Woodrow Wilson is the only American President to select Washington to be his home
following his final term in office. Late in 1920, Woodrow Wilson's second term neared its end,
and Mrs. Wilson started to search for an appropriate residence. On December 14, Mr. Wilson
insisted that his wife attend a concert and when she returned he presented her with the deed to
this S Street house. Built by Henry Parker Fairbanks in 1915, the red brick house of Georgian
style was designed by the architect Waddy B. Wood. The Wilsons installed an elevator and
a billiard room, constructed a brick garage and placed iron gates at the entrance to the drive.
Some partitions were changed and shelves were built for Mr. Wilson's 8000-volume library.
Wilson, partially paralyzed from a stroke he suffered in 1919, spent his few remaining years in
partial seclusion at the house, under the continuous care of his wife and servants. On February 3,
1924, he died in the upstairs bedroom and was laid to rest in Washington National Cathedral.
Mrs. Wilson continued to live in the residence until her death in 1961. Prior to that time, she had
donated it and many of the furnishings to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which
opened the Woodrow Wilson House to the public in 1963. Included in Mrs. Wilson's gift to the
American people are furnishings, portraits, books, autographed photographs of personages
identified with events in Wilson's administration, a Gobelin tapestry, commemorative china,
and early furniture owned by the Bolling family of Virginia.
The Woodrow Wilson House
Photo courtesy of DC SHPO
The Woodrow Wilson House is located at 2340 S St., NW. It is open to the public Tuesday
through Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. It is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years
Day. Groups are admitted year round by reservation. Metro stop: Dupont Circle
The Woodrow Wilson House is the subject
of an online-lesson
plan produced by Teaching with Historic Places, a National Register
program that offers classroom-ready lesson plans on properties listed
in the National Register. To learn more, visit the Teaching
with Historic Places home page.