100 objects that belonged to George and Martha Washington, making Tudor Place the largest public depository of objects belonging to the first Presidential family outside of Historic Mount Vernon.

On September 28, 1811, Martha Peter's mother, Eleanor Calvert, age 56, a prominent member of the Calvert family of Maryland, Martha Washington's daughter-in-law, and George Washington's stepdaughter-in-law, died at Tudor Place.[6] Martha Peter noted in a February 15, 1812 letter to a friend, Eliza Susan Quincy (1798–1884), how important it was to Martha that she was able to spend the last fortnight of her mother's life with her mother at Tudor Place to render attentions that could not be paid elsewhere.[7]

In March 1813, after resigning his seat in the United States Congress, U.S. educator and political figure Josiah Quincy III and his wife, Eliza Susan Quincy, visited the Peters at Tudor Place.[8] While there, Mrs. Peter gave Josiah General Washington's silver gorget with the ribbon attached to it.[8] Washington's gorget, prominently featured in Charles Willson Peale's 1772 portrait of Colonel George Washington, was a metal collar designed to protect the throat of the wearer and Mrs. Peter had received the gorget at the division of her grandfather's estate.[8] Quincy subsequently gave the gorget to the Washington Benevolent Society of Boston in Mrs. Peter's name on April 13, 1813.[8][9][10]

On December 18, 1815 and on January 12, 1816, former United States Secretary of State Timothy Pickering visited the Peters at Tudor Place.[11]

Thomas and Martha Peter raised eight children in Tudor Place, and hosted the Marquis de Lafayette during his 1824 tour of the United States. When the third child and eldest son, John Parke Custis Peter, came of age, his father conveyed a farm around Seneca, Maryland. John P.C. Peter built a small replica of Tudor Place from 1828 to 1830 called Montevideo. The farm also included the redstone Seneca Quarry, whose stone Peter would bid on and win the Smithsonian Institution Building project in 1847.[12]

Prior to his death on March 1, 1844 as a result of the February 28, 1844 explosion the "Peacemaker" gun (then the worlds longest naval gun) on the USS Princeton, Commodore Beverley Kennon I (1793–1844), occupied Tudor Place with his wife Britannia Peter Kennon, daughter of Thomas Peter.[13]

In about 1869, Robert E. Lee, the former commanding general of the Confederate army in the 1861–1865 American Civil War paid his last visit to the District of Columbia at Tudor Place before his death on October 12, 1870.[14] By 1874, Tudor Place was occupied by Thos. Beverley Kennon (1830–1890),[14] a grandson of Thomas Peter, a former U.S. Civil War captain with the Confederate Secret Service, and a post U.S. Civil War soldier under the Khedive of Egypt.[15] In 1890, the year that Beverley Kennon died and at a time when Brittania W. Kennon was the oldest living descendant of Mrs. Washington, The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine published an extensive article that detailed the collection of Martha Washington's relics that were maintained inside Tudor Place.[5]

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.[2][16] Tudor Place is located at 1644 31st Street, N.W. and is open to the public.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Tudor Place". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  3. ^ Custis, George Washington Parke; Lee, Mary Randolph Custis (1859). Memoirs of Washington. Englewood Publishing Company. p. 37. 
  4. ^ Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved February 27, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Some New Washington Relics". The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine (The Century Company) 40: 16. 1890. 
  6. ^ "Died". The Lady's miscellany, or, Weekly visitor, for the use and amusement of both sexes (M'Carty & White) 13: 398. 1811. Died. At Tudor Place, thereat of Thomas Peter, esq- near George-Town, Mrs. Eleanor Stuart, consort of David Stuart, esq.-of Osian Hall, in the county of Fairfax—in the 56th year of her age 
  7. ^ Quincy, Eliza Susan (1861). Memoir of the life of Eliza S.M. Quincy. J. Wilson and Son. p. 145. 
  8. ^ a b c d Lossing, Benson John (1859). Mount Vernon and its associations: historical, biographical, and pictorial. W.A. Townsend and Company. p. 345. 
  9. ^ Quincy, Eliza Susan (1861). Memoir of the life of Eliza S.M. Quincy. J. Wilson and Son. p. 165. 
  10. ^ Massachusetts Historical Society (1878). "Washington Benevolent Society of Massachusetts". Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society (The Society) 15: 402. At a quarterly meeting of the Washington Benevolent Society of Massachusetts, on Tuesday evening, April 13, 1813, the Hon. Mr. Quincy delivered to the President the Gorget of Washington, being a part of his uniform, when, as a colonel in the service of the State of Virginia, he served under General Braddock, in the war of 1756 ; having the arms of that State engraven thereon 
  11. ^ Pickering, Charles Wentworth; Upham (1873). The life of Timothy Pickering 4. Little, Brown and Company. p. 270. 
  12. ^ Peck, Garrett (2013). The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry. The History Press. p. 33-35. 
  13. ^ Jackson, Richard Plummer (1878). The chronicles of Georgetown, D.C., from 1751-1878. R. O. Polkinhorn. p. 32. 
  14. ^ a b Townsend, George Alfred (1874). Washington, outside and inside: A picture and a narrative of the origin, growth, excellencies, abuses, beauties, and personages of our governing city. J. Betts & Co. p. 621. 
  15. ^ "The Tudor Place Manuscript Collection". 2010. Retrieved November 13, 2010. MS-9. Captain Beverley Kennon II (1830-1890) Papers -- 0.3 linear foot. These papers span 1845-96, and contain fragmentary correspondence, legal and financial records, and printed material. They relate to Kennon’s service during the Civil War with the Confederate Secret Service and later with the Khedive of Egypt. Captain Beverley Kennon II was the son of Commodore Beverley Kennon by his first marriage to Elizabeth Dandridge Claiborne. [unreliable source]
  16. ^ ____ (, 19). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Tudor Place" (PDF). National Park Service.  Check date values in: |date= (help) and Accompanying photos, exterior and interior, from 19___ PDF (32 KB)

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