Architecture of Presidential Homes & Government Buildings
Scattered across the U.S. are the many preserved homes of former presidents. These historic structures range from large estates to humble childhood homes and seasonal retreats. Fortunately, the homes of many former presidents are studied, documented, and preserved. Our nation’s many former presidential homes and other early governmental buildings are constructed in diverse styles and help to tell America’s rich architectural history.
Some presidential homes are more iconic than others: familiar names like George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate or Jefferson’s Monticello are widely known. Yet many other historic presidential homes dot the U.S., with preserved structures existing in 20 states - many open to the public for guided tours. Our nation’s architectural history is documented in more structures than presidential estates. Early governmental buildings, many built in the decades following our country’s founding, help tell an important part of America's architectural history as well.
The Architecture of Early U.S. Governmental Buildings
During the establishment of the United States, the government was administered in many historic cities, including Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Williamsburg, Virginia, and Baltimore, Maryland. It was not until 1791 when Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and others planned drafts of the United States capital district. In November 1800, the federal government moved to Washington D.C., in the District of Columbia.
Considered America’s father of architecture, Benjamin Henry Latrobe was appointed to the role of “Surveyor of the Public Buildings.” Thus, he became responsible for completing The White House and The Capitol Building. These early governmental buildings are essential examples of America's Federal-style architecture.
Examples of Presidential Homes And Federal-Style Architecture
Today, most government buildings are in the National Mall and Memorial Parks near the downtown area of Washington, D.C. This landscaped park is administered by the National Park Service and serves to protect America’s historic and architectural heritage.
Explore our galleries below to view photos and architectural drawings of presidential homes and explore examples of Federal architecture in the nation’s capital.