Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Dec 14 2010

The President’s House: House Timeline

This is a National Park Service/City of Philadelphia press release.

Before For hundreds of years before 1630, Algonquian peoples resided here.
1682 The city of Philadelphia founded.
1767 House built by Mary Lawrence Masters, a rich the widow of a former mayor and slaveholder.
1772 House is a wedding present to daughter Polly and slave owning Lieutenant Governor Richard Penn.
1777 Headquarters of General Sir William Howe, a slave owner and leader of British forces, during the British occupation of Philadelphia.
1778 Headquarters of slave owning Major General Benedict Arnold whose betrayal of the Revolution begins here.
1782 Financier and slaveholder Robert Morris rebuilds and expands the reconstructed residence after major fire.
1790 Philadelphia becomes the nation’s capital. Additions to house are built for George Washington’s official duties, his extended family, and enslaved, indentured and free household servants.
1797 Newly elected President John Adams and his wife Abigail move in.
1800 House converted into Francis’s Union Hotel, then becomes shops and a boarding house after government departs for Washington D.C.
1832 House demolished and three stores are created within the gutted space, leaving only the side walls and foundation of the former house.
1935 Stores demolished with no acknowledgment of the site’s historic significance.
1945-67 Creation of Independence Mall State Park.
1948 Establishment of Independence National Historic Park
1951 Last remaining walls unknowingly demolished to create Independence Mall.
1954 Public restroom for Independence Mall built on the site.
1973 Independence National Historical Park takes over management. President’s House site identified.
2002 Announcement of plans for the construction of the Liberty Bell Center, which would partially cover the space identified as housing for enslaved and free household servants, leads to a public outcry—initiated by historians, members of the African American community, the Independence Hall Association and others—to commemorate the house and its residents.
2003 Liberty Bell Center opens.
2007 Archaeology reveals partial foundations of the house and back buildings.
2010 President’s House exhibits open.

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Historic Philadelphia, the site of the original city and often called America’s most historic square mile, reveals early chapters in the nation’s history, including the challenges, injustices, accomplishments and contributions of Africans and African-Americans.

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Philadelphia reveals undertold chapters in the nation’s history, including the challenges, injustices, accomplishments and contributions of Africans and African-Americans during the United States’ early years. This year, the National Constitution Center commemorates the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery (the original document is on display) and the beginning of the Reconstruction Era.

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Dec 15 2010

President's House Opens On Independence Mall In Philadelphia

Much-Anticipated Site Honors Lives of Enslaved Africans in Presidential Household

This is a National Historical Park/City of Philadelphia press release.

The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation
opens today in Philadelphia after more than five years of development. The commemorative, open-air installation marks the site where the nation’s first two presidents, George Washington and John Adams, served their terms of office and began to shape the executive branch of government. However, the most compelling and controversial aspect of the site is that it pays tribute to nine documented enslaved persons of African descent who were part of the Washington household. The inclusion of the

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Dec 14 2010

The President’s House: Slavery Timeline

This is a National Park Service/City of Philadelphia press release.

1619 Enslaved Africans brought to Jamestown, Virginia.

1641 Massachusetts legally recognizes slavery.

1662 Virginia law determines status of children will be same as that of the mother.

1684 Ship Isabella brings150 enslaved Africans to Philadelphia.

1705 Virginia law determines imported servants who were not Christians in native country are slaves; slaves are chattel property, and may be disciplined or killed without penalty.

1780 Pennsylvania passes the Gradual Abolition Act prohibiting importation of enslaved Africans into the state and guarantees future children of enslaved Pennsylvania mothers will be born free but

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Dec 14 2010

The President’s House Overview

This is a National Park Service/City of Philadelphia press release.

From 1790 to 1800, when the city of Philadelphia was our new nation’s capital, Presidents George Washington and John Adams lived and worked in a mansion – the President’s House – that stood roughly one block north of Independence Hall. In that house, the first two American presidents literally invented what it meant to be Chief Executive of the United States.

The mansion also held a profoundly disturbing truth. It has been documented that George Washington, who owned over 300 enslaved Africans at his Mount Vernon home, brought at least

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Dec 14 2010

Fact Sheet: The President’s House: Freedom And Slavery In The Making Of A New Nation

This is a National Park Service/City of Philadelphia press release.

DESCRIPTION: President’s House commemorative site is an open-air installation designed to give visitors a sense of the house where the first two presidents of the United States, George Washington and John Adams served their terms of office. The commemorative site pays homage to nine documented enslaved persons of African descent who were part of the Washington household and addresses the topic of slavery in the early history of the United States.

LOCATION: Southeast corner of 6th and Market Streets in Historic Philadelphia

OPENING: December 15, 2010

PROJECT COST: $11.2 million

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Apr 16 2009

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*Also good for man-on-the-street interviews

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