Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, Washington DC
(4.5/5 based on 110+ reviews on the web)
The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, administered by the National Park Service, is located at 1411 W St., SE in Anacostia, a neighborhood east of the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington, D.C.. Established in 1988 as a National Historic Site, the site preserves the home and estate of Frederick Douglass, one of the most prominent African Americans of the 19th century. Douglass lived in this house, which he named Cedar Hill, from 1877 until his death in 1895. Perched high on a hilltop, the site also offers a sweeping view of the U.S. Capitol and the Washington D.C. skyline.HistoryThe site of the Frederick Douglass home was originally purchased by John Van Hook circa 1855. Van Hook built the main portion of the present house soon after taking possession of the property. For a portion of 1877 the house was owned by the Freedom Savings and Trust Company. Later that year Douglass purchased the home and eventually expanded its 14 rooms to 21, including two-story library and kitchen wings. The house has an "L" shape and its plan is reminiscent of the design of Andrew Jackson Downing.With the election of President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Douglass hoped for a political appointment, likely postmaster for Rochester, New York or ambassador to Haiti. Instead, he was appointed marshal for the District of Columbia, a role which he accepted. His appointment to this highly visible position marked the first time a black man successfully received a federal appointment requiring Senate approval. Douglass, however, was not asked to fill many of the roles expected of a marshal. Typically, the marshal would attend formal White House gatherings and directly introduce guests to the President. Douglass, excused from this role, later complained that he should have resigned because of the slight. Still, the job brought him financial stability and, in 1878, he purchased the 20-room Victorian home on nine acres which they named Cedar Hill. He bought an additional 15 acres around the property the next year.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • You can only tour the house if you have a reservation. This is done through Recreation.gov for a $1.50 fee per person. Or, you can try to do a walk-up reservation. There is a movie which depicts the l...  more »
  • Frederick Douglass was an early and very important civic rights activist. He was appointed U. S. marshal for the District of Columbia which assured his family's financial condition and used some of th...  more »
  • This is a little tricky to get to but very walkable from Anacostia station and in summer (in the past) there has been a free bus which goes from museums on the Mall to the house. It is an interesting ...  more »
Google
  • I've been coming here for years. It's one of my most favorite places in the world. You can feel the presence of greatness when you are there. Very well kept grounds and the tour is well explained. It's a nice place to go for a date, for a family outing, or just because.
  • The tour guide knowledgeable and passionate about information given. I thought that individual may have been a family. How well she spoke of Fredrick Douglas.
  • We had a great tour, well kept and a lovely place.
  • Need an elevator! A new intro movie and better rest rooms. A wonderful place with nice Rangers though.
  • Didn't make it beyond the gift shop because of the tour schedule. To their credit, they offer visitors an opportunity to watch a 20-minute long video during the 2-1/2 hour wait between guided tours.